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San Antonio estate planning attorneyNo parent ever wants to think about the possibility of passing away while their children are still children. It can be a terrifying and uncomfortable thought. It is also statistically very unlikely, especially if your children currently have two living parents. However, life is nothing if not unpredictable. No one can predict the future. While you are highly unlikely to need an estate plan that provides for your minor children, it is far better to have one and not need it than to need it and not have it.

As you cannot leave money directly to a minor, even if they are your own child, you will need to use several different estate planning tools to protect them. If you have minor children and you do not already have a strong estate plan designed with them in mind, the time to start building one is today. 

Estate Planning Tips for Parents With Young Children

There are a handful of legal tools parents of minor children can use to protect their children should the worst happen. Documents and strategies that may belong in your estate plan include: 

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San Antonio trust attorneyTrusts are often the smarter way of planning to distribute your future estate property. Wills come with a lot of pitfalls - specifically, that your loved ones will have to go through an often-challenging probate process. Trusts allow your future beneficiaries to skip the time-consuming proceedings and cost associated with probate and may offer a number of other benefits in addition. However, trusts are not understood as well as wills are. There is still a prevailing popular belief that trusts are for the ultra-wealthy, those families whose children and grandchildren will never have to work for a living. This is far from the truth. You may be surprised how much you and your loved ones could benefit from creating a revocable living trust. Our attorneys can answer any other questions you may have about how trusts work or how they could help you. 

How a Revocable Living Trust Works

A common source of confusion is that there are multiple unique types of trusts to choose between. There are irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, revocable living trusts, and even something called a testamentary trust, which can only be created using a will. These are just a few of the forms a trust can take. 

This post will focus on the most common type of trust used today - the revocable living trust. First, you should know that “revocable” has its plain meaning. You can undo a revocable living trust at any point in your life (so long as you still have the mental capacity to sign legal documents) and for any reason. If you feel that your trust is no longer working for you or your loved ones, it is fairly simple to revoke the entire thing. 

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San Antonio estate planning lawyerThere are multiple ways for a person to try to make a will without seeing an attorney. While these methods may seem cheaper and easier in the short-term, they can backfire horrendously in the end. The two main ways that some people go about DIY-ing their estate plans are through online kits, and by making handwritten (“holographic”) wills. Both methods are quite fallible. The risk of using one of these at-home methods is that the document you create will not be legally effective.

In Texas, wills must be created according to certain formalities, and they must comply with a series of strict laws. The effect of even one legal mistake can be that the entire document gets thrown out, and you are left intestate. Our attorneys can help you with a much better, safer way of making an estate plan. 

What is a Holographic Will?

A holographic will is a will that is written entirely in the testator’s own handwriting and signed. While these can be legally acceptable in Texas, there is quite a lot of risk that someone could challenge the will. Most holographic wills are made without neutral witnesses present, and thus, are easily disputed. The only time a person in Texas should attempt to make a holographic will is if they are imminently about to die and truly have no other options. For example, in one famous case, a farmer carved his will into the bumper of the tractor he was pinned under. 

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San Antonio trusts lawyerWhen you decide to create a trust, you will have two main options—revocable  or irrevocable. Revocable trusts are more common. Having the ability to go back and make changes very easily appeals to a lot of people. The term “irrevocable” can scare people off easily. Because most people transfer all or almost all of their property into their trusts, a lot of people are afraid to create a trust they cannot revoke. However, there are a few distinct benefits of using an irrevocable trust. 

The big reason that people who do use irrevocable trusts do is for the unparalleled asset protection features. Of course, an irrevocable trust is not without risks. If you are considering using an irrevocable trust, your attorney can help you decide whether this is the right move. 

Benefits of an Irrevocable Trust

The benefits of using an irrevocable trust include: 

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San Antonio estate planning lawyerThere are alarming many, very common misconceptions about estate planning - what it is and how it works. In this day and age, misinformation is very easy to come by, and sometimes very hard to spot. Many people who approach an attorney to start the estate planning process believe at least one myth about estate planning. What is more concerning is that these myths may be preventing people from beginning the process at all.

You may be surprised by some of these myths and facts about wills, trusts, living wills, and powers of attorney. In some cases, fictional movies or TV shows have perpetuated the misconceptions. Others are simply outdated information. If you are considering beginning to make your estate plans, Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law can help. 

Myths About Estate Planning and the Truth Behind Them

Some of the most common myths about estate planning include: 

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