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What is Asset Protection and How Do the Laws Apply in Texas?

Planning for the Future

Asset protection is protecting your property from lawsuits, creditors, and predators. Obviously, people want protection from lawsuits, but that is a relatively rare event for most people. What many people don’t realize is that asset protection is also a means to protect the property that you will ultimately give to your children from, for example, a spiteful ex-spouse. Or perhaps you have a child who will burn through money if they have unlimited access to it – we can provide protection for that, too.

Also, most people also do not realize the reach of the state to recover Medicaid benefits paid on your behalf after you die. What some people think is completely protected and will be passed on to their children is not as safe as it may seem. Asset protection can take many forms and is different for every situation depending upon what is at stake. You can see some of the tools we can use at our FAQS on Strategies for Asset Protection.

Who Are The Necessary Parties Involved In An Estate Plan?

When you fill out our Client Questionnaire, you will see there are several people involved in your estate plan. You and your spouse are the primary parties. The person making the will is called the testator. The person making a trust is called a settlor or grantor. The beneficiaries are the parties who inherit from you. A trustee is someone you name who has responsibilities to make decisions or manage property in a trust. A lot of estate plans that we see have only the husband and wife as each other’s representative or executor. We encourage our clients to have at least one back up for each position of responsibility.

Do Most People Make Provisions For Mental Incapacity In An Estate Plan?

Most clients who come to us with an existing will do not have a plan that covers them in case they become incapacitated. Having been on the litigation side of these types of issues, I can tell you that it is extremely costly to the family, both financially and emotionally.

What Work Does The Personal Representative Do To Settle The Estate?

Basically, the personal representative works with the lawyer to notify creditors, pay outstanding bills, challenge any improper bills, and, finally, distribute the estate to the appropriate heirs or beneficiaries.

What Are The Basic Items In An Estate Plan?

A basic estate plan can mean different things for different clients. A will and a power of attorney are probably the most basic parts of a plan. But depending on the particular situation, some type of trust may be necessary to accomplish basic estate planning so that the person qualifies for Medicaid without wiping out his or her entire estate. We have a description of some of the tools we can use on our website on our FAQS on Basic Estate Planning. When our clients attend our workshops, they will learn which types of tools should be included in their basic estate plan.

How Long Does It Typically Take An Estate Plan?

We prefer our clients to attend an estate planning workshop. The goal of these workshops is to educate our clients so that when we meet with them at a vision meeting, they will be able to have an informed discussion with us on what they need in an estate plan. The amount of time from the vision meeting to the execution of the documents is usually 1 to 2 months, depending upon the complexity of the plan.

What Should Someone Look For In An Experienced Estate Planning Attorney?

Mainly, you are looking for someone who will listen to your particular situation. If they tell you that your particular situation doesn’t matter, then they are probably not going to give you a very customized estate plan.

What Makes You Particularly Suited To Handling Estate Planning Issues?

We both have been in practice since the mid-1990s and we have advised families on estate planning for many years. We have a unique perspective because we have also litigated probate and estate issues that have gone wrong (not plans that were drafted by us!) We have seen the heartache and distress that probate litigation causes our clients that could have been avoided if a solid estate plan had been in place. It is our goal to help families resolve ahead of time the kind of disputes that could lead to litigation in the future.

For more information on Asset Protection In Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (512) 288-3200 today.

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