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Estate Plan Vs. Will: What’s the Difference?

Updated: May 18


Estate Planning Lawyer in Houston
Understanding an Estate Plan vs. a Will

Do you have a will in place? Maybe your children convinced you to draft a will, and you were able to get through any awkward conversations to produce a will to protect your loved ones. If you have put a will in place, this is great! You have made a responsible and kind decision. However, do you have a full-blown estate plan? No, this is not the same as a will. Think of a will as a small part of a comprehensive estate plan. A good estate planning attorney will tell you that you likely need more than just a will to ensure your financial affairs are in order.


Let’s discuss an estate plan vs. a will.


Essential Components of an Estate Plan


Your cars, bank accounts, stock portfolios, homes, and business are just a few assets that could form part of your estate. Your will may not be enough to adequately provide for all these assets, depending on your specific needs.


Your Legacy Legal Care™ offers the following practice areas to assist with estate plans:


We also practice asset protection through strategies like opening retirement accounts, giving substantial gifts to beneficiary designations while you are still alive, organizing investments, and other financial planning strategies. Our attorneys can also help you establish a financial power of attorney to oversee your wishes.


Your Houston Estate Plan Might Need a Trust


Trusts form a vast portion of estate planning. There are so many Houston trust options at your disposal. From spendthrift trusts to revocable living trusts, there is something to fit your plans for your family. Whichever trust you choose, avoiding probate is a significant benefit of establishing a trust. You may not know that a will’s property transfer is subject to the state’s probate court.


The probate process can be time-consuming and expensive. Interested parties may also contest the will’s validity, thus extending the process. Where probate can be avoided, it is recommended. After being placed in a trust, a piece of property is removed from the owner’s estate. This means that trusts facilitate tax protection and expedite the probate procedure process by reducing the number of assets that will have to go through probate. 


The Texas estate planning lawyers at Your Legacy Legal Care™ are well-versed in the Texas law on trusts under Texas Trust Code § 112.001 and will be happy to discuss your options with you in a strategy session.


Including Medicaid Planning in Your Houston Estate Plan


Making plans for your final days is arguably more important than planning for after your death. A will only comes into effect after your passing, leaving your elder years unaccounted for. As we age, some of us will eventually need to consider moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility. Working with an estate planning and elder law attorney is the smartest choice in preparing for long-term care. 


Medicaid is solely intended to offer medical help to those on a low income or 65 years of age or older, while being the biggest payer of nursing home services in the nation. Even though many older adults have income and assets over the Medicaid qualifying limit, using irrevocable trusts is one way to get these benefits. A Houston estate planning attorney at Your Legacy Legal Care™ will tell you how.


Advance Care Directives 


Advance care directives are practical estate planning tools. These estate planning documents communicate your choices, priorities, and requests for healthcare while you are incapacitated to family members and medical professionals.


When used correctly, an advance care directive like a medical power of attorney may reduce stress for your loved ones and guarantee that you receive the treatment you want. Advance directives aren’t exclusively for more than just senior citizens. All individuals should create these documents since unexpected end-of-life circumstances might occur at any age.


Some examples include:

  1. Directives to physicians

  2. Out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate orders

  3. A medical power of attorney

  4. Declarations for mental health treatment


Your Estate Plan Needs More Than a Will if You Have a Business


You will have to consider long-term objectives and make goals if you want your company to prosper. Have you thought about how your business would run without you?


This is crucial.


Your Legacy Legal Care™ is a business succession-focused law firm with the expertise to craft a Houston business succession plan customized to your requirements and business culture. A will, on its own, simply will not do. A solid corporate succession plan ensures that someone is chosen to temporarily or permanently assume leadership responsibilities. At your complimentary strategy session with a business estate planning attorney, we will talk about how your company will be passed to a new owner should you decide to retire, sell, or both, as well as any plans you wish to put in place if you pass away or are temporarily disabled.


Expand Your Estate Plan With a Houston Estate Planning Attorney


We offer complete estate planning services for clients in the following areas:

  1. Clear Lake

  2. Sugar Land

  3. Katy

  4. Bay City

  5. The Galleria

  6. Pearland

  7. The Woodlands


At Your Legacy Legal Care™, we are committed to giving our clients the best legal counsel possible, together with caring advocacy and straightforward guidance. We strive to ensure that our client’s demands and goals are satisfied efficiently and effectively. If you have more questions about if an estate plan vs. a will is right for you, contact our office at (281) 218-0880 or schedule online to meet with a member of our client services team today!


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