Trusts

4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

By |2021-02-05T21:22:18+00:00March 10th, 2021|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, POA, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|

A will or trust contest can derail your final wishes, rapidly deplete your estate, and tear your loved ones apart. But with proper planning, you can help your family avoid a potentially disastrous will or trust contest.  If you are concerned about challenges to your estate plan, consider the following: Do not attempt “do it yourself” solutions. If you are concerned about an heir contesting your estate plan, the last thing you want to do is attempt to write or update your will or trust on your own. Only an experienced estate planning attorney can help you put together and [...]

Stress Test Your Estate Plan

By |2021-01-22T12:59:06+00:00January 14th, 2021|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts, Wills|

So you have done the hard work of establishing an estate plan. Good for you! However, you still have serious work to do to ensure that the strategy you have selected will maximize your peace of mind and protect your legacy. Estate plans should be like living, breathing creations that reflect the changes in your life. Your life can and will change due to new births, children getting older, and other shifts in the family; changes to your investment portfolio, career and business; and changes to your health, where you live, and your core values. Likewise, external events, such as [...]

Integrating Community Property Trust Into Your Estate Planning

By |2021-01-22T13:27:38+00:00November 27th, 2020|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|

A well-crafted estate plan is comprised of many individual parts, and careful, trust-based estate planning is the best way to ensure the highest possible quality of life for you and your loved ones. One way couples can make get the most mileage out of their estate plans is through community property trusts. This is a special type of trust that combines a couple’s jointly acquired assets as community property and can save a significant amount of taxes. Why community property trusts are a great idea The essential benefit of a CPT is that the basis of community-owned property is stepped [...]

Revocable Trust  vs. Irrevocable Trust: Which Is Best for You?

By |2021-01-22T13:45:54+00:00November 13th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|

Trusts  allow you to avoid probate, minimize taxes, provide organization, maintain control, and provide for yourself and your heirs. In its most simple terms, a trust is a book of instructions wherein you tell your people what to do, when. While there are many types of trusts, the major distinction between trusts is whether they are revocable or irrevocable. Let’s take a look at both so you’ll have the information you need: Revocable Trusts. Revocable trusts are also known as “living trusts” because they benefit you during your lifetime and you can alter, change, modify, or revoke them if your [...]

Legal Zoom v. Lawyer: The Risks you NEED to know

By |2021-01-22T13:49:52+00:00September 24th, 2020|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|

LegalZoom, Momma-Bear and other do-it-yourself document preparation services advertise that making a Will is as easy. Although, it does not need to be complicated under the guidance of a knowledgeable lawyer, a DIY approach of filling in blanks on standardized forms, is no easy feat. We all heard the saying: “You get what you pay for!” and with legal planning this is most certainly the case. Companies that try sell you a “fast” and “cheap” fix try to make you believe that their product gives you “peace of mind”, yet there is no such thing. On the surface, things will [...]

Just Like You Need a Medical Checkup, Your Estate Plan Needs a Checkup!

By |2021-01-27T08:44:56+00:00September 21st, 2020|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|

Whether or not you currently have estate planning documents, one important item to add to your calendar is getting an estate plan checkup. Don’t Have an Estate Plan?   If you don’t already have an estate plan, then getting one in place should be at the top of your to-do list. Why?  Because without an estate plan, you and your property may end up in a court-supervised guardianship if you become incapacitated, and your property and your loved ones may end up in a time-consuming and expensive probate proceedings after you die. Worse yet, if you don’t take the time to [...]

Is now the time to remodel your old trust?

By |2021-01-27T08:46:22+00:00September 10th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, POA, Trusts, Wills|

There are several reasons why you should update your existing trust or perhaps your entire estate plan. While estate planning documents do not necessarily have a shelf life, they may not fulfill your goals when your circumstances change. Of course, having estate planning documents that are up-to-date is critical, but how do you know when you should make changes? Reasons to Make Changes It is important to note that just because you have a trust in place does not mean you are bound to keep it as is; this is even true if the trust was inherited from someone else. [...]

10 Types of Trusts: A Quick Look

By |2021-01-27T12:29:01+00:00May 1st, 2020|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|

Considering the myriad of trusts available, creating an estate plan that works can seem daunting.  However, that’s what we, as estate planning attorneys, do every day. We know the laws and will design a plan which addresses your specific situation.  Here’s a look at the basics of ten common trusts to provide a general understanding. There will not be a quiz at the end. All you need to do when we meet is share your goals and insight into your family and financial situation, we’ll design a plan that incorporates the best documents for your situation. Bypass Trusts. Commonly referred [...]

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Probate Costs

By |2021-01-27T11:27:28+00:00April 24th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|

The bad news: probated estates are subject to a variety of costs from attorneys, executors, appraisers, accountants, courts, and state law. Depending on the probate's complexity, fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars. The good news: probate costs can be reduced by avoiding probate. It’s really that simple. Here are three simple ways to avoid probate costs by avoiding probate: Name a Beneficiary. The probate process determines who gets what when there is no beneficiary designation. So, naming a beneficiary is the easiest way to avoid probate. Common beneficiary designation assets include: Life insurance Annuities Retirement plans Create [...]

COVID19 and Virtual Estate Planning

By |2021-01-27T11:27:14+00:00April 6th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|

These are difficult and uncertain times. Deal with COVID-19, changes in work situation, homeschooling, and Stay-at-Home orders can be stressful and flat-out scary. With the Nations focus now on the our personal and communal health estate planning might not be of the greatest priority to you. Or if it is, you might have questions on how you are going to get it done without actually going to see and meet with an attorney. Remote Planning your Legal Documents We can help you create your estate plan from the comfort of your home. We will set up phone of Zoom meetings [...]

Virtual Estate Planning in the Age of COVID-19

By |2020-04-07T19:44:39+00:00March 18th, 2020|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, POA, Trusts, Wills|

As the New Normal has set in, and the COVID-19 guidelines are making traditional estate planning services impossible, we are still receiving requests by people to do their estate plan. If you are a fellow Texan looking to plan, we can help you. We have been helping people with their online planning for nearly a decade now, and are ready to serve you. Our flat fee simple estate plan package includes: Last Will and Testament Revocable Living Trust (if you choose to have a Trust Based plan) Declaration of Appointment for Guardian of a Child Durable Power of Attorney Medical [...]

Estate Planning That Expresses Who You Are – 5 Things to Talk About with Your Family

By |2021-01-27T12:01:09+00:00January 14th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, POA, Trusts, Wills|

You intend to pass along your wealth through your estate plan, but what about your wisdom? Ensuring you accomplish both calls for a family meeting to have a conversation about your money, your legacy, and your core principles. Most families lead far-flung and busy lives, meaning the only time they see one another face-to-face is around the dinner table during a handful of major holidays. The estate planning process is a perfect opportunity to bring everyone together outside of those scheduled occasions — even if a child or grandchild has to attend via video chat. happy family having fun [...]

Why Your Estate Planning Project Must Morph into a Process

By |2021-01-27T11:55:15+00:00January 7th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, POA, Trusts, Wills|

Many people put their estate plan on their to-do list as a one-time project: “Create estate plan” or “Meeting with lawyer 10:30 a.m. Thursday for estate plan.” Thinking of your estate plan as a single project or task to complete and move off your list is a common approach – but it’s also an approach that can land you in considerable hot water. Here’s why it’s essential to view your estate plan as a process, rather than a project. Process vs. Project: What’s the Difference? A project that takes several steps to complete – like an estate plan – can [...]

‘Till Death Do Us Part, Too: Estate Planning Tips for Commitment Without Marriage

By |2021-01-27T12:25:56+00:00December 31st, 2019|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts, Wills|

Advice columnist Ann Landers once observed that “love is friendship that has caught fire.” If that’s true, there are thousands of ways for that blaze to unfold. For many Americans, such devotion and passion do not need to be neatly formalized as marriage. Tonight being New Years Eve, I am sure some people will change their "status" from single to engaged, dating, or visa versa. I wanted to stop there for a minute and see how our romantic choices affect our estate planning. It is no secret, our cultural norms are shifting, and quickly. Consider the following: Per the U.S. [...]

Your Vacation Checklist

By |2021-01-27T11:27:21+00:00June 12th, 2019|Categories: BUSINESS PLANNING, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: , , , |

You’ve packed sunblock and a beach novel. You’ve planned your itinerary and bought plane tickets. But have you ensured that your estate plan is up to date? Don’t leave home without making sure your financial health and the future of your loved ones is provided for. It’s even more crucial than getting a pet sitter and locking the front door. Creating an Estate Plan If you don’t have an estate plan yet, don’t panic. Now is a great time to connect with a qualified estate planning attorney who can sit down with you and get you started with an appropriate [...]

Wills, Trusts & Dying Intestate: How They Differ

By |2021-01-27T11:30:12+00:00June 4th, 2019|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts, wwPROBATE|Tags: , |

Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is a good thing. However, many of us don’t take the steps to have an estate plan prepared because we don’t understand the nuances between wills and trusts – and dying without either. Here’s what will generally happen if you die, intestate (without a will or trust), with a will, and with a trust. For this example, we’re assuming you have children, but no spouse: If you should die intestate, your estate will go through probate and all the world will know what you owned, what you owed, and [...]

What is an Inheritor’s Trust?

By |2021-01-27T11:26:58+00:00May 28th, 2019|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: , , , , |

When it comes to estate planning there are several types of tools you can use, depending on your circumstances. One such estate planning tool is the trust. There are numerous types of trusts aimed at fulfilling different estate planning purposes. If you are anticipating an inheritance, there is a special type of trust designed to help protect it: an inheritor’s trust. Purpose of an Inheritor’s Trust An inheritor’s trust is a trust that has been established for the purpose of receiving a beneficiary’s inheritance in a way that is protected legally and financially. In order to fulfill its intended purpose, [...]

Four Reasons Why Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Top 1 Percent

By |2021-01-27T12:11:35+00:00April 23rd, 2019|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts, wwPROBATE|Tags: |

There is a common misconception that estate plans are only for the ultra-rich - the top 1 percent, 10%, 20%, or some other arbitrary determination of “enough” money.  In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. People at all income and wealth levels can benefit from a comprehensive estate plan. Sadly, many have not sat down to put their legal house in order. According to a 2016 Gallup News Poll more than half of all Americans do not have a will, let alone a comprehensive estate plan. These same results were identified by WealthCounsel in its Estate Planning Awareness [...]

5 TRAGIC MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN LEAVING ASSETS TO THEIR PETS

By |2021-01-27T13:48:11+00:00March 6th, 2019|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: |

5 Tragic Mistakes People Make When Leaving Assets to Their Pets A pet trust is an excellent way to make sure your beloved pet will receive proper care after you pass on. The problem, of course, is that you won’t actually be there to see that your wishes are carried out. It’s critical to set up a pet trust correctly to ensure there are no loopholes or unforeseen situations that could make your plans go awry. Here are 5 tragic mistakes people often make when leaving their assets to their pets. 1. Appropriating more than the pet could ever need. [...]

A TRUST FOR FLUFFY OR FIDO? WHY EVERY PET PARENT NEEDS TO CONSIDER A PET TRUST TODAY

By |2021-01-27T13:48:00+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: |

Estate planning is about protecting what’s important to you. Although much of the traditional estate planning conversation focus on surviving spouses, children, grandchildren, many pet parents wonder about what could happen to their “furry children” after their death or if they become incapacitated and unable to care for the pets. Read on if you’ve ever thought, “What will happen to my cat, dog, or other pet if I pass away?” “What if I’m incapacitated and unable to care for them?” Enter the pet trust. This tool is something that can be easily incorporated into a new or existing estate plan [...]

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