What estate plans are all about in Texas

Sometimes people have trouble executing on a plan. Procrastination is one of the reasons why. End-of-life scenarios mean more for people who are older or in poor health. For those of us who are relatively young and in good health, there may be less of a reason 2 focus on this issue rather than on topics that seems to be more relevant at this point in our lives. It is difficult to find the motivation to prepare for end-of-life scenarios when you believe that you have a rather long runway in front of you. 

However, the reality of the situation is that none of us know the exact moment in time when our lives will end. This may sound morbid, but it is the absolute truth. None of us get to choose the moment that we pass away. As a result, any assumptions that we make Regarding end-of-life scenarios can and likely will turn out to be wrong. The trouble with making assumptions about your ability to have more time with end-of-life planning is that if you are proven wrong there is no opportunity to make a course correction. Additionally, it is not you who would suffer the consequences of your mistaken assumption. Rather, it will be your family and other people close to you that would suffer the most.

As a result, you need to take matters into your own hands and address these issues directly. When I come to end-of-life planning it is not as if you can go halfway or sort of does end-of-life planning activities. Rather, end-of-life planning and estate planning, in general, requires you to complete certain steps to fulfill the obligation that you have as an adult. Going halfway or simply beginning to think about this subject effectively does nothing. Remember that it is your spouse, children, family, and those closest to you that will suffer from your lack of attention to this subject. I know that this is not the legacy that you want to leave for yourself.

Rather, why not take some time ends devote enough energy to a topic as critical to your life as end-of-life planning? There is no doubt that there are more enjoyable activities that you can engage in. However, fulfilling this obligation for yourself and your family can be as satisfying as just about anything else you do in life. Helping those around you by taking them into account in assisting them helps in ways that you may not even understand or appreciate.

With that said, in today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I would like to walk you through some of the most important and basic steps involved in estate planning. Our attorneys and staff went to help you to understand just how accessible advice in planning materials can be when it comes to this subject. Estate planning is not 4 the rich, the elderly, or any other group. Rather, estate planning is for all of us. Any adult human being should have an estate plan of some kind in order so that their end-of-life wishes are considered. Don’t leave it to chance or assume that everything will work out for you. Rather, have a plan and execute that plan.

The basics of estate planning in Texas

When it comes to estate planning, I think we all understand the importance of considering our future and the impact of our passing on those around us. Being able to plan out the end-of-life scenarios so that we can have Peace of Mind and prepare for our future is an extremely intelligent thing to do. On the other hand, it is also an emotional process That requires Some degree of consideration for those around you as well as the ability to set aside your own emotions and make decisions for yourself in your family that is best based on the circumstances of your life. 

Since we all have different circumstances that are relevant to our lives that means that our estate planning objectives will need to be unique. It is not as if you can just copy and paste the estate plan of your neighbor and use it as your own. One size does not fit all in the world of estate planning. Rather- you will need to examine your life closely and then determine what you want to set up and create for your own life. It is not a situation where you should make plans that your children want or even your spouse wants. Take their opinions into consideration, but ultimately what you decide is what will go into your plan. You can always communicate (and probably should communicate) your plan to your family before your passing. That way there will be no surprises when it comes to what your estate planning contains. 

When you work with an experienced estate planning attorney what does that mean? You may be aware that it is possible to draft a will online. We do so much online these days that it can seem like second nature to assume that a will can be completed and drafted online with no issue. This may be true. However, it is best to obtain advice on what you are doing in drafting the will. There is no substitute for having experienced counsel represent you in helping to draft a will. That expertise can make a huge difference when it comes to your estate. Being able to understand the risks and benefits of the type of planning you are trying to implement is important. You can’t gain this type of experience on your own. Working with an attorney who has walked side by side with people in our community is the best and most efficient way to arrive at this outcome. 

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to assist you in this way. Six days a week, our attorneys offer free of charge consultations where you can ask questions, receive feedback, and learn about the process involving creating a will, trust, or other estate planning instrument. Whether you have thought through this issue a great deal or have never given estate planning a second thought, you can stand to benefit from working with one of our lawyers. Reach out to us today for more information or clarification on anything that you will read in today’s blog post. 

Drafting a will in Texas

Preparing a will does not need to be something that you spend a year or two thinking and worrying about. Yes, you need to draft a will but you don’t have to devote your life’s attention to this document. Rather, you need to be able to decide what you want your will to look like, receive some advice on the will, and then execute the creation of the document. Follow those steps and you will be in a good position. Follow them with an attorney and you will be in an even better position. 

Putting the drafting of your will on the back burner for some years is not uncommon. However, it is also not a smart move to make. Drafting a will is a good place to begin your estate planning process but you may also find that it is not the only instrument that you should utilize to plan for the end-of-life scenarios. From a legal perspective, drafting a will means that you will be planning for the property that you own in your name as separate property. If you are married and otherwise have been for an extended period the near amount of soul or separate property may be relatively small.

A lot of the information that you find on wills would tell you what your will can do for you. However, there is a fair amount of information that you need to know about what it will not do for you. First off, it will do nothing to control life insurance or annuity beneficiaries. For example, if you have a life insurance policy and name your spouse as the beneficiary you do not have to also plan for that life insurance policy within the will itself. Rather, my life insurance policy operates outside of a will. The same can be said for an annuity.

Another type of financial vehicle that does not have to be included in a will for it to be attended to after you pass are retirement accounts. These will be things like 401K’s and individual retirement accounts. These accounts allow you to name beneficiaries and secondary beneficiaries within the planning documents themselves. A good piece of advice is to update these accounts when you have a major life event like debt in the family or a divorce. The last thing you want would be to pass away and have your ex-spouse or a deceased person listed as your beneficiary. Each year you should set up a reminder on your calendar or other bookkeeping software to check in with these types of accounts to make sure that the beneficiaries still reflect your wishes in terms of who is listed to receive the property were you to pass away.

What about jointly held property?

when it comes to the remaining parts of your life as a married person, it is most likely that the vast majority of your property will be classified as Community property. This is jointly held property between you and your spouse that you came to own during your marriage. this jointly held property can be accounted for very simply in a will where you state that all Community property will go to your spouse at your passing. Otherwise, without a will you’re separately held property would go both to your children and to your spouse with all Community property going to your spouse with a life tendency in the home.

When it comes to drafting a will without an attorney you often find that the language you use is very general that does not provide any specific guidance when it comes to the care of your spouse or children. There is software available to help you draft a will and there are many websites that will help you 2 draft I will. The trouble with using websites like these is that oftentimes the websites are not updated as frequently as the state legislature updates laws on probate. Additionally, while making a selection within a will drafting website may allow you to have a legal document but it probably does not reflect the reality love your family circumstances. While something may make sense from a legal perspective it probably doesn’t make as much sense given the specific circumstances of your life. This is really where you could stand to benefit from having an experienced family law attorney by your side.

Consider that any property that you own which is not a community in nature would follow the Texas probate code as far as going either to your spouse’s children or other errors. Ultimately the more you can do to plan and limit the need to attend a probate hearing for your family is for the best. consider that a probate case will be paid for with money from your state and will mainly benefit your creditors if you have any. Consider that creditors when going through probate are the ones to get paid first. attorneys fees are also another factor to consider as there is no limit to what a probate case can cost. 

If you become incapacitated or otherwise not of sound mind then any will you create after this time will not be considered valid. During your period of incapacitation, the will cannot take care of you, either. A medical power of attorney or another similar document would need to be created while you are of sound mind to care for you in the future. You need to ask an attorney for their advice when it comes to the power of attorney documents when it comes to medical issues. Oftentimes creating a medical power of attorney leaves you susceptible to allowing the person with this authority to make decisions on your behalf that are beyond their realm of comprehension.

Will other people be able to see what you write in your will?

A will is a publicly filed document once it goes through the probate process. For instance, notice will need to be given to any of your creditors that the world has been admitted to probate. This is typically done through something like a newspaper or other periodical. Any person can then go to the courthouse and ask to see the will to see how your estate has been divided. And the inventory of your assets and property must be completed by the executor of your state. Any issues that are financial including non-retirement investment accounts must be included in a centaury along with the balances of each account. Finally, the value of your home and other property would need to be disclosed. 

What happens if you have a will from another state but die in Texas?

A general rule of thumb to go by is that whales typically do not carry over from one state to another period, for instance, the probate laws of Texas are different than the probate laws of Minnesota or Louisiana. While they may be similar in many regards this may not be true for specific areas of your estate case. Meaning, that if you make your will in another state and die as a resident of Texas then the laws of Texas will apply to your will even if you have only lived here for a relatively short period. The more confusion that there is associated with the will the more time and money that will likely have to be spent sorting out the will through probate. 

For that reason, if you are a relatively new resident of Texas then you should consider having a wheel drafted now that you have moved here. While it can be somewhat annoying to have to draft a new will based on Texas law it beats having to rely upon a will that may not comport to Texas standards and laws. Having your will comply with the laws of Texas can save time and money. To account for the laws of Texas and make sure that you are setting yourself up as best as possible to protect your assets and family you should speak with an experienced probate and estate planning attorney before drafting a will.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed probate and estate planning attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas probate law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a probate case or the need to plan for end-of-life matters.

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