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Estate Plan Documents to Discuss with a Dallas Estate Attorney

estate attorney Dallas

Experts say that fewer than half of the population has an up-to-date estate plan in place. Yet any estate attorney in Dallas or elsewhere would say that everyone needs to prepare for the future.

Estate planning is about protecting your loved ones and the assets you’ve worked so hard to accumulate. You don’t want the state of Texas to make decisions for you, nor do you want life to be even more difficult for your family should you become incapacitated or suddenly pass away. With an estate plan, you can prevent those outcomes.

Talking to an experienced Dallas estate attorney is the first step to safeguarding your legacy, and many – including the legal team at Schultz and Kellar, PLLC – offer free consultations. Here are the documents you may need to include in your estate plan.

Last Will and Testament

Drafting a last will and testament is essential, as the estate plan document makes your final wishes known.

Through your last will and testament, you can designate the following:

  • Who will have custody of any children or disabled adult dependents in your care
  • How your cash assets and real estate will be distributed after your death
  • Which family members or friends will inherit valuable or cherished heirlooms

If you die without a will in Texas, your property will distributed according the state intestacy laws and the court will appoint a guardian for any minor children or adult disabled children. To avoid that outcome, talk to an experienced Dallas estate attorney about drafting your last will and testament.

Advanced Healthcare Directives

Everyone in Texas needs advanced healthcare directives –these legal documents give you control over what happens in the event of incapacitation.

With advanced directives drafted by an estate attorney, you can:

  • Provide instructions as to your wishes about medical and mental health treatment
  • Stipulate if you want life-sustaining procedures or prefer to die a natural death
  • Designate a medical power of attorney you trust to make health care decisions

Anyone can suddenly become terminally ill, permanently unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. If you end up in any of those situations, having advanced healthcare directives as part of your estate plan can make it easier on your loved ones.

Durable Power of Attorney

Have a Dallas estate attorney draft a durable power of attorney, document, and you won’t have to worry about money matters if an emergency arises.

This important estate plan document allows you to appoint someone you trust to:

  • Keep up with your regular bills and financial obligations
  • Carry out banking transactions and deal with government benefits
  • Oversee your investments and make decisions on your behalf

An experienced estate attorney can prepare a durable power of attorney that only applies when certain conditions are met. With this document as part of your estate plan, you’ll retain complete control over your own affairs unless you reach the point when you can no longer do so.

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is a useful estate plan tool. With this document, you can manage your affairs now, and a successor trustee will step in if you become incapacitated.

Drafting a revocable living trust comes with several advantages, including:

  • Protection of your property when you’re unable to manage your own affairs
  • Assets in the trust can go to your beneficiaries without going through probate
  • Keeping your final wishes and the details of your estate plan private

Administering a revocable living trust may require the assistance of an experienced Dallas estate attorney. To that end, you might want to consider making arrangements in your estate plan for your successor trustee to have the necessary funds to seek out legal help.

Provision of Digital Assets

If your estate plan doesn’t properly account for your digital assets, your beneficiaries may not ever get access.

An estate attorney can create a provision that protects all of the following:

  • Your email and social media accounts
  • Digital photos, videos and online gaming avatars
  • Cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
  • Website domain names and monetized video channels
  • Digital rights to theatrical, literary or musical works

Texas laws regarding digital property are still evolving. As such, to make sure your estate plan allows for full access to all of your digital assets, you’d be wise to turn to an experienced Dallas estate attorney.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Schultz and Kellar

When it comes to estate planning, every Dallas resident has unique needs. Depending upon your financial situation and the types of assets you own, other estate plan documents may be worthy of consideration – and procrastination can be your biggest enemy.

No one likes to think about aging, incapacitation and death, but protecting your loved ones and your assets can provide you with peace of mind for the future. For estate planning assistance throughout northeast Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area, Schultz and Kellar, PLLC, is the law firm to call.

To learn about the legal services we provide --or to arrange for a free consultation with a friendly, knowledgeable and experienced Dallas estate attorney -- contact Schultz and Kellar today.

Categories: Blog, Estate Planning

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