Fort Worth Estate Planning Attorney
Offering Practical Tools to Protect Yourself and Future Generations
The term “estate” might suggest mansions and yachts, but estates come in all sizes. You don’t have to be wealthy to benefit from estate planning tools.
Your estate includes everything you own such as checking accounts, retirement accounts, homes, vehicles, and personal possessions. A comprehensive estate plan does more than just designate who inherits your property after you’re gone. You can safeguard your assets and help your heirs avoid probate. You also can appoint trusted individuals to manage your affairs and make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
The Law Office of Mark M. Childress can guide you on which tools will meet your goals, no matter the size of your estate.
About Our Estate Planning Services in Fort Worth
At a minimum, we advise our clients to have a will. Without a legal will or other estate plan tool, your property is distributed through intestate succession. That means estranged siblings could inherit your valuables, but your stepchildren won’t. If you have minor children, protect them from potential foster care. Your will can name a guardian for them should you (and the other parent) unexpectedly pass away.
Wills are only the beginning of what can be implemented that protects your wealth and helps those you leave behind.
Other powerful estate planning tools in Fort Worth include the following:
- Trusts: A trust is also highly recommended for more comprehensive protections than a will alone can provide. A living trust is one way to pass down assets without your heirs having to go through probate. The assets are also generally protected from many creditors. This trust, created while you are alive, names a trusted person you want to oversee the distribution of your estate after your death. This person is charged to carry out the terms you created in the trust. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. As the same suggests, the irrevocable trust cannot be changed after it is created, while changes can be made to the revocable trusts at any time in your life. Both types have their advantages.
- Power of Attorney: Various powers of attorney serve specific purposes. A medical power of attorney gives the named agent the authority to make decisions about your medical treatment if you become mentally or physically unable to make them for yourself. Having a comprehensive power of attorney can help ensure that your financial and medical affairs are taken care of in the event you are unable to manage them yourself. A general power of attorney has broader authority, including making financial decisions. That person can sell, buy, and pay bills on your behalf. Like the medical power of attorney, this person’s power only goes into effect should you become incapacitated and unable to take care of these legal matters. A limited power of attorney gives the agent the authority to take care of only specific transactions or make decisions for a specific timeframe. Naming someone that you trust to handle your affairs is important. If you have no power of attorney and become incapacitated, a guardian (possibly someone you don’t even know) might be assigned by the court.
Probate and Trust Administration
If you are a trustee (named in a trust) or an executor (named in a will), you have important obligations and time schedules that you must follow. Not doing so could land you in legal hot water.
Our law firm offers trust and probate administration services to ensure all aspects of your role are performed correctly and efficiently.
Administration services include the following:
- File the will in probate court
- Identify trust/will beneficiaries
- Inventory assets
- Protect trust property
- Transfer property titles
- Pay taxes
- Settle debts
Probate trust administration can be complex, especially for those without a background in law and finances. We can complete all the required tasks so you can focus on your family and work.
Gain Peace of Mind with Effective Estate Planning
If you don’t have an estate plan – or need to change an existing plan – we can provide strategic insight on the legal documents that fit your circumstances and meet your short-term and long-range goals.
We can adjust your estate plan as your needs, assets, and relationships evolve. We believe you, not the state or others, should have decision-making powers about your life and your property.
Schedule a no-cost consultation to learn more about estate planning in Fort Worth.
Direct Access To Your Attorney
Our Attorneys personally handle each case themselves. You will have direct access to your attorney to be able to get the answers that you need.
Honesty and transparency are critical in building trust with your attorney. You will always know what is going on with your case every step of the way.
At our firm you're not just a case number, our staff will always know the status of your case and help to make your situation more manageable.
Our team understands that no two cases are the same. Your strategy will be tailored specifically to you and your family's goals.