ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE
Estate Planning. Studies show that approximately 55% of Americans die without a Will or estate plan. If you don't make a Will, the state makes one for you. That means your assets and estate are distributed according to the generic laws of descent and distribution of the State of Texas. The top reasons given for not making a Will include:
~ I just haven’t gotten around to making one.
~ I don't think that making a Will is that urgent.
~ I don't think I need a Will.
~ I don’t have a Will because I don’t want to think about death.
If you want to ease the strain on your family members and make an active plan to direct your assets upon your death, at minimum you need to execute a Will. In addition to your Will, a more thorough estate plan may involve documents such as Trusts, Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Advance Directive, Declaration of Guardian, HIPAA Release, Disposition of Remains, deeds and assignments.
Probate is the formal legal process that gives recognition to a Will and appoints the executor or personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries.
If someone dies without a Will, their heirs may have to go through the Texas Probate Courts to determine the legal heirs and settle the decedent's estate. In most cases, this is a more tedious and expensive process than probating a Will. Save your heirs this headache and execute a Will.