Some people are under the impression that estate planning is only for the elderly or for wealthy individuals. However, making important decisions about your future is not something that you should put off until later. Doing so could lead to significant confusion and frustration among your beneficiaries after you pass away. At our law firm we make basic estate planning affordable and accessible We believe everyone to be prepared for the unknowns of life, and the inevitable occasion for their passing. The best gift you can leave your loved ones is a plan and a direction to take care of your affairs after you’re gone.
Having an appropriate estate plan in place well in advance allows you the confidence that comes with knowing that your assets will be distributed according to the wishes you stipulate, as well as peace of mind that your financial and medical affairs should be handled the way in which you desire should you become incapacitated. It also reduces the burden of legal conflicts or decision making for those you leave behind. Two of the most common estate planning tools used by individuals in Texas are wills and trusts.
There is a lot to do when a loved ones passes away and one of thing to do is to meet with a probate attorney to evaluate the legal procedure to transfer assets to either the heirs or beneficiaries. A lot of people think title transfers automatically but this is not true.
A Will must be presented to a judge and evaluated for it’s authenticity. Only the is the executor appointed to handle the affairs of the deceased person. You have four years after your loved one passes to submit their Will to probate. If you have custody of an original Will, you should immediately turn it in to the county clerk where the Testator, the person whose Will it is who has passed away, lived. Destroying or tampering with an original Will can result in civil liability for those actions.
If there is no Will, there are different legal procedures in place- even for a small estate. Meeting with a probate attorney will help evaluate what legal procedure is proper and efficient in the transferring of assets as there are a variety of options available.
Texas law tries to make the probate process easy, efficient and affordable. But you must have competent legal advice from an experienced probate attorney to get it done properly.
If you are unsure how to proceed, please contact our office for a free consultation to evaluate how to proceed.
If you have been appointed as an executor or administrator and are unsure what your current duties are in administering an estate, please contact our office for a free consultation with a probate attorney to guide you through the process and protect you from claims of mismanagement.
If you are the Beneficiary or an Heir to an estate, you can feel left out in the dark sometimes about what is going on and what is taking so long to distribute the estate assets. Distributing assets can sometimes take a year or longer due to taxes or co-owned property. You have a right to be informed and to be treated fairly by the fiduciary administering the estate. The Executor or Administrator owes you a duty to properly care for your share of the estate assets and not to waste assets, incur frivolous legal fees or delay distribution without good cause.
If you are a beneficiary or an heir of an estate, please contact our office for a free consultation about what rights you have and how to protect your interest in an estate from a careless or greedy Executor or Administrator.