Now, more than ever, we’re about family. That’s why we’ve expanded our small estate planning practice so you can have the peace of mind you and your family need in uncertain times.
While mortality rates for those infected with the COVID-19 Virus remain low, consider this a wake-up call for your estate plan. If you were to become ill or die without having prepared certain estate planning documents, you’ll place a heavy burden on your family and make it difficult for them to access needed funds.
As Mr. Rogers would say, “if you can mention it, you can manage it.” Sure, talking about death and the disposition of your estate is not easy, but you owe it to your family and yourself to act responsibly. That’s why we’ve created our Small Estate Planning Package to give you and your loved-ones the legal documents you need to carry our your wishes should you become ill or die.
Simple ways to Avoid Probate Court
Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship. On many financial accounts, you can create a Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship to allow a spouse or significant other ownership of an account after your death. The most common use of a joint tenancy is your checking account. If the account is joint, the surviving account owner can continue to make sure bills continue to get paid while your estate is being settled. Ask your bank or financial professional how to make your banking or investment accounts joint accounts.
Life Insurance Policies. Life insurance proceeds do not need to be distributed in probate court. An insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company, so the policy proceeds will be paid to the beneficiaries you have designated. Be sure to review your beneficiary designations to make sure there hasn’t been a change of circumstances, such as a divorce, requiring you to designate other beneficiaries.
Key Documents You’ll Need in Case of Illness or Death
Our Estate Essentials Portfolio provides you with core documents you should have so others know your wishes in the event you become seriously ill or die. We are now able to offer you the Estate Essentials Portfolio for a single legal fee: $399 for an individual portfolio; $599 for a married-couple portfolio.
The following core estate planning documents are included in our Estate Essentials Portfolio. We will help you to properly execute each document and organize your portfolio for safekeeping.
Last Will and Testament. Your Will not only gives you an opportunity to express your wishes for awarding your estate to family, friends and charities, it gives your survivors the most important legal document they will need in dealing with the probate court, your real estate, retirement accounts, bank accounts and other creditors. We include provisions for independent administration of your estate to minimize court involvement when probating your estate.
Directive to Physicians. This document, also known as a Living Will, directs a physician to withhold or continue life sustaining procedures in the event of an incurable or irreversible condition. You will be given the opportunity to include any additional requests regarding medical treatments.
Medical Power of Attorney. This document lets you authorize a designated person to make health care decisions for you under the circumstances and to the extent provided in the document.
Durable Power of Attorney. This document lets you authorize a designated person to manage your financial and personal matters should you become incapacitated and unable to manage such matters. Ordinarily, a physician will certify to your incapacity in writing.
HIPPA Release. This document lets you authorize the release of information that is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Privacy Standards (HIPAA) and the Texas Medical Privacy Act to authorized persons so they may gather critical medical information necessary to your care.
Let’s Plan Together
When you call us at (817) 923-9999 to request our Estate Essentials Portfolio, we will walk you through every step of this important process. We will electronically send you forms to complete so we have the right information. Then we draft the forms and electronically send them to you for review and revisions. Finally, we schedule a time for you to come to our offices to properly sign all core documents before a Notary and witnesses. You’ll leave our office with a neatly organized Estate Essentials Portfolio and the peace of mind you get knowing you’ve done the responsible thing for your family and yourself5
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