Estate planning is more than a Last Will and Testament.  In fact, a good estate plan includes more than tax planning and inheritance planning.  Talk with a Texas lawyer about a power of attorney and a living will.


Many Texans die without a valid Last Will and Testament–and even more die without putting enough effort into estate planning.



Comprehensive estate planning should include, at a minimum, a Last Will and Testament, an advance physicians’ directive (a “Living Will”), a medical power of attorney, a durable general power of attorney, declaration of guardian, HIPAA authorization, and even more documents if there are minor children.  Read more about these planning documents below.

A Texas Last Will and Testament: There’s more to a properly drafted Will than meets the eye. The gifting of your property at your death is just one aspect of a Texas Last Will and Testament. Your Last Will and Testament should also designate an executor and alternate executors, make specific bequests, and give other instructions for how your estate should be handled.  If you have minor children, in Texas, your Last Will and Testament specifies who you believe should be guardian of your children.
Advance Physicians’ Directive: (Living Will). This document tells your medical care providers your medical wishes should you become incapacitated in the future. For example, if you are in a vegetative state in the future, you won’t have the ability to communicate your wishes for medical treatment given that circumstance. This advance directive relieves a tremendous burden on your loved ones, who may fear that they will make a decision out of conformity with your wishes. Also, most people, if given the opportunity, would rather make these important decisions themselves—as opposed to leaving it to unknown medical staff or others.
Medical Power of Attorney: With a Texas Medical Power of attorney, a person designates an agent, such as your spouse or some other loved one, to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become unable in the future.
Durable Power of Attorney: A durable general power of attorney grants another person the power to act on your behalf on financial, real estate, and/or legal transactions. The person you appoint will have the ability to manage your personal and financial affairs in the event you are unable.
Declaration of Guardian: A Declaration of Guardian designates who you’d like to serve as your guardian should the need arise for a guardian. There are two basic types of guardian: a guardian of the estate and a guardian of the person. A guardian of the estate has the power to make decisions regarding your property. The guardian of the person has the power to make personal decisions for you, such as where you will live.
HIPAA Authorization: Hospitals aren’t allowed to give out your medical records to just anybody. If you want a loved one to have access to your medical files, you need to give the health care provider authorization to show your file to others.
Anatomical Gifts: If you want to make an organ donation, it’s important that you let that wish be known. Gifts can be made to specific recipients, educational institutions, other groups, or the State.
Necessary Documents if you have minor children: Minor children require additional planning. For example, your Last Will and Testament should indicate who you’d like to serve as guardian of your children should you die. Your Will may also include a provision to create a trust for your children instead of giving them money outright. In this case, so long as the trust exists, a trusted person you name as trustee can make sure that the money is disbursed for important issues such as education.

Call Richardson Estate Planning Attorney Isaac Shutt at (214) 302-8197. E-mail Isaac Shutt at