Fort Worth Estate Planning Attorney
Wills + Powers of Attorney + Living Wills + Trusts
Estate planning attorney Bob Leonard makes estate planning simple. As a practicing probate attorney, he sees the pitfalls of poorly drafted estate planning. It is his goal to help each client achieve the results they desire. No one should be without an estate plan; no one should be without a Will in Texas.
Estate Planning Packages
As your estate planning attorney, Bob removes the guesswork. For basic individual estate planning needs, or where neither spouse anticipates a taxable estate, a basic estate planning package will be sufficient to meet most situations. We will draft your will or trust so that your estate passes to your heirs or beneficiaries in a manner consistent with your wishes.
In addition to your Will, Bob drafts and prepares estate planning ancillary documents, including Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, and Designation of Guardian. These additional documents help ensure that the people you trust are the ones who make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. By executing these documents and keeping them current, you may avoid the need for a guardianship later in life.
Finally, many people like to have a Directive to Physicians, commonly known as a Living Will. This document outlines your wishes in the event you are in a terminal or irreversible medical condition. Of course hospital ethics boards or other professionals may be charged with the final decision. Bob likes to say that the Directive gives you “a seat at the table.”
Estate Planning Documents:
- Will: A Will disposes of some or all of your property upon your death according to your wishes. The Will contains instructions as to who will manage the estate and how the property is to be divided.
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney: A Statutory Durable Power of Attorney allows a person to make financial decisions for you if you are not able to do so yourself. In our documents, we do not allow the designated surrogate to make gifts or to change beneficiaries on any accounts or insurance policies.
- Medical Power of Attorney: A Medical Power of Attorney allows a person to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to do so yourself. We advise that you tell your designated person to keep a copy of this document close at hand in the event of an emergency.
- Directive to Physicians: A Directive to Physicians provides instructions as to how you want to be medically treated if you have a terminal or irreversible condition.
Estate Planning Process
First you will complete a series of documents with questions pertaining to your estate planning wishes. Next you will meet with our estate planning experts to review and clarify your questionnaire. At this time you will have the opportunity to discuss your estate planning goals in greater detail and obtain sound advice to help you make your final decisions.
Following the meeting, we will draft your documents. Then you will review the documents and make any changes you would like to make. After that, when your last changes are made, we will schedule a Will Signing Ceremony. Our Will Signing Ceremony is done in strict adherence to Texas Probate Law to ensure that everything is done properly.
If you are homebound or in an assisted living facility, we can arrange to come to you for your estate planning needs. Call the family law office of Bob Leonard today 817-336-8500, we take the guesswork out of estate planning with sound advice and properly written documents.
A Trust is a separate legal entity that holds title to property for the benefit of persons you specify. Many people set up Trusts for their own benefit during their lifetimes, and then specify where the property should go after they pass away. Some people believe the main advantage of using a Trust is that if property is titled in a Trust you may be able to avoid probate.
DO I NEED A TRUST?
In many instances the intentions behind a trust are satisfied through basic trust provisions that can be part of a Will. Sometimes there is a need for a specific purpose trust when leaving property to a minor child or an incapacitated or disabled individual. A trust can an effective tool to manage your property, and then easily transfer management to another person or entity under certain conditions – for example, should you become incapacitated. Trusts are also useful where a person owns real property in more than one state, as they can help you avoid probate in multiple jurisdictions. Many trust needs can be put into your Will. To learn more, call our office.
This is from the IRS as of October 2016:
Most relatively simple estates (cash, publicly traded securities, small amounts of other easily valued assets, and no special deductions or elections, or jointly held property) do not require the filing of an estate tax return. A filing is required for estates with combined gross assets and prior taxable gifts exceeding $1,500,000 in 2004 – 2005; $2,000,000 in 2006 – 2008; $3,500,000 for decedents dying in 2009; and $5,000,000 or more for decedent’s dying in 2010 and 2011 (note: there are special rules for decedents dying in 2010); $5,120,000 in 2012, $5,250,000 in 2013, $5,340,000 in 2014, $5,430,000 in 2015, $5,450,000 in 2016, and $5,490,000 in 2017.