Attorney Philip Hundl has created some estate planning education videos to answer common client questions. Please call 800-929-1725 and ask for Ms. Jessica Broll for the password you’ll need to access these videos. Please click this link for the estate planning video library.
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Estate planning is a topic that most people put off. It’s not pleasant to talk about what happens to your family if you pass away. It’s not easy to discuss how your estate should be divided between your children.
However, you should realize that Texas law provides an estate plan for your family already. It’s called the law of intestate succession, and odds are it’s not what you want to do. So the choice is really between leaving the disposition of your estate to the State of Texas or distributing your estate according to your wishes.
We can help you implement your wishes and priorities in your estate plan. Estate planning provides financial security and stability for you and your family should you become incapacitated or pass away unexpectedly.
At Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick, our attorneys work closely with clients in creating estate plans that help you avoid certain kinds of taxes, protect your business, and provide for the financial security of your family. Sometimes consulting tax experts and financial planners, we work with you to create a will, trust, or gift giving plan that can assist you in transferring and protecting more of your assets and avoid future legal complications during probate.
Effective planning for tomorrow begins today. We have the resources and experience needed to help you and your family create an estate plan custom-fitted to your needs and wishes — not the one-size-fits-all estate plan provided by the State of Texas. Please call us at 800-929-1725 to schedule an appointment.
We often get questions about the basic documents that most people need to consider for an estate plan in Texas. Attorney Philip Hundl describes those documents in this video.
Here’s a summary of the video.
What Four Documents Should the Typical Texas Estate Plan Have
– Hi. I’m Philip Hundl. I’m an attorney here with Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick in Wharton, Texas. I’d like to talk to you briefly about general estate planning. I oftentimes have friends and family come up to me, and ask me, “Philip, what’s the most important estate planning document? That’s the document I want.” And unfortunately, it’s hard to give them one particular answer because there are important estate planning documents for different situations and circumstances.
I normally will advise a client that there are typically four estate planning documents that are most relevant here in Texas, and those would be principally the will, a medical power of attorney, a financial power of attorney, and a HIPAA release form, which is a release form for your medical records. Also on occasion I recommend to clients to have a directive to physicians and family.
What Does the Will Accomplish in Your Estate Plan?
I believe everyone’s heard about the term or heard of the term “will.” Your will identifies the beneficiaries of your estate, your children, your family, and your surviving spouse. Then it determines or decides who will receive what portion of your estate. In other words who will be your beneficiaries of your estate.
Also, in your will you decide who will be the manager or executor of your estate. In other words, you appoint your executor and successor executors.
With the will, a person has ability to determine or decide who they would like to be the guardians of their children if they have minor children at the time of their death. Also an individual can decide who they would not like to be the guardian of their children. So there are lots of different choices or desires that people can make in their will, and those are important. Those can be very important decisions at the time of a person’s death.
There are other provisions that can be in a will depending on the person’s circumstances. The will may create a testamentary trust or contingent trust to provide for minor children or a beneficiary with disabilities. So there can be components in a will that can provide for trust. A trust created in the will is called a testamentary trust.
What Do the Powers of Attorney Accomplish in Your Estate Plan?
Moving on to the powers of attorney, I mentioned there’s essentially two types of powers of attorney in which you designate your agent. One is a financial power of attorney that would allow your agent to take care of certain financial matters for you. In the statutory form power of attorney in Texas, there’s a long laundry list of tasks and duties that the agent can perform for you. The individual can check the certain duties that they would like the agent to perform. If they want the agent to perform all the duties, there’s actually a box at the very bottom that they can check. So that is the financial power of attorney. The financial power of attorney can be made effective immediately or upon the individual’s subsequent disability.
The medical power of attorney is just that. It’s a power of attorney in which you grant your agent the ability to make medical decisions for you if you cannot. So the medical and financial powers of attorney are two different documents.
What’s a HIPAA Release Form and What Does It Accomplish?
Also I mentioned a medical records release form or medical information release form. It’s called a HIPAA release, very important if your loved ones or your agents would like to or need to receive medical records. So if you’re in a hospital and there are important medical records that need to be obtained by the family, this medical release form will allow the family to be able to get those records. I know in this day and age, most transfer of medical records is done by push of a button, but in the event that physically those records need to be picked up then this release form would allow for that.
What’s a Directive to Physicians and Family?
And finally, there is the directive to physicians and family. In this document the individual tells doctors and family what that individual would like to see happen in the event the individual is in a terminal condition or an irreversible condition. There are essentially two selections.
One is to allow the individual to pass away gently and comfortably, but restrain from life-sustaining treatment. The other choice is to maintain life-sustaining treatments for as long as possible.
Get the Peace of Mind that Comes with Having an Estate Plan
So once again, those are the general estate planning documents that I believe everyone should have, and those are documents that can be updated as frequently as the individual would like those documents to be updated so it’s nothing that’s written in stone.
Additional documents that you may hear about are trusts and there are lots of different types of trusts. Here’s more information about trusts.
We will tailor an estate plan to meet your specific needs and goals, whether they include providing for the care of a family member with special needs, keeping your business or home in the family, or minimizing your heirs’ inheritance tax burden.
With our principal office in Wharton, Texas, and branch offices in El Campo, Fulshear, Richmond and Bay City, we represents clients in the Gulf Coast Region, and all along the Gulf Coast and between the San Antonio/Houston Corridor Area and across Texas.
Here are some testimonials and reviews we’ve received from our Estate Planning clients at the Wharton office.