El Paso Estate Planning Attorneys
An estate plan incorporates the Will, Trusts, Advanced Health Care Directives and HIPAA Release Form, Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney.
Having a proper estate plan in place is extremely important. Unless you have the proper legal documents in place, the state of Texas has laws in place that will dictate how your estate will be divided. Estate planning ensures that you make important decisions concerning your care in the event of incapacity and the management and distribution of your assets.
A will enables you to dictate how your assets will be distributed. In the event you do not have a will, your estate will be divided pursuant to Texas law. This may or may not be how you want your assets distributed. It is very important to have a Will drafted and update it periodically.
A trust is a planning tool that can be used to achieve a number of estate planning goals. It enables you to give assets to minors for distribution at intervals in the child’s life as you deem fit. The trust is also a tool that can be used in order to aid in tax planning and much more. A trust can be difficult to understand and it is important to obtain a consultation with an attorney to properly explain how it is used and its many benefits.
Advanced Health Care Directives
An advanced health care directive, also known as a living will, is a legal document that allows you to state in advance what you want the hospital to do in the event that there is no chance for you to recover from illness, disability, or injury. For example, would you elect for doctors to continue providing life sustaining machines or to allow you to peacefully pass without the life sustaining machines. You can also elect who is allowed to access your medical information. This document can be uncomfortable to consider and execute because it forces you to consider circumstances which you hope will never come to pass. But in the event they do, it is vitally important that you make these decisions instead of someone else (as dictated by State law) making them for you.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to name an agent who is authorized to act on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. The Durable Power of Attorney covers a number of non-medical related decision making rights. For example, you can elect who can make decisions concerning your bank accounts and real estate transactions, to name a few. The person who you elect to make these decisions in the event you are unable to make them due to incapacity will have as much or as little authority as you dictate in this document.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney allows you to designate one or more persons to make medical decisions on your behalf in case of your incapacity. This document is important and slightly different from the Advanced Health Directive above in that it names a person to make medical decisions in the event of incapacity. For example, if you are in surgery and the doctors are unable to ask you about what to do concerning something they found, the person you elect will make those decisions just during the time you are unable to. By contrast, the Advanced Health Directive deals with your decisions when it is understood that you will not be surviving absent life sustaining machines.