Safeguarding your assets and estate, which you have worked hard in your lifetime, is essential for your own protection and that of your loved ones. Doing so requires a lot of legal work and documents, which need legal expertise and guidance for a fair distribution of the estate among loved ones after the death of the estate’s owner.
Addressing and resolving complex legal issues concerning your estate involves diligent consideration of all the essential legal, financial, and personal factors, which requires an expert estate planning lawyer who will scrutinize and resolve the legal requirements on your behalf as per your advice and direction.
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An Overview of how Legal Issues in Estate Planning are resolved:
- Drawing up a will or trust: The first step towards safeguarding your estate is to create a will or trust that is clearly and precisely created, outlining the distribution of an individual’s assets. If the person passes on without a valid will, the distribution of assets and estates will be decided per the Texas intestate laws. To create a good will or trust that the legal authorities will accept, you need a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer who will also register the will or trust with the appropriate authorities per the law’s requirements. In the case of a family business, the contents of the will should state the successor or a plan for its succession to avoid chaos.
- Process for probation:In the case of a valid and legally bound will, it is required to follow a legal process known as the probate period, during which its validity and authenticity are determined to ensure the correct distribution of the estate as per the wishes of the deceased.
- Appointing a trustee or an executor: In the case of a will, the person designated in the will as the executor is responsible for managing the estate’s affairs, including paying debts and the distribution of assets as directed by the will. If it is a trust, the responsibility to handle and manage the assets as per the trust document lies with the person appointed as the trustee.
- Taxes: Taxes applicable to an estate are significant and concern in estate planning. However, as per the laws in Texas, there are no federal estate taxes applicable on most estates due to the exemption limits set by the state, nor are there any state taxes applicable. But staying up-to-date with the taxation policies is essential, which your estate planning lawyer will be mindful of and apprise you of accordingly.
- Appointing a guardian for minors: If the children of the deceased are minors, the will should specify and appoint a guardian who can be trusted to manage the estate on behalf of the minors. This is critical, as doing so will save the parents much stress and worry concerning their children and their interests.
- Laws for the Elders: As estate distribution occurs during an individual’s senior years, the elder laws often intersect with estate planning. An estate planning lawyer will guide you through creating important documents like powers of attorney and living wills that outline medical treatments in case of the drawee’s hospitalization or terminal illness. Additionally, careful Medicaid planning will protect your estate while covering your expenses as a Medicaid beneficiary for your long-term treatments in the future.
- Contesting the Will: There can be instances when the members of the family can challenge the will in the event of disputes regarding its validity. An experienced lawyer will advise on the procedure in case the dispute ends up in court. Similar disputes can also arise in the case of a trust, with the beneficiaries raising doubts and challenging the administration of the trust or a breach of fiduciary duty by the appointed trustee.
- Notable bequests: If the drawee desires to allocate funds to charities or individuals as special bequests, the estate planning lawyer will carefully draw up the legal documents supporting this, ensuring that the selected person or organizations receive the gifts.
An estate planning lawyer is well-versed in the state and local laws, and an experienced lawyer will help navigate the legal complexities and procedures to ensure the correct administration of the will and its contents.