Top-rated estate planning attorney services in Dallas, Texas
Create an Estate Plan Based on Your Individual And Family's Needs
Holman Law takes a comprehensive approach to estate planning. Our office reviews the information you provide and will meet with you in person, over the phone, or virtually (via video conference). We continue a dialogue with you during the drafting process.
We make sure to listen carefully to your needs and goals, but we also don’t hesitate to ask you follow-up questions, play out hypothetical scenarios and balance the pros and cons of each potential strategy.
Estate Planning Attorney Services
Our estate planning services consider your individual needs for retirement income, tax liability, guardianship of children, premarital agreements, domestic partnership agreements, business planning, real estate, nursing home care, insurance, and funeral costs.
It’s a difficult conversation to have, let us help you discuss everything you need to know with your family, spouse, and loved ones.
Estate Planning Attorney
Reasons For Estate Planning
Most importantly, estate planning allows an individual’s wishes to be carried out after their death. These wishes may include leaving items or assets for loved ones, ensuring a surviving spouse will be taken care of, providing tax benefits to beneficiaries receiving assets, or leaving a legacy to a particular charity, church, or non-profit.
Benefits of Estate Planning
Creating an estate plan helps ensure an individual’s wishes will be carried out as opposed to a court determining how an individual’s estate will be distributed. An estate plan can limit the costs of administration and prevent delays in the distribution of important items and gifts to loved ones. An estate plan can also reduce taxes of the individual while they are alive as well as limit tax liability for beneficiaries.
Tax Considerations in Estate Planning
At any phase of life, financial strategies can help you limit your tax liability and are unique to each individual. However, one of the most common tax benefits contemplated in an estate plan is limiting capital gains on the transfer of appreciable property – usually stocks and real estate.
Other considerations include whether the estate or beneficiary bears the tax liability of transfers, effectively utilizing the annual gift tax exemption, and taking advantage of portability for the lifetime federal estate and gift tax exemption (for high net worth estates).
Qualifying For Benefits, Like Medicaid
While individuals spend a lifetime investing for retirement, their retirement savings can become quickly depleted when one or both spouses require long-term care. Since the costs of this care can exceed six figures, estate plans should contemplate creating a safety net to preserve assets for the benefit of the healthy spouse and other loved ones individual wishes to provide for. This safety net is qualifying for Medicaid, which will pay the full cost of nursing home care.
This planning is recommended early since Medicaid rules to determine eligibility look at transfers made during the last 60 months. Please visit our Medicaid Planning page for more information on how to apply or re-apply and qualify for Medicaid assistance.
Review Your Estate Plan
If you already have an estate plan or need to review your existing estate plan, updates and other considerations may be necessary. A review will alert you to any new changes in the law that can require your documents to be updated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Common questions about the estate planning and administration process
Estate planning allows an individual to direct the distribution of their assets to whomever they like – this usually has the effect of ensuring support of a spouse, child or grandchild. Estate planning can also reduce taxes that are paid by both the estate and any beneficiary who receives from the estate.
If a person dies without a will (known as dying intestate), then their estate is distributed according to the rules in the Texas Estate Code. It is unlikely that the inheritance rules in the Estate Code will be an exact match of how a person wished for their estate to be distributed.
Depending on how complex your estate is, you may want to see about avoiding probate by moving some assets into a trust. This will help avoid probate costs and potential delays in making distributions to your beneficiaries.
Also, you may be able to identify certain family dynamics that may result in issues during the administration of your estate. How you set up your estate plan may help to alleviate these concerns.
While you may have a good estate plan, you may be named as a trustee or administrator of another’s estate, trust, or will. In those roles you have certain responsibilities to complete. You can be held liable if you fail to perform those duties. You may also be the beneficiary of another’s estate, will or trust. As a beneficiary you have certain rights that you may need to exercise if certain circumstances arise.While you may have a good estate plan, you may be named as a trustee or administrator of another’s estate, trust, or will. In those roles you have certain responsibilities to complete. You can be held liable if you fail to perform those duties. You may also be the beneficiary of another’s estate, will or trust. As a beneficiary you have certain rights that you may need to exercise if certain circumstances arise.
It’s a good idea to make a list of all your assets – bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, real estate and life insurance policies. It is also helpful to have a general inventory of your personal belongings – especially if any items have significant cash value or personal value (for example, a china set that has been passed down for multiple generations). Your attorney may have a questionnaire or intake form than can help you get started.
You also should be thinking about any goals – leaving money or property to certain people, charitable donations, etc. All of this information will be helpful for the attorney to provide the client with good estate planning options.
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