Estate Planning

Gary works with business owners and other individuals to help them with their estate planning needs, including the preparation of wills and trusts (including gun trusts).

Estate planning is the process of making critical decisions now about how your assets will be distributed when you die or how your finance and health care decisions will be handled should you become incapacitated.

Estate Planning Decisions & Documents

Your estate planning decisions should include designations for who will distribute your assets once you die, instructions on how your assets should be distributed, and your wishes about who should serve as guardians of your minor children. Equally important is determining who should make decisions for you if you become incapacitated (permanently or temporarily) and unable to make your own legal, financial, and health care decisions. In addition, you will need to provide the person(s) making these decisions for you with precise instructions regarding your wishes.

It is unfortunate the extent of family disputes, litigation, and unnecessary costs that arise because of the lack of simple estate planning. The time and costs incurred to make these decisions and have the required documents prepared by an attorney are minuscule when compared to the costs incurred by the person’s estate and other family members through litigation.

At a minimum, your estate planning documents should include a will and powers of attorney to allow others to make financial and health care decisions for you should you become incapacitated. Many estate plans will also include a trust, which may avoid the costs and delays of probate, provides greater privacy, and achieve other tax-saving objectives. The various documents used to accomplish an estate plan vary by state and are listed below for Texas and California:

Planning Objective

Texas

California

Overall instructions for
distributing assets and who
will be responsible for this
distribution. May also
include guardianship
preferences for minor
children and authority to
dispose of remains

Will


Will


Legal entity owning assets
transferred into it. (In
addition to the revocable
living trust, several other
types of trusts may be used
for differing objectives.)

Revocable Living Trust


Revocable Living Trust

Legal entity owning firearms
transferred into it (primarily
for, but not limited to, NFA
firearms).

Firearms Trust


Firearms Trust

Authorization to make legal
and financial decisions on
incapacitation

(Statutory) Power of Attorney


Durable Power of Attorney
for Financial Management

Authorization to make
healthcare and personal care
decisions on incapacitation

Statutory Medical Power of
Attorney


Power of Attorney for Health
Care (or Advance Health
Care Directive with or
without an appointed agent)

Directions to medical
providers regarding the use of
medical technology to
prolong life (sometimes
referred to by the confusing
term “Living Will”)

Directives to Physicians and
Family


Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment

Instructions not to perform
emergency procedures to
restart heart or breathing

(Out-of-Hospital) Do Not
Resuscitate Order


Request Regarding
Resuscitative Measures
(provisions included in the
Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)

Authorization to release
health care information

Health Insurance Portability
and Accountability Act
(HIPAA) Release


Health Insurance Portability
and Accountability Act
(HIPAA) Release

Specify preferences of a
guardian/conservator should
the court need to appoint one

Declaration of Guardian


Nomination of Conservator
(may be included in Durable
Power of Attorney for
Financial Management or the
Advance Health Care
Directive)

Specify preference for
guardian of minor children
(provisions generally
included in will, but separate
document may be useful in
case of incapacitation rather
than death)

Declaration of Appointment
of Guardian for Children


Nomination of Guardian