One of the most important plans you will ever conceive is your estate plan. Sadly, less than 30% of Americans have an Estate Plan or even a simple will. One thing is for certain, if you do not have a will, the State of Texas will decide how your estate will be distributed. At S. Barrett, P.C., we realize each plan is as distinctive as the individual for which the plan is created. Our goal is to assists you in developing an estate plan that provides guidance in carrying out your wishes for the orderly distribution of your estate upon death. S. Barrett, P.C. can assist in the planning of quality of life issues should you become incapacitated. S. Barrett, P.C. uses a variety of legal tools to make sure you have the Estate Plan that is right for you, including:
- Will: The Will is the basis for an Estate Plan; and depending on your unique situation, can serve as your entire Estate Plan. S. Barrett, P.C. assists our clients in the design of both simple and complex Wills, document drafting, and execution.
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney: A Durable Power of Attorney allows you (principal) to designate a person (agent) to carry out a broad range of financial transactions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated. The types of transactions typically include dealing with your personal property, business operations, banking and investment transactions.
- Medical Power of Attorney: A Medical Power of Attorney allows you (principal) to appoint a person (agent) to make any and all health care decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated. Incapacity must be certified in writing by your physician.
- HIPAA Release and Authorization: This document allows for the release of your health care records to your agent under a Medical Power of Attorney. The agent can receive the immediate release of your health care information and need not wait until the principal’s physician determines incapacity.
- Physician Directives: Also known as a Living Will, this document sets forth your requirements to withhold or withdraw life sustaining procedures in the event of a terminal or irreversible condition.
- Designation of Guardian: A Declaration of Guardian in the event of later incapacity of need of guardian allows you to appoint a guardian of you and/or your estate in the event you become incapacitated and require a guardian. In addition, this document serves as an additional measure to avoid a guardianship dispute among family members.
- Appointment of Guardian for Minor Children: This Appointment allows you to designate the guardian for your minor child or children in the event of your death or incapacity.
- Trusts: Trusts can be created within a Will, known as a testamentary trust, which only comes into existence after probate. Other types of trust are created by a separate document (not the Will) and comes into existence immediately upon its execution and funding.
- Probate: S. Barrett, P.C. can assist you with probating a Will; Independent and Dependent Administrations; Determination of Heirship; Affidavits of Heirship; Small Estate Administrations; and many other matters involved in probate administration.
- Pre Nuptial and Post Nuptial Agreements: Agreements between prospective spouses and actual spouses to contractually determine the disposition of assets upon divorce or death.