Estate Planning Attorney
The Law Office of Ana M. Pace provides expert guidance in all aspects of estate planning. We navigate the intricacies of wills, trusts, and probate with meticulous care and precision. Our comprehensive services ensure your assets are protected and your loved ones’ future is secure. Trust in our expertise to safeguard your legacy.
We listen to all of your needs and concerns, walk you through the choices we believe are best suited to your needs, and patiently address your follow-up questions. We’re known as the top estate planning attorney in Richardson, Texas because our team is dedicated to helping you meet your estate planning goals and we’re always willing to go the extra mile to make it happen.
A Will is a legal document that specifies who will receive your assets after you die. It names an executor that will be responsible for carrying out these directives either independently or with the supervision of the court. Wills can only control property that’s owned solely by you and cannot address how you or your finances will be managed if you become incapacitated.
Your Will cannot be carried out until it is deemed valid by a Texas probate court and is subject to challenges by any of your natural heirs. Another drawback of Wills is that they are completely public, which means that anybody, in any part of the World, will have access to your private last wishes, leaving your beneficiaries subject to harassment and scams.
Handwritten Wills or Wills taken from online lack a mechanism to distribute funds over time, so money has to be passed as a lump sum, even to people that are inexperienced with or unable to manage money well. These are just some of the reasons why estate planning attorneys in Texas recommend that individuals consult a licensed estate planning attorney rather than draft a Will on their own.
Trusts are a contract that create fiduciary relationship that allow a third party, known as a trustee, to hold and manage assets on behalf of a beneficiary. The most popular type of estate planning trust is a revocable living trust that can bypass the probate process and pass assets privately to beneficiaries. Assets in a living or revocable trust are usually considered taxable to the grantor’s estate, so the tax benefits are limited these trusts are a great way to organize your estate for nontaxable estates.
Irrevocable trusts can greatly reduce the tax burden on an estate and can shield assets from debt collectors, but the downside is that you cannot be your own trustee, and they cannot be revoked or amended. Another popular type of irrevocable trust is what’s called a Special Needs Trust which can provide funds to improve the lifestyle of a person with a disability without causing them to lose their government benefits.
Many assets can pass through beneficiary designations, but this strategy must be carefully structured to avoid conflicts with other elements of your estate plan. For example, bank accounts can be passed either as joint accounts or by designating a beneficiary for the account. Life insurance proceeds typically pass in this fashion as do many types of retirement and brokerage accounts via beneficiary designations. If there is a conflict between a Will and a beneficiary designate, the beneficiary designation supersedes.
Planning for Incapacity and End of Life Wishes
In addition to passing your assets, a comprehensive estate plan can also address how your assets and your medical care is handled during your lifetime. There are two main types of power of attorney a medical power of attorney and a financial power of attorney that granting specific powers to different individuals to take care of you.
Another important document is what’s called either an “advance health directive” or a “living Will” that outlines your wishes for end of life care such as the circumstances under which you would want your family to allow you to die as gently as possible or keep treating you even if your in a terminal condition. A directive to physician is important to alleviate the grief that comes with having to discontinue someone’s treatment.