There are two things in life that are unavoidable—death and taxes. At The Hunnicutt Law Group, we believe with proper planning early on you can make the inevitable less burdensome.
Our Dallas estate planning attorneys know how important these decisions are, so we take the time to listen to you. Regardless of your estate’s size, we give the same attention and care to all our clients. Our estate lawyers in Dallas will take a thorough look at your assets to develop an effective plan. We create a customized combination of estate planning documents that meet your needs and desires.
For a reliable, communicative, and experienced Dallas estate planning lawyer, contact The Hunnicutt Law Group.
Why You Need an Estate Plan
Most people think an estate plan only comes into play after they die. In fact, your estate plan impacts you during your lifetime as well. An estate plan is a comprehensive set of instructions regarding your care during life and the distribution of your estate at death.
An estate plan is essential to ensure your financial, medical, and personal needs are met while you are alive. If you become incapacitated or disabled, you do not want your family guessing how to care for you. Often this causes immense stress and disagreement among family members. Eventually, a guardianship may be the only recourse, which adds another layer of tension. Advance planning can alleviate those conflicts. By using a variety of documents, you can direct your loved ones on your health care and financial matters and delegate decision-making power to those you trust the most. Powers of attorney, advance medical directives, and living trusts are examples of lifetime estate planning tools.
Distributing Your Estate at Death
Planning for your death may be a morbid thought, but it is necessary. Without a comprehensive estate plan, your loved ones will have the burdensome task of distributing your assets with little to no direction. Even worse, if you do not have a will, state law determines how your assets will be distributed, which may be contrary to your wishes.
An estate plan allows your family to carry out your intentions. It provides clear instructions on who will inherit your assets, from family members to cherished friends to charitable organizations. If you have a minor or disabled child, you need to decide who will raise your child if you are unable and appoint that person in your will.
With proper estate planning, you can minimize probate and the number of “death taxes” that may apply to your estate.
If you already have an estate plan in place, you should revisit it every five years or if a significant life event occurs. Examples include:
- Finalizing a divorce,
- Having a child,
- Acquiring or selling a business,
- Suffering from a sudden illness or injury, and
- Receiving a windfall of cash or valuable assets.
Let our estate planning attorneys in Dallas, TX, help you plan for now and the future.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You
It may be tempting to use an online, fill-in-the-blank template to create your own estate plan. Unfortunately, these documents can have errors or omit essential provisions that end up causing more cost and hassle to your loved ones. We understand that every client has different assets, family dynamics, and intentions. That’s why our Dallas estate planning attorneys will create a unique, comprehensive estate plan made up of various documents.
A will is a legal document that lays out your wishes and instructs the distribution of your assets. Your will goes into effect only upon your death. With a will, you can make specific gifts of property and cash, appoint a guardian for your minor or disabled child, and name the executor responsible for administering your estate. Any assets that are solely in your name (known as probate assets) are governed by your will and subject to probate.
Trusts are a quicker and less expensive way to pass your assets to beneficiaries outside of the probate process. Unlike wills, which become public documents once submitted to probate, trusts are private documents, so their contents remain confidential.
Trusts come in a variety of types, including charitable trusts, special needs trusts, living trusts, testamentary trusts, and life insurance trusts. Based on your needs, an estate lawyer in Dallas can use a combination of trusts to structure your estate plan.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that allows a person you choose to make financial decisions on your behalf. This power can be broad or limited. Your power of attorney can take effect immediately or upon the happening of a particular event, such as incapacity.
There are several varieties of powers of attorney. A Dallas estate planning lawyer can explain each type and help you decide what best fits your needs.
Advance Medical Directive
An advance medical directive (also known as a health care power of attorney) is a legal document that explains how medical decisions should be made if you cannot make them for yourself. You can make advanced decisions regarding your end-of-life care to avoid confusion among your family members and health care professionals.
Typically, these documents include instructions on the use of artificial nutrition and hydration, reliance on breathing machines, resuscitation orders, and organ/tissue donation.
While anyone can create an estate plan, at The Hunnicutt Law Group, our estate planning attorney in Dallas ensures our estate plans are actually effective. We follow through to ensure trusts are funded, beneficiaries are designated, and documents are appropriately filed.
Choose an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Dallas, TX
To ensure your health, finances, family, and assets are taken care of, you need the skills of an estate attorney in Dallas. Regardless of the level of estate planning you need, we give each client the same amount of care and attention to detail. Our attorneys are responsive and communicative and will make sure to answer all of your questions.
Contact The Hunnicutt Law Group today to begin your estate planning in Dallas.