Is Estate Planning the Same as a Will?

Are you starting to think about the estate planning process? If so, it is normal to be confused and overwhelmed about all of the information that is available. The good news is that estate planning does not have to be a stressful process. Quite the contrary; careful estate planning can grant you and your family security and inner peace — but where do you begin?

If you are new to estate planning, you may be considering drafting a will. This is a good decision. Every adult should have a will. However, a will is not the same thing as estate planning. While they generally go hand-and-hand, a will is merely one aspect of the overall estate planning process. For many people, proper estate planning involves much more than just writing a will.

In this article, our San Antonio estate planning attorney explains the most important things that you need to know about wills and about estate planning in general. We are committed to helping families find peace and stability through estate planning. If you have any specific questions or concerns about your individual situation, please call our law office for free legal guidance.

An Explanation of a Will

A will is a foundational estate planning document. Yet, despite this fact, the AARP reports that nearly 60 percent of U.S. adults currently do not have a valid will. If you are considering creating a will in San Antonio, you may have questions regarding what it actually is and what exactly it does. In the most simple terms, a will is a legal document that is used to convey the final wishes of a decedent (a person who has passed away). It allows a person to clearly explain their final wishes, so that the estate can be handled in a manner of their choosing.

Without a will, your estate will be dealt with by the rigid rules put into place by Texas lawmakers. Notably, a will must meet certain legal standards to be enforced in Texas. Even relatively minor mistakes can cause major problems — potentially even rendering a will invalid. The good news is that reliable professional guidance and support is available. Our San Antonio estate planning lawyers can help you prepare your will, draft it, and make sure that it is properly suited for your objectives and needs.

Estate Planning: Explained

As important as it is, a will is insufficient to meet the estate planning needs of many people in Texas. You will be far better off with a comprehensive estate plan. A well-crafted estate plan is one that is carefully tailored to meet your individual needs and takes care of all relevant issues. Among other things, your estate plan should do the following:

  • Ensure that your beneficiaries receive exactly what you want them to;
  • Distribute assets and property in a clear, efficient manner;  
  • Avoid all unnecessary taxes, fees, and claims from creditors;  
  • Protect your rights and interests in the event that you become incapacitated;
  • Lay out plans for your end-of-life care choices and future healthcare needs;
  • Provide protection to your minor children and any other dependents; and
  • Help to pave the way for a smooth resolution, reducing the possibility of family bickering and other disputes.

In other words, a comprehensive estate plan — which your will should be apart of — must take care of all issues related to your estate. Many people mistakenly believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy or that it is only something for older people. This could not be further from the truth: you are never too young to start thinking about your estate plan. We want every adult to have an effective estate plan in place — so that rights and interests are fully protected, no matter what happens. Remember, your estate plan is never set in stone. Life changes; you can always modify your estate plan to make sure that it is fully updated for your current situation.

Get Help From Our San Antonio Estate Planning Lawyers Today

At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, our team is committed to helping you and your family achieve security and peace through careful estate planning. We offer a full range of estate planning services to clients throughout Bexar County — including drafting wills, creating trusts, preparing advance healthcare directives, and much more. To set up a free, fully private estate planning consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our San Antonio law office at (210) 201-2635.

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