What Documents Do I Need When Estate planning?

A survey cited by the AARP found that a disconcerting 60% of U.S. adults lack basic estate planning documents. You are never too young to start the estate planning process. This raises an important question: What documents do I need to set up my estate plan? While everyone’s estate planning needs are different, there are some core documents that should be included as part of a comprehensive estate plan. Here, our Pearland estate planning attorney provides an overview of the key documents that should be part of your estate plan.

A Will (Must Have)

A will is a crucial estate planning document. Your last will and testament is a central part of a comprehensive estate plan. Even if you currently lack substantial assets, it is still important to write a will. You can use a will to name the executor of your estate, clarify your last wishes, and distribute property/assets to your chosen heirs.

Trusts (Should be Considered)

For a few people, a trust is a more efficient way to pass down property. It would be a mistake to assume that trusts are only useful for the very wealthy. While most people do not need to set up a trust, doing so can be an effective way to achieve estate planning goals for some people and families.

Durable Power of Attorney (Must Have)

Estate planning is also about incapacity planning. What will happen if you are unable to manage your own affairs? By setting up a durable power of attorney (or spring power of attorney), you can grant a trusted loved one the authority to act on your behalf.

Healthcare Power of Attorney (Must Have)

In Texas, you can also set up a healthcare power of attorney. This authority could be held by the same person who has your durable power of attorney, or it could be held by another trusted loved one. Healthcare power of attorney allows someone to make medical decisions for you when you cannot make them on your own. If you have specific wishes regarding end-of-life care, you should set up a living will, also called a Directive to Physicians.

Up-to-Date Beneficiary Designations (Must Have)

An underappreciated aspect of estate planning is ensuring that you have the proper, up-to-date beneficiary designations in place. Certain assets—such as those held within a tax-advantaged retirement account—can be passed outside of probate with proper beneficiary designations.

Guardian Designations (if Applicable)

Do you have kids who are dependents? If so, it is essential that you have the proper guardian designations set up as part of your estate plan. You will want to make sure that your estate plan protects your kids no matter what tomorrow might bring.

The first action John Powell III, P.C. will do for you in the Will (and other documents) drafting process is to send you the Will and Testamentary Documents Questionnaire John Powell, III has developed for use in his estate planning practice. What it does for you & the attorney is to help the lawyer convert your desires as to what you want to have happen into the legal documents which give effect to those desires.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Pearland Estate Planning Attorney Today

At John Powell III, P.C., our Texas estate planning attorney provides comprehensive, reliable legal services focused on helping people and families obtain a true sense of peace and security through careful planning. Contact us today to arrange a fully private case review. From our Pearland office, we provide estate planning services in Brazoria, Galveston, Fort Bend, and Harris counties.