Every person has an estate – and the disposition of that estate once they have passed away is something that should be thought about and planned ahead of time. Since most people find estate planning confusing, it is a good idea to seek the services of experienced estate administration lawyers to draft a plan for the effective distribution of your estate in Texas.
What Is An Estate?
An estate is much more than a physical residence or parcel of property, although these items can be part of a person’s estate. Essentially, an estate is all of a person’s belongings, including money, possessions, property, investments, and anything else they own or to which they are entitled.
What Is Estate Planning?
Planning the disposition of an estate starts with writing a will and testament. This document dictates what is to happen to a person’s estate in the event of their death. Estate planning covers all possessions and is an important part of arranging for your family’s needs when you are gone. It can involve aspects such as: making arrangements for a living will; personal desires about medical care and treatment prior to death; and even how you want your funeral and burial handled.
It can also include details such as: distribution of personal items as you wish; selection of guardians for minor children if necessary; completing powers of attorney to appoint an agent to act on your behalf; and many other details that could be involved when providing for your family when you are gone. Most importantly, it should include the assignment of an executor, who is responsible for overseeing the distribution of a person’s estate.
Good estate planning with experienced estate lawyers helps make the distribution of an estate much easier and can avoid costly legal proceedings that can happen even with a will if it has not been carefully prepared. It is important to realize that good estate planning is an ongoing process, not simply a one-time thing. Our individual circumstances and possessions change over time, so keeping your estate documents current is as important as the initial estate planning process.
Estate Planning in Texas
Planning an estate in Texas is similar to estate planning in most other states. One exception is that Texas honors handwritten, non-witnessed wills – depending on individual circumstances. While Texas does acknowledge these other forms of wills, they are generally much harder to prove in court. It is always recommended that you have a will that has been properly written, signed, and witnessed for estate handling simplicity.
Estates in Texas must also go through probate, which is when the court ensures that obligations of the estate, including taxes and debts, are paid before an estate is distributed to those named as recipients. Processing an estate through probate can be costly; however it can sometimes be avoided in Texas if the estate is passed to a spouse or distributed through certain transfers, such as trusts, a joint ownership, and more. This is why working with the best estate administration lawyers is so valuable.
The best time for planning an estate is right now, as the proper organization and plans for distribution of an estate can take some time; it is really an ongoing process. By working with experienced estate law attorneys who can also help with homes and properties, you can determine the best distribution plan for your money and possessions. Advanced planning regarding your estate makes sure that it will be handled as you want and leave few, if any, problems with its actual distribution.