Planning ahead of time for what’s to become of your personal belongings and estate after your passing is a process that should never be overlooked. We understand that it may seem grim planning for who gets your jewelry, furniture, vehicles or other prized possessions, or how to go about deciding who should make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so yourself, but it’s smart to have your wishes arranged in the manner you want rather than having a court decide instead. This process is known as estate planning, and it’s important to ensure that you’re prepared for the unexpected.
Estate planning involves the legal distribution of personal assets and property in accordance with the wishes of whomever owns these items. This person is known as the testator. How the wishes of a testator will be carried out should he/she pass away or in some way become incapacitated through illness or injury is done through estate planning. It also includes establishing a power of attorney and the handling of other important legal documents involving how property will be controlled or distributed.
Estate planning is a very important legal aspect since it helps prevent courts from having to distribute personal items themselves, which could result in issues for the deceased’s family and friends. One of the most important subtopics of estate planning is the formation and execution of wills.
There’s a common misconception that only those who are wealthy or possess a large number of personal belongings should take the time to formulate a will. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as wills can include items of different types and value.
An executor can also be named in a will. This person will oversee how personal property will be distributed and can be a close friend, family member or an attorney of the deceased’s.
When preparing a will, an extreme amount of care must be taken to ensure that they follow the laws of the State of Texas in order to be considered legal. If a person passes away without having drafted one of these documents, then a probate court will do so instead.
Probate goes hand-in-hand with wills, as this process involves a court accepting the document and determining that it’s in good legal standing to be followed. This process typically includes confirming the will, paying any debts that the recently deceased owes and distributing property and/or money as written in said will. In Texas, a probate court is where these matters are conducted.
Probate will most commonly follow these steps:
- Filing a will
- Opening an estate in probate court
- Informing heirs that their matter will be handled in a probate court
- Having the will verified
- Determining the value of property in the deceased’s estate
- Paying off debs, such as taxes
- Handing out inheritances in accordance with the will
If you have any questions about estate planning or wish to move forward with the process with our help, then contact our estate planning lawyers in McAllen today.