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When Should I Start Estate Planning?

When Should I Start Estate Planning?

Estate planning is critical for protecting your assets in the event of your death. So, when should you start? The answer is now. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, wealthy or living simply. We don’t know what the future holds; there’s no better time than now to protect yourself with an estate plan.

Why You Should Start Estate Planning ASAP

Many believe that estate planning should be reserved for the wealthy or those with many assets such as real estate. The truth is that estate planning is important for all of us for many reasons. For example, estate planning:

  1. Helps you provide for your loved ones: If you have children, an estate plan is a great way to protect them in the event of your death. Without a plan, the court will decide who receives what part of your assets. A plan gives you the power to outline who receives what, when and how. It also enables you to choose who will take care of your children on your behalf.
  2. Reduces costs: Estate plans come with tax benefits that can save your family serious cash, giving them one less thing to worry about as they mourn.
  3. Allows you to outline your healthcare decisions: An estate plan can outline your wishes should you become incapacitated at any time. This includes whether you wish to be resuscitated as well as who you want to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so on your own.

How to Get Started Estate Planning

Ready to get started? First, we highly encourage you to avoid do-it-yourself wills. These cookie-cutter documents don’t provide the adequate protection you need. Instead, we recommend reaching out to an experienced estate planning attorney.

Once you reach out to an attorney, there are a few things you should prep. Start by gathering your real estate deeds, life insurance policy information or any other documents that pertain to your assets.

Next, take some time to consider how you want to distribute your estate. This includes when you want your estate distributed (after your death or at another time) and to whom. Finally, consider who you wish to set as your executors and healthcare agents.

Ready to Start Estate Planning? Call Our Attorneys Today!

If you’re ready to start estate planning, we’re ready to support you. Our Ft. Worth attorneys have years of experience in drafting wills, trusts and more to help protect family assets. To learn more about estate planning, give us a call at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

 

 

Divorce vs. Annulment: What’s the Difference?

Divorce vs. Annulment: What’s the Difference?

In Texas, there are two different ways to end a marriage: annulment and divorce. While annulments and divorces achieve the same goal, there are some differences between them.

What Is the Difference Between an Annulment and a Divorce?

An annulment is a legal procedure that essentially cancels a marriage. After an annulment, there will be no legal evidence that a marriage ever occurred.

 

A divorce is where the court determines a valid marriage did exist, but that it is now dissolved.

Who Qualifies for an Annulment in Texas?

The grounds for annulment and divorce also differ. For example, the grounds for an annulment include:

 

  • Bigamy: This means one party was already married at the time of the marriage.
  • Fraud: If your spouse misrepresents him or herself, for example, they don’t tell you that they’re a convicted felon, this could be a reason for an annulment.
  • Mental incapacity: If you married while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you were unable to make informed consent. This means your marriage could be considered null.
  • Underage marriage:Both parties must be over the age of 18 to marry without parental consent or court approval. Otherwise, the marriage isn’t lawful.

 

Other grounds, including mental illness and an incestuous relationship, are also situations where an annulment is justified.

 

How is divorce different? In Texas, you’re able to file for a divorce without a specific cause. This is called a no-fault divorce. Both parties agree to the divorce based on “irreconcilable differences.”

Should I Get an Annulment or a Divorce?

There aren’t any true legal benefits to obtaining an annulment instead of a divorce. Some couples choose annulments over traditional divorces due to religious reasons. Others choose annulments to erase the marriage for personal reasons.

 

In both annulments and divorces, property division is handled the same. The court will decide who receives which assets. They’ll also develop a parenting plan if you have minor children.

 

If you meet the requirements for an annulment, the choice is yours. Yet, we recommend reaching out to an attorney who can help you make the best decision for yourself and your family.

Questions About Divorce? Reach Out to Us Today!

We know that divorce can be confusing. We’re here to answer your questions. To learn more about annulments and divorce, give our Ft. Worth office a call at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.