Wills & Trusts

Wills & Trusts

Will Trust

Whether your estate is complex and large, or modest and straightforward, we can design the right plan for you and your family.  When you work with us, we not only create a plan for your family’s security,  but we also ensure that your needs are fully met in the event of incapacity. We will evaluate your situation, discuss your needs, evaluate your goals and prepare all of the necessary documents to make sure your plan is implemented correctly.

Get a Custom Plan Tailored to Your Needs

There are two types of estate plans.  You can either use the generic plan in created for you by state statute, or you can have a custom estate plan created by the Heights Law Group that thoughtfully implements your goals and your desires.  If you want your loved ones protected when you can’t be there to do so, then you should call us at 713-931-1111 to discuss your personal estate plan.

An estate plan is important because it can (1) protects your family from overpaying taxes, (2) protect your heirs from themselves and from creditors, and (3) protect young children in the event of a tragedy.

Some of the documents that we use to create your custom estate plan include:

  • Wills
  • Revocable trusts
  • Spousal lifetime trusts
  • Family bypass trusts
  • Durable statutory powers of attorney
  • Medical power of attorney
  • Advanced Healthcare Directives to physicians
  • Declarations of guardians in event of later need
  • Declarations of guardians for children

Your Last Will & Testament

Your last will and testament is just one part of a comprehensive estate plan. If a person dies without a Will they are said to have died “intestate” and state laws will determine how and to whom the person’s assets will be distributed.  A will allows a person to specify how they would like their assets to be distributed, and protects those assets from unnecessary taxes or claims.

Some things you should know about wills:

  • A will has no legal authority until after death. So, a will does not help manage a person’s affairs when they are incapacitated, whether by illness or injury.
  • A will does not help an estate avoid probate. A will is the legal document submitted to the court for probate, so it can create an efficient probate process.
  • A will is a good place to nominate the guardians (or back-up parents) of your minor children in the event of a tragedy.  All parents of minor children should document their choice of guardians.  If you leave this to chance, you could be setting up a family battle, and your children could end up with guardians you would not have chosen.

Trusts: Revocable Living Trusts, Testamentary Trusts, Special Needs Trusts.

There are many types of trusts, and they can be simple or complex.  Trusts  serve a variety of legal, personal, investment or tax planning purposes. At the most basic level, a trust is a legal entity with at least three parties involved: the person who creates the trust (a trust-maker), the trustee (trust manager), and the beneficiary of the trust. Frequently, all three parties are represented by one person or a married couple. In the case of a revocable living trust, for example, a person may create a trust (the trust-maker) and name themselves the current trustees (trust managers) who manage the trust assets for their own benefit (trust beneficiary).

Trusts possess several advantages, including the potential to avoid probate court.  In most cases, assets owned in a revocable living trust will pass to the trust beneficiaries (or heirs) immediately upon the death of the trust-maker(s) with no probate required. Certain trusts also may result in tax advantages both for the person who created the trust, and the beneficiary. Or, a trust may may be used to protect property from creditors. If well drafted, another advantage of trusts is their continuing effectiveness even if the trust-maker dies or becomes incapacitated.

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document giving another person (the attorney-in-fact) the legal right (powers) to do certain things for you. What those powers are depends on the terms of the document. A power of attorney may be very broad or very limited and specific.

The powers granted by a plain “power of attorney” will terminate upon the death of the person who signed (made) the document.  In most instances, these powers may also terminate when the maker becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to make or communicate decisions.

If you would like to designate a back-up decision-maker in the event of incapacity, such as due to age or disease, then a document called a Durable Power of Attorney should be used.

Durable Powers of Attorney should be frequently updated because banks and other financial institutions may hesitate to honor a power of attorney that is more than one year old.

Health Care Documents (or Advance Directives)

An advance directive is a document that specifies the type of medical and personal care you would want should you lose the ability to make and communicate your own decisions. Anyone over the age of 18 may execute an advance directiveYour advance directive can specify who will make and communicate decisions for you, and it can set out the circumstances under which you would not like your life to be prolonged if, for example, you were in a coma with no reasonable chance of recovery.

A document that goes hand-in-hand with your advance directive is an authorization to your medical providers to allow specified individuals to access your medical information. Without this authorization, your doctor may refuse to communicate with your hand-picked decision maker.

Call Us Today!

We can help you provide for yourself and for your loved ones / family through any period of your life.  We can help you leave what you want, to whom you want, in the way you want.  Our customized plans address any tax concerns that you may have and work to avoid unnecessary court costs and administrative burdens.  We can also help you protect your minor children, care for your family members, and support the charitable causes that you value the most.

Call us today at 713-931-1111 for a customized will or trust, tailored to your needs.

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