Exploring Your Estate Planning Options

wills

If you have been thinking about making sure your last wishes are known and legally effective, take the time to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer.

At Fabio & Merrill in Houston, Texas, we can explain your estate planning options and draft will and trust documents to meet your needs. Contact us to discuss your estate planning goals. We also offer probate administration services to executors and administrators.

Making Your Wishes Known Through a Will or Trust

A will is the most basic financial estate planning document. A will determines who will receive your property when you die, and it appoints an executor to wrap up your affairs as well as naming guardians for your minor children. If you do not execute a will, the courts and state law will be responsible for making all of these personal family decisions.

An optional but often-helpful element of your will is the creation of a trust. A trust is a legal document that appoints a trustee to manage your funds and property for the benefit of another person, group of people or entity. Two common types of trusts are:

  • Child beneficiary trusts set aside a certain amount of money or property to be used for the benefit of a child until that child reaches a certain age. You can determine the cutoff age and the acceptable uses of the property.
  • Marital deduction trusts direct the trustee that if you die before your spouse, your money or property will be used to benefit your spouse during his or her life but then pass to your chosen heirs.
  • Credit shelter trusts allow couples who have assets with a value exceeding the amount of the federal estate tax exemption to save on estate and inheritance taxes by maximizing and taking full advantage of allowable federal tax exemptions, effectively doubling the exemption.

Other types of trusts are also available for specific purposes, and we can discuss additional options that benefit certain estates, such as living trusts and tax planning entities.

Adopting a Living Will and Other Plans

Planning for your elder years or potential disability can be an emotionally difficult process. You may not want to think about the possibility that you will become incapacitated during any portion of your life, but you owe it to yourself and your family to plan ahead.

We can help you craft a package of documents — a medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney, advance guardianship directive, HIPAA authorization and living will — that will enable a trusted loved one to handle your affairs if you lose the ability to do so yourself.

Contact us to discuss all of your estate planning options.