Marivonne R. Essex, "The Red Headed Lawyer"

Estate Planning Lawyer in Spring TX

Estate planning is the process and determination of what will happen to your assets after death (or at a time when you are unable to make decisions, such as during a persistent medical event). For the vast majority of us, estate planning does not feel like an urgent matter, but from my experience, I can tell you that procrastination is the biggest enemy of estate planning. Unexpected events can arise, and what wasn’t a big deal yesterday is suddenly an overwhelming crisis.

Why do I need an Estate Plan?

There are (at least) five reasons why everyone needs an estate plan.

  1. Avoid Unnecessary and Expensive Probate Procedures
    If someone dies without a will or other legal protections, a court will decide what happens to your assets. Simply put, the court may make decisions you wouldn’t like.
  2. Reduce Taxes
    Depending on the amount of your assets, taxes can be a significant concern. An estate plan can minimize (or eliminate) estate taxes for your heirs.
  3. Avoid More Litigation
    With an estate plan in place, you can avoid most arguments among heirs (or non-heirs) related to your assets and final wishes.
  4. Protect Beneficiaries
    An estate plan provides certainty that your family and friends receive (or don’t receive) what you want after your passing.
  5. Protect Assets
    What if someone were to sue your estate? Without an estate plan, such an action could tie up your assets for years and be very expensive.

What is involved in creating an Estate Plan?

While extremely important, it is essential to understand that estate planning is much more than just drafting a will and deciding who receives your assets. You will name a trusted person to execute your wishes, and if you own property, you can name a separate (if desired) person to manage the property for others. Documents completed during this process could include powers of attorney (to make decisions if you are incapacitated), guardianship assignments for your minor children (even pets). Completing documents to facilitate wealth transfers (like trusts) are also critical to be sure your beneficiaries receive what you wish with the least delay or expense. You can also write step-by-step instructions for personal wishes like your funeral (when, where, and who is invited). And since it’s 2022, don’t forget about your digital assets like social media accounts (there is a process – who knew?). Finally, we help you make sure all the concerned individuals have copies of these documents so there are no questions down the road.

While no one likes to think about dying, lack of planning can lead to a mess for our loved ones to clean up. To quote Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”