Updating your will and trust may not be the first thing on your mind when you first establish roots as a Texan, but it should be something that you work towards completing soon after you move here. The primary reason being is that the laws in Texas are different when it comes to estate planning than in the state where you used to live. While you may have a valid will in your former state, there may be issues of validity or enforceability in Texas due to how the will is drafted, witnessed, or anything in between. With so much riding on your will, the last thing you want to do is have spent so much time creating the document only to find out that it is invalid in Texas.
We know that moving is not simple. You must coordinate the physical movement of all your belongings from one state to Texas. Moving companies, packing, re-packing, trying to find the one thing that you need at that moment but can't seem to locate. That is what moving ends up being. Even if you are excited about the move itself it is unlikely that you are excited about packing. There is always some detail that we overlook and causes problems for us in a move. It seems like the best most of us can do is just hope that the move doesn't detract from our overall excitement about the place that we are moving to.
Estate planning is what encompasses the world of creating a new will for yourself. Your estate is all the property and debt that you have in your name. when you move out of one state and into another you need to look at any estate planning documents that you have created to make sure that they still work for you and your family. Odds are good that there will be some aspect of those estate planning documents that no longer function well given that the estate planning laws in each state differ at least somewhat. Maintaining the validity of your will no matter where you live is key. Since it is doubtful that every part of your former will can be honored in Texas it is likely that you will need to update and re-draft your will to conform with the laws of Texas on estate planning and will create.
Bear in mind that when a will or a trust becomes relevant is only after you pass away. There is so much to concern your family after you pass on, not the least of which is making sure that everyone is recovering and dealing with the emotional parts of your death ok. While your family may be able to handle a challenge like this it is best not to test them during an emotionally trying time. Ideally, your family will be able to think about good times with you rather than having to worry about financial matters related to your passing.
This is what we will be discussing in today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Specifically, I think it is important for us to be able to walk through what it means to update your will after you move to Texas and why it is important to do so. Many of us probably wouldn’t even think about updating our will when we move or the importance of doing so. However, you will need to consider your options and then choose how you want to move forward in a way that is best suited for your estate and family.
After today's blog post, if you have any questions about the material that we included then please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed 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 estate planning as well as for developing a strategy for your own estate planning needs.
Is a will from another state valid in Texas?
Speaking generally, yes, a will that you created in another state will still be valid in Texas. If the will is properly executed and written in another state by the estate planning and probate codes of that state, then it should also be valid in Texas. The estate planning laws of Texas are different from other states but not so different that a simple (or even complex) will not be honored in a Texas probate court if your will must be probated here in the Lone Star State. We recommend reviewing and if necessary, updating your will even if you do not move. The reason being is that all our lives change over time that we also need to update our estate planning documents to keep up with the changes that we see in our lives.
Once you move to Texas you should make it a goal to update your estate planning documents as soon as possible. This is not only true because you can knock them out early and not have to think about them again but also because it is beneficial for you to be able to have peace of mind that matters will be handled correctly after your passing. The reality of the situation is that none of us know the exact moment in time when our lives will come to an end. If we did know this moment, then we could better prepare for it by updating our will- among other things. However, given that the moment we are going to pass away is not known to us we need to be in a place where we can make changes to our wills when the opportunity to do so is still with us.
Having a will that clearly states who gets what is an ideal situation. The people or entities that receive property under your will are known as beneficiaries. The assets come out of your estate. You can name people as beneficiaries- like friends and relatives, you can also name entities like charities, churches, or other organizations as beneficiaries who would receive property under your will after you pass away. This is a much better situation than not having a will and leaving it up to a probate court judge to decide how the property in your estate should be divided up.
Avoiding probate is another worthwhile goal that you should start to think about when moving to Texas from another state. Probate is a legal process that involves a court determining what property to distribute and to whom based on your having or not having a will. It could also be that the probate court needs to determine if you have a valid will. This process is necessary for some people but not for everyone. There are ways for the court to divide the estate if you do not have a will but that will usually result in the property going to your immediate relatives like a spouse or your children. Probate cases take time and cost money. The costs of the case come out of your estate. If you can help it, avoiding probate can save time and money.
One of the areas that a Texas estate plan may run into some difficulties when compared to an estate plan created in another state is community property laws. Texas handles the division of marital assets at death or the time of divorce differently than most other states. As a result, if you are married then this is something that you should pay close attention to. Having a will means that you will bypass these sorts of laws in Texas. However, if your will is invalid then the laws covering intestate distribution will determine how your property is divided. That can be a major issue for some families.
Updating your will once you move to Texas
One advantage that you have already had a will once you move to Texas is that the process of updating your will once you move here will not be as complex as it would have been had you needed to create a will from scratch. Since you have already made decisions about where you want your property to go after you pass away, updating your will is only something you need to do regarding making sure that it will still reflect your wishes and that the old one won't conflict with any laws in Texas. For that reason, you need to have an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you to plan out these matters and understand the complexities of estate planning laws in Texas.
Moving to Texas means that if you are married then the state will treat the property that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage to be owned equally between the two of you. It does not matter whose income was utilized to purchase the property. All that matters is if the property was purchased or acquired during your marriage. If it was then the property is owned by both of you equally. This means that in a divorce it would need to be divided up in some form or fashion. When it comes to an estate plan you and your spouse should talk about how you want the marital property to be treated. You can make specific provisions in your will to account for Texas being a community property state. What you include in a valid will as far as property division is concerned will trump the community property laws of Texas.
Who is going to act as the executor of your will?
The executor of your will is the person that you name in the will who will handle how property is distributed out of your estate when you pass away. The executor is also in charge of paying any bills, taxes, or debts that you a state is responsible for. Additionally, the executor of your will is responsible for inventorying all the property that you own and then organizing the property for distribution once all debts are paid. If you have moved from Florida to Texas, then you may want to reconsider who is listed as the executor in your will. it would be most convenient for you to have someone in Texas able to handle matters related to your will especially if it must go through the probate process.
How will your living trust be handled after you moved to Texas?
If you have a revocable living trust as a part of your will it is likely to still be valid even after you moved to Texas from another state. However, one bit of information that may be helpful to you is that if you purchase a home or other large or valuable property item in Texas that you should consider updating your estate plan documents to include the new home. A living trust is likely to be transferable between you're a former state in Texas it still makes a lot of sense for you to include any changes to the will to reflect the estate planning laws of Texas. Many forms can even be found online for you to update your will or other estate planning documents if the change you need to make is relatively minor.
Consider time as a factor when it comes to updating your estate planning documents
Life is going to be frantic for a period after you pass away. Your friends and family will be understandably sad about your passing. on top of that, your immediate family will likely oversee handling matters associated with finances and the logistics of your passing. If you have a valid and enforceable will then you can bypass a great deal of the frustration and work that would go into handling financial-related matters after you pass away. Consider that the subject matter which we have been discussing today is likely to be the last thing that your family wants to concern itself with.
As a result, it is a great idea to take advantage of whatever opportunities you have right now to update your will or trust if you have one. As we mentioned before, if you have a will already it is only a matter of making minor updates to the will to fall in line with the laws of the State of Texas. These do not have to be major changes but often they can take some time to complete. This is more of a personal question that you need to ask yourself as far as how much time you need to make these changes and what sort of planning needs to go into the process of completing any changes in your will or trust.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can be the time saver that you need to take what could have been a difficult experience and make it something where you can manage to complete the process in a relatively short period. by working with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can focus on the topics that are most important to your life and make the changes that are necessary based on the laws of Texas. while hiring an attorney will cost money you can look at it as a short-term investment into your long-term future. Planning for the future of your family is something extremely noble. Bear in mind that you won't be the one to benefit from your planning.
When moving to a new place it can feel like you weight the world on your shoulders. you have so much on your mind with planning a move, coordinating everything once you get to Texas, and starting a new job. Having to plan for anything related to your estate can seem like something impossible for you. However, with some effort, you can update and revise estate planning documents as you place your new surroundings here in Texas. It makes a great deal of sense to go through your life and to take a moment for yourself to consider the needs of you and your family as you have moved. Odds are good that some facet of your life would have changed with time since the last opportunity you had to review your estate planning documents. Or else you probably would not be moving to Texas from your current state. When changes happen in your life you can rest assured that your state planning documents need to change as well.
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 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 estate planning law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a probate case.