In Texas, if you die without a will, your property will be distributed according to state "intestacy" laws. Creating a last will and testament can lay out a plan for the desired distribution of assets including real and personal property upon your death.
Your focus after losing a loved one should be on your family's emotional needs, not on estate administration. We have an understanding of the probate laws and how property passes to others after a death.
A trust is a relationship created when a property owner (the “settlor”) transfers legal title to another person (the “trustee”) who has the duty to hold the property for the benefit of a third person (the “beneficiary”). One major advantage of creating a living trust is that it may avoid the necessity of a guardianship in the event that the settlor becomes incapacitated. A living trust is also useful if the settlor owns property in different states. Substantial estate tax benefits may be realized by proper use of a trust.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make your health care decisions for you. You must be incapacitated and no longer capable of making your own health care decisions. Your attending physician must certify in writing that you lack the capacity to make your own health care decisions. Once appointed, the appointee can make a broad range of medical treatment decisions for you. He/she can consent, refuse to consent or withdraw medical treatment on your behalf. This includes the refusal to activate life support systems or the termination of existing life support systems.
Directive to Physicians / Living Will
A directive to physicians is commonly known as a living will. It is a document that allows you to instruct your physician to withhold life-sustaining procedures. A person who has executed a directive to physicians should inform their doctor and request that the directive be made part of their medical records. A directive to physicians will not become effective until two physicians have certified in writing that the patient has an incurable or irreversible terminal condition and that the application of life-sustaining procedures would serve only to artificially prolong the moment of death.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person to conduct your business affairs. This document is particularly helpful in your absence or during a time when you may be physically or mentally unable to conduct your business.
n Texas, you may name the person who will carry out your funeral arrangements. You can also provide detailed instructions about your final wishes and set aside funds to cover your funeral expenses, including the costs of burial or cremation.
Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends and health care professionals, and to avoid confusion later on.
Transfer on Death Deed
Texas state law allows real property owners to record a “Transfer on Death Deed” naming a beneficiary to own that real property after they die. With a properly recorded Transfer on Death Deed, you do not need to go through probate court to transfer real property.
Elder Care Planning
Elder care planning is an inclusive planning approach that addresses the health care, legal and financial issues of aging and disability. It is an important step for anyone who is in the natural transitioning process that accompanies the elder years.