Why you need to hire an estate planning attorney
Regardless of a number of assets you have, making sure you have a plan in place for how those assets should be handled when you pass away is more important than you may realize. With the help of an experienced estate planning attorney such as John Hixson, you can walk through the steps associated with estate planning to create a smart and strategic plan for you and your heirs.
Whether you realize it or not, you already have an estate. It is comprised of everything that you own, including your home, car, valuables, personal possessions, and monetary assets. If you don't decide how you want these assets managed, then when you pass away, the state of Texas will decide on your behalf how to distribute those assets for you. Unfortunately, that may or may not be in accordance with your wishes.
With an estate plan in place, your heirs will end of paying the least amount of taxes, legal fees and other related costs. That means they'll be able to keep as much of the estate that you intended for them to have in the first place as possible.
Estate plans are also important to have in place because they may include components that will become effective if you become incapacitated and can't make decisions for yourself. Having a Durable Power of Attorney or a Medical Power of Attorney in place gives you a much higher level of protection.
With the help of an attorney, the best estate planning tool to set up is a revocable living trust. It will help family members avoid probate altogether and eliminate interference and decisions by the courts into your personal affairs. The good news is that these documents are fairly easy to change and are valid no matter what state you live in.
Estate planning is part of a broader elder law umbrella
Elder law is a specialty practice that includes several different fields. As you get older, your needs and your decisions may change, so it is best to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in elder law so that you will get the best possible and most experienced advice.
In addition to estate planning, probate and overall financial management legal issues, an elder law attorney can assist you with:
- Medicaid/Medicare claims and appeals
- Social security and disability claims and appeals
- Supplemental and long-term health insurance decisions
- Elder abuse and fraud issues
- Housing and discrimination issues
- Retirement and pension issues and disputes
- Health laws and mental health laws
If you're an older American and concerned with a variety of legal and quality of life issues going forward, your best bet is to hire an attorney who specializes in elder law to assist you and provide you with peace of mind.
The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.