Questions about different types of legal advice arise frequently. We have compiled a short list of commonly asked questions to begin the conversation about how we might meet your legal needs.
If you have additional questions, please contact us so that we might better assist you.
Generally speaking, most people benefit from having a will. Having a valid will in place at your death can help make the administration and distribution of your estate easier for those who are left behind. Most of us are concerned (at least to some degree) about what happens to our property at our death and in whose hands our property ultimately falls. It is because of this concern that a will is a good idea for most everyone who has capacity to make one.
There are many estate planning products on the market today that represent to consumers that legal documents such as a will may be prepared on a home computer without the help of an attorney.† In some cases, these products may work.† However, many of these products are not state specific, and therefore, do not meet the specific requirements for the state in which the testator resides and, ultimately, where the will is offered for probate.† (Even though the form may be "valid in all 50 states," it could fail to include provisions required by Texas law for low-cost, efficient administration of your estate.)† The best way to go about doing a will is to contact an attorney in your area to assist you.† Prior to meeting with an estate planning attorney, you should think about how you would like to leave your property at your death, and who you would like to designate to handle your estate after your death.
A living trust can be used as an alternative to a will.† In most cases, these trusts are more expensive and complicated that wills.† Texas has relatively simple and inexpensive probate.† For these reasons, most Texans can achieve their estate planning goals cheaper and simpler with a will.†† However, there are times when living trusts are appropriate and a better solution than a will.†
Probate is the court process that administers a deceased personís estate and that looks after people who cannot make their own personal, health care and financial decisions. This typically falls into two general categories: minor children (under age 18) and incapacitated adults.
Wills do not avoid probate. Wills have no legal authority until the willmaker (testator) dies and the original will is approved and enforced by the Probate Court. Everyone with minor children needs a will to name who you would like to be the legal guardian of a child. Special testamentary trust provisions in a will can provide for the management and distribution of assets for your heirs. Additionally, assets can be arranged and coordinated with provisions of the testamentary trusts to avoid estate taxes.
If you die without a Will (intestate), the Texas Legislature has already determined who will inherit your assets and when they will inherit them. You may not agree with the list of people who would inherit your estate, and the process to administer an estate without a Will (an heirship) is expensive and a longer process for your family.