1. What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process of making vital legal arrangements about the management and distribution of your assets in case of incapacity or death, as well as, developing a plan for your personal and heath care needs.

2. What is my estate?
Your estate is all of the property you own or control including: houses, barns, land, automobiles, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, stock options, insurance policies, oil well leases, mutual funds, cash, furniture, jewelry, artwork,  businesses. Generally everything you own or have an interest in is your estate.

3. What documents should my estate plan consist of?
Your basic estate plan should contain at least the following documents:
  1. Will – this allows you to select who will be in charge of property after your death and how they are to distribute it after paying the bills,
  2. Directive to Physicians (also called a living will or advanced directives) is used to make known your end-of-life decisions,
  3. Durable Power of Attorney – this allows you to select an agent who can handle all of your financial affairs if you become incapacitated,
  4. Medical Power of Attorney- this appoints a person to make healthcare decisions for you if you become incapacitated,
  5. Designation of Guardian in Advance of Need- this permits you to select who you want or don’t want to be your guardian should you become incapacitated, and
  6. Other documents that may be required by your situation. For example, if you have minor children you would need an appointment of a guardian for your minor children.
4. What is an executor or administrator?
Executor or administrators(for men) and executrix and administratrix (for women) are the names given to the person who will carry out the wishes as expressed in your will. This person has the duty of collecting and protecting your assets, paying your just bills, paying your taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to your beneficiaries under the will.

5. What is Probate?
The strict definition of probate is the legal process in which a will is proven to be either valid or invalid. The term is more commonly used to include estate administration. Estate administration is the process of collecting and protecting the estate assets, paying estate bills and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.

6. I have heard probate is expensive and complicated is that true?
Probate is Texas is relatively inexpensive in most cases. If you have a properly written will it can be a simple process. Texas offers many different alternatives in the probate process designed to keep cost down and make it simple. Hiring an experienced probate attorney can greatly simplify things and aid you in choosing the proper procedure for your situation. My office can help you with the choices in this situation. Please use the contact button or phone number on this page to set up a free initial meeting with me to discuss your options.