Most people want to live comfortably. In order to maintain the desired standard of living, it is important to assemble a team of professionals for each aspect of your finances. The documents mentioned in this guide are Texas-specific, but the information applies generally to every state.
Trusted Accountant and Tax Professional
Whether you are deciding how to structure a business, managing a business, filing taxes, or preparing estate planning documents (wills, trusts, durable power of attorney, etc.), taxes are a major factor in financial decisions. A good attorney will work in conjunction with these professionals to better protect your assets.
Estate Planning Attorney
An experienced estate planning attorney provides documents that protect you during your life and your wishes once your gone. A Durable Power of Attorney determines who has the power to take care of your finances if you need assistance and can avoid the need for a guardianship in many cases. A Declaration of Guardian can make sure you do not fall into the wrong hands if you are injured or incapacitated. A Medical Power of Attorney and Directive to Physician (Living Will) provide direction and protection if you cannot express your own wishes. A will or trust can not only provide for the distribution and management of assets, but can also provide tax savings and protection for minor children and disabled love ones.
Estate planning is more than just wills, trusts, and power of attorney documents. Most of us need some assistance when it comes to investments (building on existing wealth). A good financial advisor is key to increasing your wealth. Proper insurance is also key. A good disability insurance policy can prevent depletion of your hard-earned savings in the event of an injury. A good long-term care insurance policy can keep you in your home (and out of a nursing home) longer, can give you more choices when choosing a long-term care facility, can prevent the need for Medicaid, can prevent complete depletion of your and your family's hard earned money and assets, and can keep your home and assets out of the hands of the government. Life insurance can ensure your family maintains a certain standard of living after your death, or even just make sure your debts and final expenses are covered. All policies are not created equal. Shop around and ask lots of questions.
Running a business often creates potential liability. Without a formal entity such as a corporation or LLC, a lawsuit against the business will most likely be a lawsuit against the business owner and anyone else who has paid in or helped out. A business attorney can determine what type of entity will provide the most protection for your business. Working in conjunction with a tax professional, a business attorney can also make sure your entity makes sense financially. If the business attorney is not familiar with estate planning, it may be wise to include an estate planning attorney in this process to ensure the bylaws adequately prepare for potential incapacity, injury, or death.