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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Eastate Planning and Probate

What are advanced directives?

Advanced directives allow you to spell out your wishes concerning your medical treatment at the end of your life.

What is a Healthcare Power of Attorney?

Similar to a Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney authorizes someone else to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a written document that authorizes another person to act on behalf of someone else in financial or business matters.

Do I need a trust?

A trust is a complicated and expensive document that is created by a person during their lifetime. Many estates do not require a trust; however, there are certain situations, such as if a relative has a medical condition and receives government assistance, or if a person cannot be trusted to have control over a large inheritance, when a trust is beneficial.

What is a trust?

A trust is similar to a Will in that it directs how property will be distributed. However, a trust is a more flexible arrangement and involves three people: the trust-maker, the trustee (the person who will handle the assets placed in the trust), and the beneficiaries (the people who receive assets in the trust). Assets can be transferred to a trust during the trust-maker’s lifetime, or at their death.

What is a Will?

A Last Will and Testament, known simply as a Will, is a legal document by which a person appoints the Executor of their estate, a Guardian for any minor children, and directs how property will be distributed upon their death.

Isn’t it cheaper to do it myself with a computer program?

While a DIY computer program might seem to save you money in the short-term, a mistake in your Will or Trust could have significant consequences. Something minor, like a misplaced comma or a missing signature, can alter the intent of a legal document or even void the document altogether. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney will give you peace of mind in knowing that your estate planning documents were prepared properly.

How can I avoid probate?

In certain circumstances (usually if the estate is very small) it is possible to avoid probate. Nonetheless, there are forms that need to be completed and filed with the probate court regardless of the size of the estate.

It is also possible to avoid probate through the use of a trust; however, the deceased person’s Will will still need to be submitted to the probate court, and there are often assets that will still need to pass through probate.

Do I have to go through probate?

With a few exceptions, everyone must go through probate. While certain assets can pass outside of the probate process, and some people may be exempt, there are still documents that must be submitted to the probate court. An experienced Texas probate lawyer can advise you on whether your estate is exempt and what assets can be passed outside of probate.

How does probate work?

Probate is the legal process that occurs after someone dies. If the person left a Will, it involves proving that the Will is valid, identifying and taking an inventory of the deceased person’s assets and debts, notifying any interested parties, and distributing the remaining property according the the deceased person’s Last Will and Testament or relevant state law.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s property is distributed to heirs and beneficiaries, creditors are paid off, and a Will (if there is one) is proved to be valid.

Real Estate

As a seller, do I need to disclose any defects in a home?

As a seller, you should disclose all defects in the home. However, you should discuss this with an experienced real estate lawyer. When and how you disclose the defects can be important, and if you do not disclose them you could find yourself facing a lawsuit.

What should I do before buying or selling property?

A Texas real estate lawyer can perform a title search to make sure that the seller can convey marketable title, free and clear. This means that it is safe to purchase the property, that no one else has claims to the land, and there are no outstanding liens that need to be paid by the seller.

Do I need an attorney to buy or sell a home?

In Texas you are not legally required to hire a lawyer to buy or sell property. However, because real estate transactions often involve large sums of money, and because they are complicated, it is wise to work with an experienced real estate attorney to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

What is real estate law?

Real estate law deals with the sale and purchase of property, including the land and any buildings that are located on the land. This includes residential property as well as commercial property.

I bought a home and there’s a problem with it. Can I do anything about it?

If after buying a home you discover a problem, the buyer might have offered a warranty policy that will cover any problems that are discovered after the sale. There are often strict time limits on how long the policy is in effect, so if you believe there was a problem and want to see if it was covered, contact a Texas real estate lawyer as soon as possible.

Financial Planning

How do you create a financial plan?

At Schultz and Kellar, PLLC, we begin by learning about your financial goals, then work with you to develop a plan for how you will meet those goals. We will conduct an in-depth review of your financial situation, and offer advice on how to achieve and continue working towards those objectives.

What should a financial plan include?

A financial plan should include a review of your net worth, your financial goals and objectives, your investments, cash flow, retirement planning, tax planning, insurance, and a plan for how you will meet your goals.

Why is financial planning important?

A sound financial plan will help you achieve your financial goals, such as buying a house, planning for retirement, or saving for a child’s education.

What is the difference between estate planning and financial planning?

Financial planning and estate planning are both important and may have overlapping goals and objectives. Financial planning helps you make decisions about your assets to achieve your financial goals, while estate planning gives you an opportunity to think about how you will pass on your financial legacy to future generations.

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