When a person passes away or becomes incapacitated, there are issues regarding probate, finances, inheritance, and much more.
Making sure that you leave your estate situated to carry out your wishes means that you must first hire an estate planning attorney.
A Texas estate planning lawyer is able to explain the ins and outs of estate planning, hear your concerns, evaluate your estate as a whole, and then create a solid estate plan.
The Role of an Estate Planning Attorney
An estate planning lawyer is a lawyer whose practice focuses on probate, wills, trusts, and related issues.
They know how to create documents in compliance with the multitude of complex laws that carry out their clients’ wishes. Trust and estate planning attorneys also know how to best protect the assets of their clients.
The best Texas estate planning attorneys do not produce one-stop shopping plans; they create plans and documents specific to each individual client.
The Need for an Estate Plan
The word estate sometimes causes people to believe that an estate plan is meant solely for people with massive amounts of money and extensive real property. That is a fallacy.
Every person needs an estate plan. At the very least, an estate plan will address:
- Creating a valid last will and testament that distributes your property the way you want, and
- Powers of attorney appointing someone of your choice to handle your medical and financial issues if you are able to do so.
In other situations, a Texas estate planning attorney will address various trusts, complex clauses regarding specific bequests, and more. In all regards, the estate plan will address any tax implications regarding the estate.
When to Hire an Estate Planning Attorney
Once a person reaches the age of adulthood, they should hire an estate planning attorney.
A friend, partner, or parent cannot carry out your wishes once you are gone unless you document them in a legally binding estate plan. Life can take unanticipated and tragic turns at any age, even young adulthood.
The older we get, the more urgent it becomes to work with a Texas estate planning lawyer. Our wealth, relationships, health, assets, and overall finances become more complex over time.
In addition, our need to protect what we care about most (children, partners, pets, charitable organizations, etc.) becomes more clear.
Regardless of your situation or age, every person should hire an estate planning attorney to address your needs. As your situation in life changes, your estate planning attorneys can adapt the estate plan.
How to Choose an Estate Planning Attorney
You may initially feel at a bit of a loss in trying to find a Texas estate planning attorney. You may be wondering:
- Do I need an estate planning attorney near me?
- Can I use a general practice attorney?
- Is it risky to use an estate planning lawyer I have never heard of?
In choosing an estate planning lawyer, it is imperative that you have an attorney in your state and ideally in reasonably close proximity to you.
This is because an estate plan must comply with your state laws, and attorneys practice law specific to certain states. In addition, having a lawyer that is convenient to meet with is helpful.
You also will need a lawyer whose practice focuses on estate planning. Laws relating to wills and estates are not only state-specific, but they also change at times.
Lawyers who are experienced and specialize in this area will be aware of all of the nuances of estate planning laws. You don’t need to be concerned with whether you have heard of the lawyer.
Look for a lawyer who does estate planning regularly and a firm with strong client reviews.
What Questions to Ask an Estate Planning Attorney
When you are looking for an estate planning lawyer, you want to make sure you find someone who will listen to you and help you accomplish your goals.
You can find out if a lawyer is right for you by asking some of the following questions:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- How much of your practice is devoted to estate planning?
- Do you foresee any special complications with my circumstances?
- How will you communicate with me?
You may also ask them to refer you to previous clients who can tell you more about their experience with the estate planning lawyer and what to expect.
What Can Your Estate Planning Attorney Help You With?
Your estate planning attorney can help you with all aspects of your estate plan, including:
- Identifying your beneficiaries;
- Determining how you want your property distributed;
- Implementing strategies to protect your property from creditors;
- Special considerations regarding businesses and joint property;
- Care for a minor child;
- Living, irrevocable or other trusts, if necessary;
- Protecting your assets from unnecessary taxes; and
- Preparing powers of attorney and medical directives.
Your attorney should help you create a comprehensive estate plan that carries out your wishes and protects your assets.
Online Template vs. Trust and Estate Planning Attorney
Sometimes individuals make the mistake of trying to create their own estate plan with the help of online templates or random legal service online ‘shops.’ This is a mistake because templates and online sites:
- Do not always incorporate accurate and current laws;
- Often have question and answer forms that cannot catch and address every individual’s circumstance;
- Often do not provide clear rules for how to execute the documents, leaving them invalid; and
- Result in other individuals contesting them, because they are not backed by an attorney.
Everyday individuals should not be expected to give themselves valid legal advice and create estate planning documents that meet all requirements of the law.
You can avoid the errors that templates and online sites bring by hiring a Texas estate planning attorney.
Massingill is Here to Help
At Massingill, our Austin, Texas estate planning lawyers are approachable and welcoming. We want our clients to trust that they can leave the critical details of legal advocacy to our legal team.
With our clear flat fee plans and reliable and collaborative legal techniques, we never leave our clients guessing about cost or quality of work.
To schedule a video, phone, or in-person consultation, you can always call our office directly at (512) 601-6794 to speak with a resentative right away.
If you prefer, reach out online. We are waiting to hear from you!
Where You Can Find Our Austin Office