Most people regard taking care of their family’s needs after death as one of their important responsibilities. That is why Attorney Mario Flores offers a full range of estate planning and probate services.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for your family and loved ones. It clearly defines your wishes and removes any uncertainty or doubts about what you want in case of your death or during a prolonged illness.
Estate planning legally documents your wishes to ensure that there are no problems if you are unable to handle your own affairs. This includes creating a will, tax planning, contingencies for disability, and funeral arrangements.
By discussing your specific needs with an estate planning attorney, you can minimize the potential difficulties your family may face while waiting for your will to pass through probate. This will also help prevent any family disputes that often arise during such a stressful and emotional time.
Schedule an appointment with Attorney Mario Flores to discuss your particular needs and prepare an estate plan. Mr. Flores will explain the various legal documents that will ensure your family is prepared to manage your legal affairs when you cannot.
Common Estate Planning Documents
- Statutory Power of Attorney
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Authorization for Disclosure of Health Information (HIPAA authorization)
- Medical Directive
- Appointment of Guardian
- Appointment of Guardian for a Minor
- Disposition of Remains
- Last Will and Testament
- Testamentary Trusts
- Family Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Revocable Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Pet Trusts
- Marital Property Agreements
Statutory Power of Attorney
A Statutory Power of Attorney will allow you to designate an agent of your choice with all of the same financial powers that you have. This gives them the power to take care of your business matters, including selling your stock, home, or other personal property and updating important personal documentation.
This power of attorney usually becomes effective upon incapacitation. Since this person will have full authority to act on your behalf, you should give careful consideration when selecting the agent and any successor(s) to whom you would like to grant power of attorney.
Medical Power of Attorney
Medical Power of Attorney grants the authority for your agent to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. This means that if you are incapacitated, physicians and other medical staff will defer to your agent to make treatment and medication choices for you.
An Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information should also accompany your Medical Power of Attorney. This HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) release will provide access to medical records your agent needs to make informed decisions on your behalf.
Appointment of Guardian
Most people don’t like to think that they might become unable to handle their own personal estate or financial estate. When a person is unable to handle their own affair or is incapacitated, a Guardianship proceeding can be initiated.
An application can be made to the court to appoint an individual to care for a financial estate or personal estate. Making the appointment of a Guardian before the need arises will provide the court with insight on who you want to act on your behalf.
An Appointment of Guardianship not only empowers you, but gives you the peace of mind of knowing that the person you selected will make the choices you would have made.
Appointment of Guardian for a Minor
What will happen to your minor children or wards if you are not available? Do you know that most medical clinics and urgent care centers are not permitted to provide treatment if a child is brought in without a parent or legal guardian?
With an appointment of guardian for a minor or a Child(ren) Power of Attorney, this is not a problem. This document can be made effective for a single day or longer depending on your circumstances and needs. Let Mario Flores help you with estate planning needs and decide what is best for your family.
Disposition of Remains
Death, especially an unexpected death, can be a source of a great deal of stress and anxiety on your family members and loved ones. During this emotional period, several important decisions must be made. Often, however, when family members are grieving, they won’t always agree about what is best.
Documenting your wishes and appointing a representative to handle those matters will ease the minds of your loved ones and make an emotionally difficult time less so for those who are left behind.
Last Will and Testament
Your estate plan should cover much more than just who gets your property when you die. Like most people, you might think that a simple will is all that is needed. This might be true if you do not have any minor heirs or have few assets. However, a Last Will and Testament is more comprehensive.
A Last Will and Testament is used to transfer real estate, make charitable donations, provide for a child or parent through a trust, appoint a guardian for minor children, and so much more. The important thing to remember is that all of the provisions found in your Last Will and Testament will not be immediately effective. Your will must pass through probate before your executor has the authority to act on the terms found in your will.
Testamentary and Other Trusts
A Testamentary Trust is created during the drafting of your Last Will And Testament. They are usually set up to protect your assets from excessive taxation, to provide funding for the care of a minor child or elderly parent, and to ensure that family members have access to long term care.
Some trusts are created to ensure that beneficiaries have access to Social Security and Medicare benefits through a special needs trust. Non-testamentary trusts are usually created to ensure that your family members will have access to estate assets without delay during the probate period. It is even possible to arrange for your family pet’s care through a pet trust.
We Are Here to Help
At the Law Offices of Mario Flores, we realize how confusing estate planning and probate can be. It is often difficult to figure out which of your assets are controlled by probate laws and which are not. You would not want your family to be confused or stressed about financial matters during an already emotionally time.
Everyone has a different situation. That is why we have a personal and confidential consultation with each client to help determine the best way to protect your loved ones, protect your assets, and to ensure that your wishes are met.
Austin estate planning attorney Mario Flores has the experience needed to help you make the right choice for your situation. Let him help you understand how all of these things fit together to create an estate plan that will take care of your assets and your family.
Contact the Law Office of Mario Flores, PLLC, for additional information about your legal options. We can also provide legal assistance with immigration, estate planning and family law matters.