You have worked hard all your life, and you may have accumulated investments, real estate, wealth, belongings, and retirement accounts, all of which constitute your estate. Whether a person’s estate is simple or complex, modest or large, every person has an estate.
Upon your death, the assets of your estate must be distributed in compliance with state law. It is important to have an estate plan in place to have some level of control over when, how, and to whom your assets will be distributed.
To make an estate plan that not only protects your loved ones but also your assets, you need to work with an experienced, trustworthy estate planning and probate lawyer in Spring, Texas.
Estate planning is difficult for many people since it isn’t always easy to contemplate the end of one’s own life. Others assume that it is the preserve of the rich. However, the reality is that even people with modest estates can greatly benefit from having a proper estate plan in place.
At Bolton Law, we have many decades of combined experience helping people create comprehensive estate plans. Contact our Spring, Texas law firm today at 281-351-7897 to schedule a consultation with one of our probate/estate planning lawyers!
What Exactly Is Probate Law?
Probate law refers to an area of the judicial system in the United States that’s responsible for handling estate matters. If you or a loved one passes away, probate law deals with any and all legal matters associated with the assets or liabilities left behind.
Probate law essentially refers to the legal process that gives someone, the executor, the power to oversee the payment of the decedent’s debts and distribute their assets as laid out in a will. Probate law is also responsible for determining the validity of a will.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning refers to the process of developing a comprehensive plan for future scenarios, which includes asset distribution upon death and decision-making in case of an incapacitating injury or illness. The key goals of effective estate planning often include reducing stress on surviving members of the family, preventing disputes, and minimizing tax exposure.
However, planning for death is generally an issue that many Americans neglect. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Caring.com in late 2021, only 33 percent of people in the United States have such plans in place.
Estate planning is a very important process that can provide certainty and peace of mind, not just to the person that creates the plan but also to their family. Estate plans are unique and ideally should be handled by an experienced estate planning and probate lawyer in Spring, Texas such as those at Bolton Law.
What Are the Types of Services Provided by an Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer in Spring?
Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy as explained above. Just about anybody with children or assets can greatly benefit from estate planning. Here are some of the services provided by a probate/estate planning lawyer:
A will is one of the most important estate planning documents. All adults in Texas should have a legally valid last will and testament. A well-prepared will can save your family and loved ones a lot of confusion and frustration. At Bolton Law in Spring, Texas, we can help you draft a will that will effectively achieve your objectives.
You should still consider setting up a trust even with a will in place. A trust is an estate planning vehicle that allows you to dedicate funds to specific purposes both while you are alive and even after passing on, all while keeping your tax burden under control.
Trusts are versatile financial instruments that can be used for a variety of purposes ranging from nursing care of a disabled spouse, educational support of a child, to sheltering income if you are incapacitated. At Bolton Law, we can help you set up a full range of trusts that meet your needs.
Probate refers to the legal process through which a person’s will (or lack of a will) is confirmed under the law and their assets transferred to the right beneficiaries. Our probate/estate planning lawyers can help you prepare for probate and navigate the process from start to finish.
Powers of Attorney
A good estate plan will do much more than just protect your property. It will also protect you in case you become ill, injured, or otherwise incapacitated. Our estate planning lawyers at Bolton Law can help you set up a durable power of attorney.
Advanced directives are similar to powers of attorney, except that they give another person authority to make healthcare and end-of-life decisions on your behalf. You can even provide detailed instructions to medical providers outlining situations where you desire life-sustaining or life-saving treatment. Your estate planning and probate lawyer in Spring, TX can help you set up advance directives.
Guardianship refers to a legal status where a capable adult is tasked with the responsibility of handling the affairs of an incapacitated or vulnerable person. At Bolton Law in Spring, TX, our probate/estate planning lawyers are available to help if you have concerns about legal guardianship, whether for a child or an adult.
Special Needs Planning
Special needs individuals require special consideration when it comes to estate planning. Unfortunately, leaving assets/property to a loved one with special needs may undermine their eligibility for certain government programs, including Social Security and Medicaid.
Our probate/estate planning lawyers will advise you of the available estate planning options available. We can help you set up a Special Needs Trust so that you can still offer support for your vulnerable loved one as part of your estate plan.
When Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
If you are like the vast majority of people you probably assume that estate planning only outlines how your assets are to be distributed upon your death. While asset distribution is definitely one of the primary purposes of having an estate plan, it is not the only reason why you should have an estate plan in place.
Here are some other important reasons why you need the services of probate/estate planning lawyers:
To Protect Yourself in Case of Incapacitation or Disability
Your estate plan should protect you in case you ever become incapacitated. With a properly constructed estate plan, your loved ones will have the necessary legal tools to protect your interests and rights.
You may want to set up medical powers of attorney or financial powers of attorney, among other things. Furthermore, if you have specific wishes regarding your healthcare, you can put an advance medical directive into place.
To Protect Your Children and Dependents
Estate planning is essential if you have young children or dependents. You need to ensure that your children are protected no matter what may happen. You need to name a guardian for your child. You should address this issue even if you are married in case something happens to you and your spouse.
Obviously, for parents, there’s also a financial planning aspect to protect their children. You may want to set money aside in a trust or buy life insurance to ensure that your child will be adequately cared for.
To Have Control Over What Happens to Your Assets
If you would like to be in control of what happens to your assets – your home, your investments, your money, your pets, your property, and your sentimental items – you need to address this in your estate plan.
For some people, writing a will is sufficient. For others, it could be better to create a trust that makes distributions to beneficiaries. Regardless, it is important to put the proper structures in place to meet your objectives.
To Pay Off Debts
If there’s any possibility that you will leave behind debts after passing away, your estate plan needs to provide for payment of those debts too.
Which assets should the executor use to satisfy your obligations? Do you require a life insurance policy to protect your loved ones? These are just two of the numerous questions that you need to answer with regard to debt payment during the estate planning process.
To Reduce Conflict Between Your Loved Ones
One often overlooked goal of estate planning is working to put a plan in place that helps reduce stress, confusion, and potential conflict for your family members and loved ones. Disputes can easily arise without a properly crafted estate plan, which is something you would obviously want to avoid after passing away.
Contact Our Estate Planning and Probate Lawyers in Spring, Texas!
Estate planning is a very important process that can give you and your family peace of mind for years to come. Still, you should revisit your estate plan periodically to make sure that it meets your needs as you move through life’s various stages.
If you don’t yet have an estate plan or it has been years since you last updated your plan, you need to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Bolton Law is here to help! Our probate/estate planning lawyers in Spring, Texas can help you navigate the probate process successfully.
Call us today at 281-351-7897 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers who will not only review your case but also help you understand all of the legal options currently available to you. We look forward to hearing from you!