Using The Law To Ensure Your Last Wishes Are Met

Many people put off estate planning because of unease, but forming an estate plan gives you control, which is also valuable if sickness or incapacity prevents you from being able to communicate your wishes. Here are some tips recommended by CNBC when putting your affairs in order:

Seek Help: It is not difficult to leave behind instructions for one’s passing when using an attorney with a strong understanding of estate planning law, but mistakes frequently happen when couples and individuals try to handle estate planning alone. Having an attorney ensure that everything is legal and in order is the best way to make sure your wishes are met.

Be Specific:

You should not forget the little things when crafting your will or trust as many people forget items that are not always monetarily expensive, but have sentimental value. Emotions can run high when a parent dies, so children might fight over jewelry, cookware or cherished possessions because they want something special to help them remember mom or dad. Designating specific items to friends and family may prevent fighting later.

Communicate: Being specific is only helpful if people can read your last wishes, so make copies of wills and trusts or tell someone exactly where the documents are kept. If your loved ones are searching for the correct safe deposit box or scouring the attic for your will, there is no guarantee they will find your burial instructions or other important notes in time.

To discuss estate planning and preparing for your future and passing, contact us today so that we can help ensure your wishes are met.

Estate Planning Advice: How To Help Your Parents With The Transition

As we watch our parents and other loved ones become older, we begin to appreciate our own independence. When our parents reach a certain age and it begins to have a detrimental impact, it can be tough to come in and help them out.

Many children are hesitant about stepping in and becoming the parent to their mother or father. Not many children want to be responsible for estate planning, finances, and any short-term or long-term care arrangements. Often, older adults insist they do not need help because they do not want anyone to take over duties they have managed for their entire lives. In many families, no one discusses finances because the subject of finances is restricted in conversations.

Sometimes many families do not bring up finances or legal matters until a death or accident happens. However, the best time for parents and children to discuss these topics is when everyone is still living and able to understand the entire conversation.

We understand it can be difficult to have conversations like those, but they are necessary if you want to avoid any arguments or disagreements later. When it comes to finances and other topics of discussions, all sides can have varying opinions. Arguing will not help, and there is no need for anyone to insist they know more than the other. What is needed is valuable information, documents, and other support for your parents. Older adults need enough time to look through documents in order to make a decision and feel in control.

You should make sure your parents or parent has all the proper documents for estate planning, such as the following:

  • A Last Will And Testament
  • A Power Of Attorney
  • Living Will
  • A Trust
  • Insurance documents
  • Tax documents
  • Bank statements/other financial documents

The goal of any family discussion should be to gather and share as much valuable information as possible. You do not want to scare your parents or force them into making decisions they are not comfortable making. When you go through these steps with your parents, you will know what kind of information your children will need to take care of you.

If you need assistance in easing your parent’s transition, do not hesitate to contact us today.

Wills And Mental Capacity

Often, people have arguments or disagreements regarding trusts and wills is because they have concerns about the person’s mental stability at the time of signing these documents. It will not matter if there are any no contest clauses in the document, if it is shown that the signer of the document was not of sound mind and body, the document could be deemed invalid.

There can also be different levels of necessary mental capacity, depending on the kind of estate planning documents that are being used. When it comes to planning an estate, how mentally capable does a person have to be in the state of Texas? When someone signs a will, that person will not be mentally capable if:

  • He or she can not grasp the essence of the will or trust
  • Understand the relationship between the children, husband/wife, parents, and anyone else who is impacted by the estate planning documents
  • He or she has a mental condition that causes him or her to suffer from things such as misconception and apparitions

Regardless of what documents have been signed, a person has to understand what is being signed. They must fully understand what property and assets they have and what will be given away. They must be able to understand what the relationship is between themselves and the person who will be receiving their property.

The court will look at various factors to determine if a person is of a sound mind. The requisite capacity may not apply to every situation and every circumstance. The mental capacity of a person often decreases with age. As we know, many wills are written when a person has reached an older age.

If there have been any allegations of a lack of mental capacity of your loved one’s will, contact us today to consult with an attorney.

Why Some People Are Leaving Out The Kids When Estate Planning

Most parents in Texas would probably love to leave behind a large inheritance that leaves their children well taken care of in the future, but many seniors have a set amount of money that they must prioritize what to do with. Many retirees must make difficult choices with their savings while others choose to use their money in different ways.

According to CNBC, here are a few reasons why adult children are inheriting less from their parents:

Sparse Savings

Some retirees may have lost money in the economic crisis a few years ago while others have realized they need more money than what they have saved. Because of financial difficulties, some seniors cannot leave large gifts behind for their kids as they deal with living expenses and healthcare costs.

Spoiling The Grandkids

If retirees have assets to share when they pass away, some are deciding to give inheritances to grandchildren instead of their children. With more people having children later in life, grandparents might not get to have a significant relationship with their grandchildren. This gives a grandparent a way to make an important contribution to a child’s life, and grandparents can even include a note with trusts to share their wisdom about finances.

A Good Cause

Others may decide to leave money to a charity instead of their children. This is a chance to support a worthy cause that needs financial assistance, and one might want to donate money so that children are motivated to work hard since they are not taken care of by an inheritance.

Regardless of how you divide your assets and belongings, estate planning allows you to ensure that your wishes are met when you are gone.

Contact us so that we can help you when establishing or editing documents like wills or trusts.

Four Tips For Estate Planning Without Children

You may not want to think about estate planning yet but it is important to think about. It takes time to delegate how you want to settle your estate. Most people assume that they are going to pass all of their belongings to their children but what if they don’t have any (or their children don’t want it)? Where do you even start?

Here are some tips to planning your estate when you don’t have any children.

  • Don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings. If you don’t make a will, someone else will decide how your estate gets divided. Your family might not end up getting any of it. Do you really want to let someone else make the call?
  • Make a will and divide up your assets the way that you want. It is your choice and only your choice. Do what you feel is right.
  • Make gifts and charitable donations as you see fit. You can donate money to friends and family without getting taxed. You can help others with college the same way. You can also donate money to charities.
  • Choose advocates that you trust. You want people who will follow your wishes, even if they don’t agree with your choices. You will want to choose people who are younger than you so that they will be there to make decisions for you as you age.

It can be difficult to plan your estate when you don’t have children. You will have to think carefully about who you want to pass your money and belongings to. Don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings. That should not stop you from making a will. You don’t want someone else making the choice do you? You should also think about gifting some of your money and making some charitable donations. Also, you will need to think carefully about who you want to help take care of you as you get older. Pick someone that you trust. You need someone who will follow your wishes, even if they don’t agree.

Contact us for more tips on estate planning.

Guardianship Litigation: Does Your Family Need To Remove A Guardian?

When someone is named the legal guardian of a person who is now incapacitated, they have now taken on a big responsibility. The person who is the guardian has to be diligent and responsible about everything that has something to do with the ward’s medical needs and financial needs.

If someone in your family has become incapacitated, and the appointed legal guardian is not properly fulfilling the ward’s needs, your family may have to consider guardianship litigation. You can tell the court why you feel as if the guardian is not doing the best things for the person you love. If you present this information to the court, the current guardian may be removed.

What are some reasons why a guardian can be removed?

  • Not fulfilling the duties he/she is responsible for
  • Abusing the responsibility or power
  • The guardian is not managing the ward’s finances properly
  • Has been convicted of a crime
  • Not following the court’s orders
  • Has not done what has been asked in the guardianship report

If you feel that your loved one is not being properly taken care of by the appointed guardian, you can show the court that the current situation is not in the best interest of your loved one. If you can show this to the court, the court can appoint a new guardian.

We understand you want to keep your family safe. If you need the help of an attorney with experience in guardianship litigation, feel free to contact us today. We want to help you find the right guardian who will care for your loved one the right way.

Probate Court: How Can You Communicate With The Beneficiaries?

When someone you love dies without having his or her estate plan and other affairs in order, there is a possibility the estate will have to go to probate court. No one likes dealing with a probate. It is a long and difficult process to go through; it is also highly frustrating.

Can you imagine if every one in the family is not getting along or if the communication is not up to par? Things will be even more complicated and frustrating. Documents will need to be signed, you will have meetings and hearings, and valuables will need to be distributed. If there is no communication, there will be no proceedings.

If you are representing someone or if you are one of the people receiving property, you should do your part by making sure you communicate with everyone else involved.

If you are responsible for coordinating the entire estate, you need to inform everyone of the hearings, documents, and everything else that is going on. You need to have full communication with everyone. You should establish more than one method of communication with everyone.

If you cannot find the necessary contact information you need for the beneficiaries, below are some tips that may help you find the information you need to reach them:

  • Search social media networks
  • Ask other family members and friends
  • Look through phone books (online or in print)
  • Ask their current or former employers

You should make sure you have complete information of the people you are trying to reach. You should also make notes of who you talked to, when you talked to them, and the information you found.

Hiring a probate attorney can make this situation easier and better for all parties involved. The attorney can potentially help you find those family members who you are unable to communicate with. If an attorney contacts them, they may be more willing to talk. If family issues and arguments are making things hard, a probate attorney can be someone who can step in and not take sides.

If you are ready to discuss probate, you should not hesitate to ask for additional information or request a consultation. Contact us today.