Understanding Estate Planning
If you want to ensure that your family is provided for and that your estate is distributed according to your wishes, you need a solid plan in place. At the Law Office of Michella K. Melton, our experienced estate planning lawyers can help you achieve your goals for yourself and your family. With offices in McKinney, we provide clients throughout Collin County with caring and honest legal representation to meet their individual needs.
Following are questions clients commonly ask us:
Do I need a will?
Everyone, regardless of their financial status, can benefit from having a will. A will allows you to assign an executor to carry out your final wishes for the distribution of your property. Without a will, the probate court determines the distribution of an estate. In many cases, probate is an expensive and lengthy process that forces loved ones to wait many months (and sometimes years) for the estate to be settled. With a clear and enforceable will in place, you have taken the first important step toward avoiding complications and minimizing the burden on your loved ones.
What is probate?
Probate is the process used by the courts to administer an individual’s estate. This includes settling debts and distributing the decedent’s property. If a properly drafted will is in place, this process can be simplified. However, without proper estate planning measures, probate is complex and can take months, if not years, to complete. Our estate planning and probate attorneys can help you plan for the process and avoid unnecessary costs and delays.
How is a trust different than a will?
While a will goes into effect only after a person passes away, individuals can begin to distribute personal property and money to beneficiaries before or after death through a trust. A trust does not need to go through the probate process and can remain private, while a will goes through the court and becomes part of the public record. A trust can be an excellent way to avoid probate costs, minimize tax obligations, and ensure that your assets are distributed how and when you so choose.
What are some other estate planning tools I should consider?
In addition to wills and trusts, estate planning may involve the following tools:
- Powers of attorney, which can be created to give a trusted individual the right to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf
- A living will, which provides instructions for medical treatment if an individual becomes unable to communicate their wishes
For many people, estate planning is not on the list of top things to accomplish in a given day, but planning now can be one of the greatest gifts you give your loved ones.
Discuss Your Estate Planning Options With Us
Don’t leave your estate in the hands of the probate court. Talk with an experienced estate planning attorney today. Call our McKinney office at 214-449-1900 or email us. We can help.