In Texas, a will is the legal document that tells a probate court and your loved ones exactly how you wish your estate to be divided up. It addresses specific financial matters, property that the decedent owned, and who will care for any minor children. In order to be validated by a Texas probate court, this document must meet certain criteria. Having a Houston will attorney draft this legal document for you can help ensure that it is validated and your wishes followed.
Writing a Last Will and Testament isn’t a fun chore, but planning for the future is something every adult should put serious thought into. Although many people feel that they don’t have enough assets to warrant writing a will, or that they are too young or healthy to need such a document, the truth is that unexpected tragedies happen. A Houston will attorney can help you be prepared.
The Texas Court procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid; though in current usage this term has been expanded to generally refer to the legal process wherein the estate of a decedent is administered. Generally, the Texas probate process involves collecting a decedent's assets, liquidating liabilities, paying necessary taxes, and distributing property to heirs.
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A Will, also called a Last Will and Testament allows a person to give property and other assets to specific people or organizations as well as naming an Executor to settle the affairs of the estate. Without a will, a person's belongings will be distributed according to Texas intestacy laws, which may not be desirable. You may want to talk to a lawyer if:
You have questions about your will or other options for leaving your property. You expect to leave a very large amount of assets (say, over $1.5 million) and they may be subject to estate tax unless you engage in tax planning. Rather than simply naming people to inherit your property, you want to make more complex plans -- for example, leaving your house in trust to your spouse until he or she dies and then having it pass to your children from a previous marriage. You are a small business owner and have questions as to the rights of surviving owners or your ownership share. You must make arrangements for long-term care of a beneficiary -- for example, setting up a trust for an incapacitated or disadvantaged child. You fear someone will contest your will on grounds of fraud, or claim that you were unduly influenced or weren't of sound mind when you signed it.
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A Houston legal will usually can be modified by a document called a codicil, which must be executed in accordance with Texas law. A will can be revoked two ways:
By a later will, codicil, or other writing that adheres to the legal requirements of a will By the testator destroying or canceling the will or by causing it to be done in his or her presence
Often times a will is the best solution for estate planning purposes. Unlike many states, the Texas Probate process is very efficient and cost effective making the use of wills in Texas very desirable. While a simple will can suffice for most estates, Texas law allows for the creation of wills that can aid in tax planning and include built in trusts. Some of the reasons a person would want to create a will include:
Appointment of Guardians For Minor Children Control Over Asset Distribution After Death Avoid Real Estate Related Complications
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Also, some people simply feel more comfortable having a lawyer review their will, even though their situation has no apparent legal complications. If you decide to see a lawyer, your next task will be to find one who is knowledgeable about wills, charges a reasonable fee and will respect your efforts to make your own will.
To discuss your options with one of our experienced attorneys, contact one of our conveniently located offices in Houston, Texas, to schedule a personalized FREE consultation.
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