In 2012, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reported the results from a survey that found 41% of individuals born between 1946 and 1964 did not have a will, and this figure increased to 71% for individuals under the age of 34. The article cited procrastination and the belief that a will was not necessary, respectively, as the predominant reasons as to why these individuals failed to adequately plan for the future.
These figures attest to the belief that many individuals prefer not to contemplate their own deaths. But, failing to prepare for the inevitable may lead to unintended consequences for your family. If you die without a will, then you are considered to have died intestate. At that point, Texas intestacy laws, and not your individual wishes, dictate how your estate will be distributed upon your death. Furthermore, intestate succession still requires a legal proceeding in probate court, which can result in significant legal fees and court costs.
You may be wondering if you even need a will. The answer is a resounding “Yes!”. Regardless of how much, or how little, money you have, taking the time to plan for the future, though overwhelming to some, is a necessity because it ensures that your property will be distributed according to your wishes. Additionally, your thoughtful planning could alleviate some of the stress, anxiety, disagreements, and financial hardships that your family may experience during an already difficult time. The attorneys at AZ Law Firm encourage you to contact our law firm at (512)-400-7070 so that we may help you and your family plan for the future.
AZ Law Firm is based in Kyle, Texas, which is conveniently located between Austin and San Marcos. Our attorneys are dedicated to serving the local and nearby Central Texas communities that are located in Hays County, Travis County, Caldwell County, Guadalupe County, Comal County, and Blanco County, including Kyle, San Marcos, Buda, Dripping Springs, Wimberley, Austin, New Braunfels, Lockhart, Seguin, Spring Branch, and Blanco. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
In addition to drafting a valid Texas will that secures your assets and legacy, AZ Law Firm offers other legal solutions that seek to protect you and your family at a time when you need it most. Our attorneys can draft a variety of legal documents based upon your individual goals and desires. Some of the services we offer include the following:
A medical power of attorney designates an individual (the “agent”) to make decisions regarding medical treatment on your behalf in the event that you (the “principal”) become incapacitated or, for some other reason, are unable to make those decisions. Some of the decisions an agent can make on your behalf include the power to grant or withhold consent to medical treatment; the ability to employ or discharge physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel; and the freedom to arrange for care in a hospital or nursing home.
An advance directive is more commonly referred to as a living will. This legal document allows you to communicate your preferences regarding medical treatment in the event that you become incapacitated. Specifically, you can make known your wish to allow or prohibit the use of life-prolonging treatments when your condition has become terminal or irreversible. This is a very important document to have because it ensures that your wishes will be followed, while relieving your family of the burden of making a difficult decision.
A power of attorney grants another individual (the “attorney-in-fact”) the authority to make personal and financial decisions on your (the “principal”) behalf. The power of attorney becomes effective upon execution but its authority generally ends once you become incapacitated. In contrast, you can elect a durable power of attorney which differs in that it will not terminate upon disability or incapacity. Either legal document can encompass all aspects of your personal and financial affairs or, in the alternative, you can choose to limit the powers of the attorney-in-fact to specific situations and activities.
The creation of a trust establishes a fiduciary relationship between a trustee and your designated beneficiaries. The trustee has a fiduciary duty to manage, invest, safeguard, and administer the income and assets of the trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries. Individuals generally establish a trust to provide for the financial welfare of children, incapacitated persons, or those that are inexperienced in handling money. There are several types of trusts, including a living trust and a testamentary trust. A living trust is created during your lifetime and generally involves another individual assisting you in (1) managing your assets while you are still alive and (2) distributing your assets to designated beneficiaries upon your death. In contrast, a testamentary trust does not come into existence until you die. At the time of your death, your trustee takes title to the trust property for the benefit of your designated beneficiaries.
The attorneys at AZ Law Firm understand that many clients prefer not to delve into discussions requiring them to plan for their own deaths. Nevertheless, we urge you to strongly consider the benefits, security, and peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have adequately planned for your family’s future.
The attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, one of our attorneys will assist you in identifying and evaluating your assets, we will make personalized recommendations based upon your goals and desires, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm also offers affordable rates for all of its clients. Our firm accepts cash, checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of our legal fees.