In this article, you will discover:
- Necessary healthcare-related planning documents
- Important components of an estate plan
- How often an estate plan should be reviewed
- If you need an estate planning attorney
You absolutely can keep control over your assets if you put them into a trust. The trust that I recommend is fully revocable and amendable. Any assets you place in the trust can be easily transferred out of the trust. For example, you put your home into the trust. If you decide to sell the home, you sell it as you normally would but when you sign the deed for the sale, you are signing as the trustee of the trust instead of in your individual capacity.
What Healthcare Related Planning Documents Are Necessary Under Texas Law?
As for healthcare documents, advance directives are highly recommended. These documents include a Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA), a HIPAA Release and Authorization, and a Directive to Physicians.
The MPOA allows you to appoint an agent to make medical decisions for you when your doctor determines that you are no longer able to participate in your own healthcare decisions.
The HIPAA release and authorization allows you to appoint someone to have access to your protected health information.
The Directive to Physicians allows you to decide in advance whether you want life support in the event you are diagnosed with a terminal illness or an irreversible medical condition.
What Other Important Components Should Be Part Of Every Individual’s Estate Plan In TX?
In addition to the documents already discussed, I recommend a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) and a Declaration of Guardian.
The DPOA allows you to appoint an agent to act on your behalf in all matters of your finances, should you become incapacitated.
The Declaration of Guardian allows you to appoint the person you want to be appointed as your Guardian. Here’s how it works:
If you have a situation arise where an organization does not accept a DPOA or successor trustee and they insist on a Court-ordered guardianship, it will be necessary for your family to hire an attorney to file a guardianship application with the court. When that happens, the judge will appoint an attorney to represent your interests. The attorney appointed for you will hire medical professionals to examine you to determine whether you need a guardian. Once the medical examination has been completed, the application for guardianship goes to a hearing before the judge. Based upon the evidence presented the judge has the authority to appoint a guardian for you. If the judge decides not to appoint a guardian, the case is over.
With a declaration of guardian, you state in advance who you want to serve as your guardian and the judge does not get to make the decision. Instead, the judge follows your declaration and appoints the guardian you have chosen.
How Often Do I Need To Review My Estate Planning Documents In Texas?
I recommend reviewing your estate plan when you have major changes in your life. If you have a marriage, a divorce, a death, a birth, for instance, it’s time to review your estate plan. If there are no major life changing events, I recommend reviewing your estate plan at least annually to make sure it still meets your needs. I often suggest my clients review everything at the end of a year or beginning of a new year. I have also suggested that a review take place twice a year when we do time changes. Those are just good milestones to remind you that you should review your plan. But, it is important that you review your estate plan at regular intervals.
Do I Need A Texas Estate Planning Attorney Or Can I Do It On My Own Or With An Online Service?
I do not suggest online estate planning services or DIY services. Estate planning and Asset Protection Planning is more than simply filling out online DIY forms. I have reviewed quite a few DIY estate plans, and in each case the result was that the client created a plan that did not meet their specific needs. Given the complexity of Asset Protection and Estate Planning laws, I recommend talking to a knowledgeable attorney.
For more information on Retaining Control Of Assets Placed In A Trust, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 254-233-7300 today.