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Legacy Planning

Our philosophy on Legacy Planning is that it should go beyond just wills and trusts.  We believe that measures should be in place not only for death, but also for incapacitation and other possible outcomes.

What can go wrong if not prepared:

  • Someone may make inappropriate medical decisions if no health care advance directive is in place.
  • No one to make financial decisions, if there is no (durable) power of attorney (POA).
  • Assets in limbo if no estate-planning measures are taken.
  • Loved ones won’t know what to do or where to turn.

Here are some things to get done: (we can help you with these)

Have a Plan for Incapacity   

Create your own Advance Directive for health care, which is basically the combination of a living will & a medical POA.  Then designate a primary and secondary health care agent to carry out your wishes, and make decisions on your behalf. You can download Advance Directive forms for your state from several websites, or we can help you with that process as part of the services we provide.

Have someone you trust designated as your Power of Attorney for finances.

In general, a durable POA is better than a springing POA.  Also, in the state of Texas, one will need two witnesses OR a notary for a valid Power of Attorney.  As we are still in an ongoing pandemic, it is important to know that many of these forms can be notarized remotely (online).

Another item to prepare would be a “Grab & Go” envelope that has a copy of all the relevant information that loved ones would need in case of a medical emergency.  This may come in handy as you are headed to the hospital, in case you become unable to speak for yourself at some point during your hospital stay.

 While You’re at it . . . Plan for other Family Members

Folks with children that are 18 years old (especially if they are in college) should consider obtaining a HIPPA release (also known as an Authorization to Disclose Protected Health Information), and have their children sign this form.  This will allow the parent or guardian to know the condition of their children should they wind up in a hospital following an accident or some other calamity.

Here are some websites, that you may find helpful:

www.fivewishes.org          Website that helps you with Advance Care Planning

www.nhpco.org for TX    National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization

www.mydirectives.com          Website that helps you with Advance Directives

https://med.stanford.edu/letter/friendsandfamily.html     Website that helps you write a letter to loved ones

Make it easy on your spouse or children

Give them access to important papers and passwords

Help them know what to do first (pets, mail, etc.)    

Provide special instructions and explanations for your decisions



Prepare for the Business of Estate Planning

Determine if your estate will be subject to estate taxes.  There is no State Inheritance or Estate Tax in Texas, so people residing in Texas will not have to worry about that.  However, other states’ inheritance tax may apply to you if someone who resides in leaves you money.  Also, there is a Federal Estate Tax for large estates.

Identify property so you’ll know how to allocate it among beneficiaries.

Think about the people you love and the causes you care about.

Consider contingencies and special circumstances.  Such as:

     What if my spouse dies first?

     Divided equally among kids, or according to need?

     What about grandchildren, or other friends or relatives?

     Do you have a child that you don’t feel is ready to handle an inheritance?

     Do you need to provide for a special-needs child?

Prepare your beneficiaries for their inheritance – this is the time to talk to your spouse and kids.

Work with advisors to put your wishes in writing. 

Some estates are simple, some are complicated – it’s best to work with an Estate Planning attorney.

Attorneys can make you aware of possibilities and contingencies you didn’t know about

 

Monitor and update your plan . . . things change, and so will your plan.

  • People get married and divorced, die and are born
  • You might change your mind about something
  • Having the wrong people inherit your money may be worse than no estate plan

 

Working together, we can develop a plan.  We can help you establish goals and a timetable for implementing them.

Legacy planning is not hard . . . You just have to get started.  Here are a couple of calculators (also found elsewhere on this website—along with other helpful calculators):

What Is My Life Expectancy?

What Is My Current Net Worth?


To let us help you plan for the needs of your loved ones, you can schedule an appointment with me using my personal calendar by clicking on this link

Your Costs

Our rates for Legacy Planning are $180/hr, and are capped at 5 hours ($900).  Legacy Planning planning, like all of our services, are customized.  Some individuals have simple and straightforward situations.  Others have complex circumstances that will take more time to develop a plan.  That is why we charge hourly rates.  However, we also have caps, so that the maximum charges are not open-ended.