Get Your Ducks In A Row: Estate Planning

Jennifer Balmos, PLLC with Balmos Law shares with us some very important points on why you should get your ducks in a row to protect your family.

This is the perfect time to jump into some of the most IMPORTANT organizing you’ll ever do: Estate Planning

Start by asking yourself some very important questions:

  • Who would you want to make decisions for you if you cannot do so yourself?
  • Who would you want to take care of your young children in the event of a tragedy?
  • Who would you want to receive the family heirloom passed down over generations when you pass away?

One of the common misconceptions about estate planning is that it’s all about STUFF.

But as you can see from the questions above, estate planning is a vital mechanism to protect PEOPLE as well. A comprehensive plan will protect both the people you love and the property you’ve worked hard to earn.

The first questions to tackle are those that arise before death. If you cannot make a decision for yourself, who would you want to do so on your behalf? Most people think of this in the context of a long-term coma or the slow mental deterioration of dementia, and think they are too young to worry about such a thing. And, certainly, we all hope that we never find ourselves in this situation, but think about a car accident. If your physician needs to obtain consent for non-emergent treatment she is going to have to ask someone. And if you don’t have an agent designated, your decision maker will be decided by the Texas statutes.

An important note for parents of college-aged students: your children are now adults in the eyes of the law. That means you as the parent (and possibly the person paying all the bills) are not entitled to certain information. Talking to your child about who will speak for them in the event of incapacity isn’t a fun conversation, but is important.

Now, let’s discuss the stuff.

Even without a Rockefeller-sized estate, a plan for your assets remains critical. Plans range from the simple to the highly complex.

  • A simple example:  I want all my property to go to my spouse and then to my kids, outright.
  • A complex example – I want to use timed, tiered distributions to certain people or organizations, and additional trusts for certain retirement benefits to allow those assets to grow after my death.

Individuals who pass away without a will or trust in place often leave their heirs in the position of spending additional time and money just to receive the property that should rightfully be theirs. Additionally, the property may or may not transfer to the right person, which is of special concern with dealing with blended families. If you don’t develop a plan ahead of time, the State of Texas will have one for you. And you will just have to hope that it suits your needs.

Talking with your loved ones about a health emergency or eventual death is not a cheery conversation. However, The peace of mind that comes from knowing what will happen in the event of an emergency outweighs the dread of having the uncomfortable discussion.

Jennifer Balmos | Attorney

If you are a Texas resident needing estate planning advice contact Jennifer here.


Estate planning is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting your ducks in a row. You can you organize all your vital information and important documents using the Ducks In A Row System!


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