There are a number of steps Texas residents can take to ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes after they pass away. However, it is also important to take steps to ensure one's legacy is protected while they are alive but unable to make important financial decisions on their own, such as when their cognitive function declines due to a medical illness like Alzheimer's or due to a sudden accident.
Posts tagged "Trustees"
These days, one's digital presence and digital assets are just as, if not more important, than one's real property and presence. People pay their bills, manage and access their accounts, and even buy cryptocurrency, making their digital assets and information an integral part of their portfolio. When one dies though, digital assets are not treated the same way real property is treated and it is important to keep that in mind as one is drafting their estate plan. Locking heirs and beneficiaries out of inheriting digital assets and executors and fiduciaries without access to them can be detrimental to one's estate plan.
Many estate arrangements involve the relationship of a trustee and a beneficiary and the creation of a fiduciary duty. The individual who has been named as the estate trustee is likely to be the fiduciary and the beneficiary is the principal. Before going down this road, it is important for all Houston residents to understand the legal obligation they are creating and the responsibilities created by it.
It's important to remember that a will is merely one tool available to people looking to put together an estate plan. Depending on one's specific situation, there may be other tools that should also be used to create a good plan. These other tools could include trusts and powers of attorney.
Many people do not realize that there are several different types of Power of Attorney. Each serves a specific purpose and has its own set of rules as to when it will come into effect, as well as when it will cease. Below, we discuss the four most common types.
Residents who are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and their estates will want to know all the different tools that can be used under estate planning laws. One is a durable power of attorney. With a durable power of attorney, there will be another person (an agent) who is granted the power to make decisions on behalf of the person (the principal), when the principal is unable to do so. This can involve health care and end of life care, among others.
While previous posts on this blog have mentioned that Houston, Texas, residents have the option of hiring a bank or other institution to act as a professional fiduciary, executor, or trustee, in most cases, Texans are going to rely on a close family member or friend who is like family to manage their property.
Many of the relationships that this Houston, Texas legal blog mentions frequently are what the law calls "fiduciary relationships." To elaborate, guardians, executors of estates, attorneys in fact and trustees all have a fiduciary status, meaning that they have special legal obligations to another person or group even outside of a contract or other law.
"Undue influence," is a legal term that many Texas residents might not be familiar with. It can come up in contract situations, but for the most part our readers will likely hear this term in regards to estate planning. Trustees, executors and fiduciaries, along with heirs and beneficiaries, need to be familiar with the term.
Residents of the Houston area likely know that having an estate plan is important, but they may avoid this process for a variety of reasons. For most, it is probably that they just don't understand many of the terms involved, which can admittedly be quite legal-sounding, like "trustees," "executors" and "fiduciaries." It is important to know what these terms refer to and what power these roles hold in an estate plan.