Wills are among the most basic legal and estate planning documents, and among the most important, but they don’t cover everything. There are several types of assets and end-of-life wishes that are best set forth in other legal documents rather than a will. For people considering their estate plans in Texas, retirement accounts and life insurance policies are likely to pass outside of the will. These and other assets may require a more comprehensive estate plan than a simple will alone can provide.
One type of document that can be very important is an advance health care directive, sometimes referred to as a living will. A living will outlines the wishes of the person in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated due to injury or illness. Living wills do not typically cover financial decisions, so the person may also want to execute one or more powers of attorney to appoint someone to handle their finances if they are ever unable to do so.
Trusts are another type of estate planning instrument that can be useful in many different situations. A trust holds assets for the benefit of some named person, called the beneficiary, and is a separate legal entity governed by the documents that created it. Trusts generally avoid probate for the assets they hold as they are in the trust and not part of the estate when the person dies.
People in Texas who are considering their wills or estate plans might want to meet with a lawyer. A lawyer who practices estate planning law may help by examining the facts of the client’s situation and suggesting instruments to ensure the proper transference of their property when they die. A lawyer might create a will along with one or more trusts, powers of attorney or other documents for the client.