A law review award for Leslie Barrows with Estate Planning



An Estate Planning strategy deals with your assets and investments when you pass away.

Estate planning is the most thorough process of planning for the future (and your assets). 

No matter your age, wealth or number of assets, all adults need certain estate planning documents in place as a precaution. Unexpected events occur. Consider how many privacy laws exist for our protection that render our accounts frozen in the event we cannot sign for things or access systems – even to pay bills.  

Divorce, custody and remarriage are also considerations for anyone trying to direct what happens to their assets, liabilities and the care of children and pets. An updated will and set of estate planning documents will give you and your family peace of mind with the knowledge that if you are unable to make your own decisions, the decisions made will still be yours. 

There are a few standard estate planning documents that every Texas adult and parent should keep.

Texas Last Will and Testament

A properly written and signed will, prepared within the requirements of Texas law, allows you to make choices for the distribution of your property, who will have the task of doing that distribution, and of course, who you appoint to care for children or pets after you pass. In the event you die in Texas without a valid will, the state laws will be applied and your estate assets will be divided among your living immediate family members. Blended families should pay particular attention to wills, because parents may prefer for their blood children to have priority in a will before the family members of later married individuals.

Texas Durable Power of Attorney

In the event you are on that vacation overseas and decide to stay longer, or if you are in a medically induced coma after being involved in a car wreck on your way to work one day, a durable power of attorney document will allow your business and affairs to keep moving, even if you cannot. You can appoint a family member or friend to sign your checks, manage your assets and business affairs in your temporary absence. A properly drafted durable power of attorney can address with specificity exactly how decisions and transactions are made if you cannot be there to make them in person.

Texas Healthcare Power of Attorney

Some of the biggest decisions that we can make concern the manner and delivery of healthcare services. As we age, mental health questions also arise. In the instance we lose our capacity to make sound decisions in the present, an appointed family member or friend with power of attorney over your healthcare might make decisions that save your life or carry out your wishes. Power of attorney for healthcare is also important to children and a power of attorney for a child can also be prepared so there is no question as to what happens if an emergency occurs when one or both parents are unavailable.

In addition to wills and power of attorney documents, HIPAA authorization documents and physician directive documents, when properly prepared, can help you avoid unnecessary delays, policy barriers and restrictions when healthcare events occur out of the ordinary course of daily life.

For more information about estate planning, contact Attorney Leslie Barrows through our contact form or by calling 817-481-1583.