Estate Planning

For many people, the thought of planning for your death or incapacitation is an unpleasant one.  Yet making decisions about what will happen to you, your children and your property in the event that you become incapacitated or die are absolutely necessary to ensure that your wishes are followed.  

The Law Office of Chad West has assisted hundreds of individuals and families build their estate plans, including drafting last will and testaments, advanced directives, and guardianship paperwork.  To show our appreciation for the sacrifices police officers, firefighters, and active duty military personnel make for our country, we offer 50% off our estate planning services.

What Type of Estate Planning Do You Need?

Each family and individual have different estate planning needs.  The ultimate goal is to get their affairs in order, as well as passing on their property and goals to future generations.  Whether you are of modest means or have amassed a large amount of wealth, a good estate plan can help protect your hard-earned assets, minimize taxes, and ensure that your wishes are carried out after you die or become incapacitated. 

An estate plan can:
  • Provide for long-term care
  • Minimize estate taxes
  • Ensure inheritance for your desired recipients
  • Address potential medical concerns
  • Establish a trust to provide long-term care for loved ones with special needs

Our law firm offers a variety of estate planning services:

Medical Power of Attorney or Living Will: 

This document names a person to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so.  In a medical power of attorney, you can specify that you do or do not want life-saving treatment such as intravenous fluids or nutrition, resuscitation, and life-support.  Because a person can become incapacitated suddenly or unexpectedly, having a medical power of attorney on hand helps to ensure that your wishes regarding medical treatment are followed if you are seriously injured and cannot make these decisions or yourself.

Durable Power of Attorney:  

Now more than ever before, Americans are living to an age where they may not be able to handle their own financial matters due to disease or dementia.  Incapacity can also occur to a younger person who has suffered a serious injury or accident, particularly a traumatic brain injury.   A durable power of attorney, which may also be called a financial power of attorney, designates a person to handle the financial and property affairs for an incapacitated person.  In order for a durable power of attorney to be effective, it must be set up before you become incapacitated so that you have a system in place to take care of your financial matters, such as accessing your bank accounts and paying bills.

Declaration of Guardianship in the Event of Later Incompetence or Need of Guardian:  

This document allows you to appoint a guardian for yourself or your estate in the event that you become incompetent or incapacitated.  It is an important way to ensure that your wishes are followed if you are unable to express them later.

Declaration for Mental Health Treatment: 

For people with and without known mental health issues, this document allows you to inform others what sort of mental health treatment you would like in the event that you are unable to make the decision in the future and need treatment. This could include indicating that you do not wish to receive certain treatments, such as electroshock therapy, but are amenable to other forms of treatment, like medication.

Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains: 

This document allows an individual to choose an agent who will make decisions regarding the disposition of his or her body after death (including cremation, burial or scattering of ashes).  

HIPAA Release: 

Under federal law, only authorized individuals are permitted to access your medical records and treatment information.  A HIPAA release allows you to designate your Medical Power of Attorney agent or other individuals as being permitted to access your medical records and information in limited circumstances, such as your incompetence or incapacitation.

Guardianship Declaration for Minor Children: 

If you have minor children, you have probably considered what will happen to them if you die.  This document allows a parent or parents to express their wishes concerning who their child or children should live within the event of their death.

Do you have Estate Planning needs?

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Establishing Your Future

We work with our clients to draft a last will and testament that meets their needs. If you do not have a will when you pass away, then you are said to be “intestate.” Your assets will be passed on to others based on Texas laws regarding intestate succession, which often results in your assets not being distributed how you would want them to be. With a will, you can ensure that your wishes are followed after death. You can also use a will to plan your estate effectively in order to minimize taxes. A will is a legal document, typically drafted by an attorney, that takes effect after you die. An executor is named in your will; that person will then act as the personal representative of your estate. He or she will then “probate” your will, which involves making sure that your property is disposed of properly and that all of your financial matters are wound up. In Texas, probating a will is typically a simple process, as long as you have a valid will. Our attorneys can work with you to make sure that your will is legally valid and achieves your goals.

At the Law Office of Chad West, we also have experience setting up trusts. There are many types of trusts that help you achieve different goals. This may include a revocable trust, which is a more flexible type of trust that helps you maintain privacy and avoid the probate process. This may include a revocable trust can also be useful in avoiding conflict in families where there are complicated dynamics. An irrevocable trust is often used to help minimize taxes and avoid liability. Special needs trusts can be established to help protect family members with special needs. These trusts can provide financial support while ensuring that the family member can still receive government benefits.

Estate Planning Attorneys in Dallas, Texas

For all of your Texas, estate planning and probate needs the Law Office of Chad West is here for you.  We can guide you through the often emotionally-fraught and complicated process and help you make sure that your wishes are followed after you die or become incapacitated. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation on drafting these important legal documents.