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Creating and Maintaining an Estate Plan Is Important for Everyone

Thinking about one’s own mortality can be uncomfortable, and people often hesitate to draft instructions regarding what should happen to their property after they die. However, the COVID-19 pandemic highlights how important it is to draft enforceable wills, trusts and power of attorney documents in order to safeguard the people they love.

In response to  the coronavirus health scare, individuals and institutions have given increased attention to estate planning needs. Sometimes, this has led to conflict as in the case where the Houston Independent School District created a webinar to help teachers develop their wills. A few of the intended webinar viewers complained that the district’s focus should be on maintaining safe conditions within school buildings rather than making plans in case something goes wrong. However, it shouldn’t take a pandemic or a high-risk job to compel serious thought about:

  • Wills — Without a legal will, your property might not be distributed in accordance with your wishes. By creating a proper document, you can formalize your instructions and name an executor or who will be charged with disposing of your assets following your death.
  • Trusts — Trusts can be powerful tools that allow you to pass along your assets to beneficiaries of your choice without having to involve the probate court. You might also be interested in establishing a trust to support a charitable cause, reduce your tax burden or control how the funds you leave behind should be used. In the trust, you will name a trustee who is responsible for distributing trust assets according to your directives.
  • Power of attorney documents — With a statutory durable power of attorney, you can appoint a trustworthy person to manage your financial affairs should you be incapacitated due to injury or illness. Likewise, by creating a medical power of attorney, you can name a person to take care of healthcare decisions in case you are unable to do so.

It is important to consult with an estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive program based on your own individual situation. Even if you have an estate plan in place, it is also important to consult with an attorney regularly to make sure all of your estate plan documents are enforceable and up to date.

If you need assistance drafting a will or other types of estate planning documents, the skilled attorneys at Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, LLP can help. We have offices in Denton, Flower Mound. Gainesville and Celina. Call us at 940-230-2386 or contact us online.

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