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The Best Way to Ring in the New Year is With a New Estate Plan, According to Houston, TX, Estate Planning Lawyer Kimberly Hegwood

Industry: Legal Services

Your Legacy Legal Care™, Formerly Hegwood Law Group, Explains the Importance of Starting 2023 With Proper Planning Documents in Place

Houston, TX (PRUnderground) January 5th, 2023

With 2022 in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to celebrate all things new. A new year, a new you, and a new estate plan. Houston estate planning lawyer Kimberly Hegwood with Your Legacy Legal Care™ says the beginning of a new year is the best time to start putting planning practices into place.

“People are already making resolutions, setting goals, and aiming to be productive,” Hegwood said. “It is a natural time to think about the future and put an estate planning strategy into action.”

Only 46% of adults in the United States have a last will and testament in place—the easiest and most affordable estate planning document to secure. That means over half of Americans don’t have the most basic strategy in place to plan for the future and risk the possibility of some costly headaches for their loved ones.

The Risks of Not Having an Estate Plan

When someone passes away without an estate plan in place, most of the time, their estate will go through a court-supervised process called “probate.”

“It’s time-consuming, it’s public, and it can get pricey,” Hegwood warns about probate court. “You don’t want the court deciding how your assets are distributed to your heirs. You want to decide that yourself.”

Many estate planning strategies include asset protection measures that will shield your wealth from not only the probate process but also from creditors and estate taxes. Hegwood warns that without those measures in place, the court will handle asset distribution, leaving less remaining for your loved ones.

In some of the most complex estate matters, if there’s not even a will for the estate, there may be family disputes about what should happen to the assets.

5 Most Important Estate Planning Documents

While every estate plan is different, there are a handful of legal documents that offer the most protection for you and for your estate.

These five documents ensure that your wealth is protected for the future and that your wishes are known and honored when you are unable to express them yourself.

  • Will — A legal document that outlines your wishes for which beneficiaries receive which assets and who will care for minor children.
  • Living Trust — An arrangement that grants a third party the ability to hold assets for your beneficiaries’ benefit.
  • Statutory Durable Power of Attorney — The designation of a trusted individual to make financial decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to do so.
  • Medical Power of Attorney — Designates someone you trust to make medical decisions based on the terms you have outlined.
  • Advance Healthcare Directive — A legal document that outlines your end-of-life wishes for medical care and decision-making regarding your health.

“No one knows what the future could hold,” Hegwood said. “A strategic estate plan offers some financial assurance for your loved ones and some peace of mind for you.”

About Your Legacy Legal Care™

At Your Legacy Legal Care™, formerly Hegwood Law Group, skilled and compassionate attorneys work to create comprehensive estate plans for their clients. Through efficient and effective planning strategies, each estate is addressed with a customized plan that prepares the whole family for whatever the future holds. Your Legacy Legal Care’s main office is located at 950 Gemini St., Suite 6, Houston, TX 77058.

About Your Legacy Legal Care™

Your Legacy Legal Care™ is a Texas law firm that offers comprehensive estate planning services to clients in Houston, Bay City, and surrounding areas. The firm’s experienced estate planning lawyers are knowledgeable in a variety of estate planning practice areas, including wills, trusts, probate, asset protection, Medicaid planning, and guardianship.

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Kimberly Hegwood
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