Many people -- maybe most people -- think an "estate plan" is only for the wealthy.  Not so!

A simple estate plan consists of a Will (or a Trust, if you have a reason for one), a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, a Health-Care Power of Attorney, and a Directive to Physicians ("Living Will").
 
If you have any property that you want to leave to your family, you need a Will. A Will greatly simplifies the process of making sure your family gets your property after your death.  Many banks will not release the bank account to your survivors with only a death certificate -- they want to see "Letters Testamentary" that prove you are the proper person to have the account.  And that means probating a Will.
 
If you are alive and well, you need powers of attorney and an Advance Directive to make sure that (a) your family can manage your property (such as writing checks to pay your bills) if you are unable to do so; and (b) your family and health-care providers know how to care for you if you become unable to express your wishes.
 
Healthy people don't like to think about these things. But don't wait until you become disabled, leaving your family to guess what you want, or, worse, leaving the State of Texas with the power to make decisions about your health care.  I got a call today from someone who wants to create an estate plan for himself because his parents, who did not have an estate plan, are now unable to care for themselves and there is no one in the family with the authority to make decisions.  This person does not want to put his family through what he is now going through with his parents.


Don't leave your family guessing! Talk these things over with your family, and then give me a call.  940-765-4992
 

    Author

    Sharon K. Lowry, Attorney at Law with experience in probating Wills and in navigating the process of administrering estates where there is no Will.

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