An Estate Plan is not about how much you have, but what you DO have. An Estate Plan includes a Will but also includes other legal documents that will help you designate what you have, where it goes, and who makes your decisions if you can't make them for yourself.
No -- a Will is not just for old people -- a Will is for people of all ages. One can never tell when something bad is going to happen. Or worse -- say you get very sick and live. Without these documents, your loved ones could have a very difficult time trying to take care of you; medically and financially.
It’s real easy and very painless! Let’s start with the most common, a Will. While some may say it’s only needed if you have expensive things to leave behind, but keep in mind, that is not true. Your belongings, such as a house, a car, bank accounts, furniture and pets are important things. Without a Will, you don't get to decide who gets your stuff -- the law does.
A Will benefits all ages, did you know you can designate a Guardian for minor children and children with disabilities? Without a Will, the Court will determine where your children go without any input from you. What about your pets? What will happen to them? You guessed it. The Court will decide for you unless you have a valid Will.
With a Will, you decide who you want to inherit your life's work. You also decide who will be your executor. This is a person you will choose to manage your estate. Keep in mind, this person will be responsible for handling your finances as well. So make sure you choose a person that has some financial skills. You don’t need to tell your executor what is in your Will, but it would be advisable you let the person you choose to know of the task at hand.
It may also be a good idea to let your family members know just in case you have some family heirlooms or personal effects they may wish to have or you plan on distributing. If you think it will not matter once you’re gone, think again. Best to designate where your possessions will go.
So, now that you know what you need in a Will, think you can get a cheap one online? Think again. There are reasons why it takes an Attorney to prepare one for you and the most common reason of all is that one detail can make your Will invalid in Court. What does this mean? Well, it means if you don't prepare your Will properly, you may not have a Will at all!
In my opinion, a Power of Attorney is as important as a Will. Suppose you become disabled before you pass away. If you don't have power of attorney your family may face big problems. If you do not have a power of attorney, you "leave the door open" for A power of Attorney allows you to assign a person to be your agent with the authority to make legal and financial decisions should you become incapacitated. This is an extremely important role and you must choose wisely. This person will be managing your finances while you are not able to do so - but while you are still alive. Some people choose their spouse or adult children - but you could choose a trusted friend. As a precaution, it is advised to choose an alternate just in case you and your spouse are both in an accident.
Which brings me to the next document; a Medical Power of Attorney. This person you pick will have the ability to make your medical decisions when you are incapable to make them yourself. It’s advised to have a discussion with the person you pick so they know what your wishes are. It will make things easier for everyone involved. With a medical power of attorney, you decide who you want to make your medical decisions when you are unable to do. If you do not have a medical power of attorney and become incapacitated, you have missed your chance to pick who will make your life and death decisions.
CONTACT US AND HAVE YOUR WILL PREPARED
This is the perfect time of year to start thinking about you and your family! Do you have a Will ready should the inevitable happen? Have you thought about an Estate Plan? Do you think you are not old enough and don't need a Will? Or do you think you don’t have millions of dollars or several houses?
Last but not least, is a Directive to Physician or a "Living Will". This document tells your doctor what your medical decisions are should you become unable to make them for yourself later. This would include difficult decisions such as resuscitation, artificial breathing or feeding. It is advised to discuss these matters with your family so that difficult decisions will be carried out as your wishes. This will put your family at ease during stressful times. As I mentioned before, it’s a painless process.
Give me a call at 210-949-1000 to help give you and your family the gift of a “lifetime” this Holiday Season!
Kathleen practices in Bexar County, including San Antonio and Helotes. Should you need a probate attorney, and you live in Bexar Country or Kendall County call 210-949-1000.
12274 Bandera Road Ste 222 Helotes, Texas 78023