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Estate Planning Overview

Estate Planning Overview

When it comes to estate planning, some Texans believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy or that it is unnecessary because they are not married or do not have children.  Others may put off until it is too late. By avoiding these common estate planning mistakes, however, it is possible to preserve your legacy, achieve a number of financial objectives, and bring peace of mind to you and your family. Contact our office for a free consult, and we will work with you to develop an estate plan to meet your needs and budget.

Located in Fort Worth, the Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC provides an array of estate planning services to individuals, couples and families in Azle, Blue Mound, Haslet, Keller, Lake Worth, Newark, Saginaw, and throughout greater Tarrant County.  We are well versed in the applicable trusts and estate laws and routinely prepare a variety of estate planning documents, including:

  • Will - Establishes how and to whom your assets will be distributed upon death. A will names an executor to carry out these duties and can also designate guardians to care for minor children.

  • Durable Power of Attorney - Names another, trusted person to act as your agent  to manage your personal and business affairs in the event of incapacity or whenever you decide assistance is needed.

  • Medical Power of Attorney  - Also referred to as a healthcare proxy,  this designates an agent to make decisions about the medical treatment you should receive in the event of incapacity.

  • Living Will - Also known as a Directive to Physicians, a living will allows you to declare the type of medical care you would receive or have withheld if terminally ill or incapacitated and unable to express those preferences.

  • Designation of Guardian for Self and/or Minor Children - Designate your preference of a guardian for yourself in the event of incapacity or for your minor children if you die or become incapacitated.  And, yes, you can also indicate a person or persons that you would not want to take on this important role.

  • HIPAA Release  - Authorizes a person or persons to have have access to your medical records to assist you in your treatment and decision-making

  • Revocable Living Trust - Allows you to transfer property into the trust and continue managing it during your  lifetime. Unlike a will, a living trust does not go through probate, which can save time and money and keep the financial arrangements private. A living trust also enables the person making the trust, referred to as the grantor, to plan for incapacity.

  • Irrevocable Trust - Property is permanently transferred into an irrevocable trust, and unlike a living trust, it cannot be altered or modified. These trusts can be created to provide for those with special needs, plan for long-term care, and achieve other objectives such as avoiding taxes and protecting assets from creditors.

  • Special Needs Trust - A Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust can be created during your life or through your will to provide for loved ones who are disabled.  This type of trust supplements the funds received from need-based government programs such as Social Security and Medicaid.

  • Supported Decision Making Agreement - An adult with intellectual and developmental disabilities may still be able to make decisions and manage his or her own affairs but needs assistance.  With a Supported Decision Making Agreement, that person chooses someone he or she trusts to provide the support and assistance needed, as an alternative to guardianship.

  • Transfer on Death Deed - Allows the owner of real property to transfer that property to beneficiaries outside of probate.  The deed works like a beneficiary designation on a life insurance policy.

  • Lady Bird Deed - Also known as an Enhanced Life Estate Deed, this allows the grantor (owner) to remain fully vested in and retain all ownership rights of real property during his or her life, then transfers those rights to the designated grantee(s) upon death.

Why You Need an Estate Plan

Let's face it: no one likes to think about dying or becoming incapacitated, but having an estate plan is the only responsible way to protect your assets and provide for your loved ones. Without a will and other estate planning documents in place, the probate court will name someone to make decisions that may not agree with your wishes. In particular, your assets will be managed and distributed according to the intestacy laws of Texas. We can design an estate plan that will give you peace of mind knowing that your assets and your loved ones will be protected.

Additionally, creating an estate plan can offer you a number of other benefits. First, you can plan for incapacity by designating trusted persons to manage your financial affairs and make decisions about the medical treatment you should receive when you are unable to speak for yourself. By not having a durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney in place, in a crisis, your loved ones must ask the court for the authority to make these decisions.

Moreover, a will allows you to name guardians for your minor children and create a trust to hold your assets for the benefit of those minor children. This allows you to plan for their upbringing and provide for their financial and medical needs if you die and your spouse dies simultaneously or becomes incapacitated. Finally, even if you have will-based plan, your estate must go through a court supervised process known as probate when you die. While Texas offers many options on probate depending on the estate and the circumstances, we can help you design a plan that utilizes trusts to simplify or even avoid probate, minimize estate taxes, and allow your assets to be passed to loved ones privately.

Dallas-Fort Worth Estate Planning Services

At the Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC, estate planning is not only about drafting documents. We believe it is a lifelong journey and guide our clients through every phase. We are comfortable handling a variety matters in the probate courts, such as probate and estate administration, and estate litigation. Additionally, we provide ongoing legal services to ensure that our clients' estate plans are aligned with the changes that occur over a lifetime, such as marriage, having children, divorce, remarriage, retirement, and other circumstances. We also work with our small business clients by advising owners and partners on how to create business succession plans.

We will offer you legal knowledge and compassion and design an estate plan that suits your individual needs, regardless of your financial status. Our guiding principle is to put the best interests of our clients first. We believe that everyone needs an estate plan, and today is the day to get started. Call our office for a free consultation.

Carey Thompson is an estate planning attorney that serves clients in Azle, Dallas, Fort Worth, Keller, Saginaw, and throughout greater Tarrant County with any other their estate planning needs including wills and trusts. 



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