Many people believe that estate planning is an essential step when planning for the future. However, very few people actually have taken the time to draft an adequate estate plan. According to a 2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study from Caring.com, approximately two out of three American adults (67.1%) do not have a will or estate plan in place.
Through a detailed estate plan, you can plan for end-of-life decisions, distribute assets to loved ones, give back to charities, leave funeral instructions, and specify any other final wishes. Detailing these decisions can help you avoid potential family conflicts and disputes when it comes to settling all of your final affairs.
If you are starting to think about creating an estate plan or would like to learn more about how the process works, it is important that you consult with an experienced Texas estate planning attorney for detailed guidance. Attorney James P Peterson is passionate about offering reliable legal services and guidance to individuals and families across the San Antonio area.
As your attorney, he can help you explore all of your legal options and assist you with the drafting of all of the estate planning documents you may need, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, Affidavits of Heirship, and advanced care directives. James P. Peterson Attorney at Law is proud to serve clients across San Antonio, Texas, and the surrounding communities of Boerne and New Braunfels.
Estate planning involves making plans in advance regarding how a person's final affairs should be managed or how their property should be distributed to loved ones upon death or sudden incapacitation. Detailed estate planning documents can provide surviving family members with guidance on how to settle the decedent's final affairs, settle estate taxes, and distribute assets to beneficiaries. Estate planning has a number of different benefits and can help you achieve the following:
Prepare for an uncertain future
Make adequate plans for your financial future, legal future, and healthcare
Protect your assets, including any property, investments, and other financial interests
Designate an administrator or select someone you trust as your personal representative
Protect any minor children and provide for them
Provide for your surviving family members and close relatives
Protect your assets and investments from creditors and lawsuits
Have complete control over who inherits your assets
Avoid or mitigate family disputes and conflicts over property distribution
Determine assets you want to give to charities
Help inheritors avoid taxes, including inheritance, estate, and gift taxes
Help your estate avoid the costly and lengthy probate process
Ensure that you don't die without a will (intestate)
For those who are contemplating drafting an estate plan, here are some important estate planning tools that you may want to consider:
A will is a legal document containing specific instructions about how assets should be transferred to any heirs and beneficiaries upon your death. Drafting a will can also provide you with the ability to choose a guardian to handle your final affairs and help manage any inheritance left for minor children.
A trust is a fiduciary relationship that allows a person (trustor or guarantor) to appoint an independent third party (trustee) who will manage their final affairs and transfer assets to inheritors upon the guarantor's death or sudden incapacitation. Assets that can be included in your trust are real estate property, bank accounts, savings, investments, and business interests.
A power of attorney designates authority to the person of your choosing to act on your behalf in financial and legal matters when you're unavailable or unable to make such decisions on your own. You may give the legal duty and power to your attorney, a trusted family member, friend, or personal advisor.
An advance care directive is a legal document that provides certain instructions about the preferred medical care of a person in the event that they become unable to make medical decisions on their own, perhaps due to sudden incapacitation, terminal illness, or disability.
An Affidavit of Heirship is a sworn statement that can be used by the heirs to establish property ownership when the original owner dies intestate (without a will). It can transfer real estate and motor vehicles, but not bank accounts.
This document allows whoever you designate to have full access to your medical providers and records.
Putting your end-of-life plans in writing can help ease the burden on your family members and loved ones after you are gone. Your surviving loved ones can have peace of mind knowing that you have a plan in place for the future. An experienced Texas estate planning attorney can help you protect your assets, provide for your loved ones, and ensure that your wishes are carried out after you’re gone.
Attorney James P Peterson has devoted his career to providing experienced legal guidance to clients on a wide variety of estate planning matters. As your legal counsel, James can evaluate your unique situation and help you choose the right estate plan that best suits your needs. Whether you need help drafting a will or trust, Affidavits of Heirship, or establishing powers of attorney documents, James can provide guidance every step of the way. Don’t wait. Call or reach out to James P. Peterson Attorney at Law today to plan for your future.
It’s never too early or too late to begin planning for an uncertain future. If you need help drafting a will, trust, or navigating other important estate planning issues, contact James P. Peterson Attorney at Law today to schedule a one-on-one case assessment. James proudly serves clients throughout San Antonio, Boerne, and New Braunfels, Texas.