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Wills, Estate Planning, and Probate Law

Wills Probate Law Estate Planning Probate Links Medical Directives

Wills, Estate Planning, and Texas Probate Law are important areas of the law that allow individuals to plan their legacy.  Under Texas Probate Law a person can designate who will take care of their dependants and who will inherit their property and wealth.  Utilizing Estate Planning under Texas Law, allows individuals to help their loved ones for years, even decades after they are gone. 

Unfortunately, most people do not take advantage of estate planning and not only lose an opportunity to help their loved ones, but cause unnecessary litigation costs, increased tax burdens, and financial stress.  In Texas, persons that die without a Will or estate planning will have their property distributed pursuant to Texas Intestate Law.  This distribution can cause problems as a surviving spouse does not always inherit the entire estate.  Even worse, an untimely death in a second marriage can cause houses and other property to be locked up by the courts preventing spouses or children from being able to sell the property.  Estate and probate problems are especially problematic in families with remarried parents and step children.  In fact, parents, estranged children, and siblings of the deceased can inherit portions of property that prevent a surviving spouse from selling property or worse set off custody battles.  Further, if minor children are involved their interests in real estate can prevent sale or refinancing of a home unless there is a court order or a designated trustee, ad litem, or guardian that has been chosen. 

The name of the game in Probate Law is to plan before hand, be proactive and protect your loved ones and assets.  Determine who in your life is dependant on you and will need help after you are gone. If these dependants are minor children or incapacitated, find someone that you trust to help take care of them and manage money for them. 

Make sure that you know the approximate value of your property and assets.  It is helpful to have an inventory of all your assets including all passwords, account numbers, and approximate values.  Then determine who you want your assets to benefit and who you trust to manage the assets.  These are not always the same person. 

It is important to have a valid Will or Trust in place that designates how your estate should be distributed.  It is also important to make sure that all old Wills are properly destroyed and all insurance policies, retirement funds, accounts, and securities are updated as to current beneficiaries.

The TexasLawyers.com Directory and Information Center has several attorneys that draft Wills, assist in Estate Planning, and handle Probate Matters.  For questions on these attorneys follow the below links or send an e-mail to Jason Coomer.

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