Answering Your Estate Planning Questions
At Ward & Myers LLP, we understand that estate planning can be a complex topic, and you may have several questions. To help you gain a better understanding, we have compiled answers to a list of the questions about Texas estate planning we get most often.
When is a good time to create an estate plan?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best time to create an estate plan will vary depending on your individual circumstances. However, there are some general times when it is a good idea to create an estate plan, such as:
- When you have children
- When you get married
- When you buy a house
- When you start a business
Creating an estate plan allows you to protect your assets and your legacy. While you can create an estate plan at any time, many see significant events like these as a catalyst for thinking about their estate.
When should I modify an estate plan?
Your estate plan should be reviewed and updated periodically, especially if your circumstances change. Some common reasons to modify your estate plan include:
- Having children
- Getting married
- Getting divorced
- Buying a house
- Selling a house
- Starting a business
- Selling a business
Although an estate plan may seem like a set-it-and-forget-it type of task, the reality is much different. As you move through different stages in your life, you will want to update your estate plan to reflect the changes in your family and lifestyle.
What are the benefits of wills vs. trusts?
Both wills and trusts serve important roles in estate planning. A will allows you to designate beneficiaries, name guardians for minor children, and specify how your assets should be distributed. It goes through probate court, which can be a time-consuming and public process.
Trusts, on the other hand, provide added benefits such as avoiding probate, minimizing estate taxes and maintaining privacy. There are many different kinds of trusts designed to fulfill certain goals; they offer flexibility in managing and distributing assets, particularly in complex family situations. Choosing between a will and a trust depends on your specific needs and goals, and our experienced attorneys can help you make the right decision.
What is the difference between a will and a trust?
A will is a legal document that expresses your wishes for the distribution of your assets after your death. A trust is a legal arrangement that allows you to control how your assets are managed and distributed after your death.
A will is typically used to distribute your assets after your death. A trust can be used to distribute your assets after your death, or it can be used to manage your assets during your lifetime.
Do I need an estate plan if I don’t have significant assets?
Yes, an estate plan is beneficial regardless of the size of your estate. Even if you don’t have substantial assets, an estate plan allows you to determine how your belongings will be distributed and who will make decisions on your behalf in case of incapacitation. It provides peace of mind and ensures that your wishes are respected.
What happens if I die without an estate plan?
Dying without an estate plan means your assets will be distributed according to state laws, which may not align with your preferences. The court will appoint an administrator to handle the distribution, which can be time-consuming and costly. By creating an estate plan, you retain control over the disposition of your assets and minimize potential conflicts among family members.
Can I create an estate plan on my own?
While it’s possible to find online templates or do-it-yourself kits, estate planning is a complex legal process that should be approached with professional guidance. Our experienced attorneys possess the necessary knowledge to draft a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your specific needs and ensure its legal validity. Hiring an attorney ensures that your estate plan is accurate, legally sound, and effectively protects your loved ones.
Other Questions? We Can Help.
Take control of your future and protect your loved ones with a personalized estate plan. Contact us online or call our Midland office at 432-315-0335 to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable estate planning team.