Why Do We Need Proper Estate Planning In Texas?
The COVID pandemic has exposed that we have a preparedness problem. This is especially true when preparing for our death. We prepare for many things in life, such as studying for a test, a big meeting, or welcoming a child. However, we tend to procrastinate preparing for our death.
Every person, regardless of age, health, or wealth needs a proper estate plan. Proper preparation for your death is the greatest gift you can give your family. With proper preparation, the only decision your family will have to make is where and when to have your funeral service. Lack of proper preparation can be a complete financial, logistical, and emotional disaster for your family. Unfortunately, many families have experienced lack of preparation for death, both before and during the COVID pandemic.
If you die without a will, the Texas laws of Intestate Succession arbitrarily determines where and to whom your assets pass after your death. These arbitrary decisions may not conform to your wishes. To prevent these laws from taking effect, make sure you have a proper estate plan.
What Is Probate In Texas?
Probate is the process by which a will proceeds through the court system. Your will should identify a person that you trust to be the executor of your estate. After your death, your executor files an application with the court to admit your will to probate. Once the will is admitted to probate, your executor independently administers your estate with virtually little to no court intervention. Unlike many other states, Texas has a very simple probate process. A proper estate plan is essential for the probate process.
My Child Has Turned 18. What Documents Do They Need Now That They Are An Adult?
A person typically turns 18 sometime during their senior year in high school. You will always be their mom and dad, but at 18, your child is considered an adult. Once 18, one should have their own Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Medical Directive, and HIPAA Authorization.
A parent may assume that simply being a child’s mom and dad would give them access to their child’s finances and medical condition and permit them to make financial and medical decisions on behalf of their child, if something unexpected happened to render them incapacitated. A parent may assume that their child’s bank, school, or hospital will release information to them. This is not the case. As their parent, you must be their Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney. With respect to medical information, as their parent, you must a HIPAA Authorization to receive details of their medical condition.
My Spouse Has Children From A Prior Marriage. What Specific Concerns Should I Have About Estate Planning?
Blended families are common today. People with children from a prior marriage often remarry. In a blended family, it is vitally important to have a proper estate plan in place. Pursuant to the Texas laws of intestate succession, your children from a previous marriage, who are not the biological children of your current spouse, share in your community property with your current spouse when you pass away. That may be a big surprise to your current spouse, and may not reflect your wishes for your estate.
In these circumstances, it is very important to have a proper estate plan in place that specifically designates which assets your children should inherit and which assets your current spouse should inherit.
My Spouse Has Died. What Happens To Our Estate In Texas?
Texas is a community property state. With some exception, community property is property acquired during marriage. Upon the death of the first spouse, the community ends. The death of the first spouse also creates a partition of the community property. 50% of the community property passes to the surviving spouse and 50% to the beneficiaries of the deceased spouse’s estate. Often the surviving spouse is the sole beneficiary of the deceased’s spouse estate giving them 100% of the community property, but is not required. In drafting a will, a person may designate whoever will inherit 50% of the community property.
For more information on Proper Estate Planning In The State Of Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (210) 988-9005 today.
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