Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning
Estate planning can be complicated. If you are thinking about establishing an estate plan, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are answers to some we get asked frequently.
What Happens If I Die Without A Will In Texas?
- With a will you have control of how your assets are distributed.
- If there is no will, the Texas Estates Code decides who gets your assets. If there is no will, you will not have a say in who inherits your property.
What Is The Difference Between A Will And A Trust?
Wills and trusts are part of an estate plan. The will is the legal document that allows the owner of assets to dictate who gets them after they die. Trusts are legal arrangements that allow a trustee to hold legal title to the property for someone else. There are basically two types of trusts: revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts.
- Revocable (living trusts). Assets remain in the grantor’s estate. Terms can change at any time and beneficiaries and how the trust is managed can also change. Assets are not shielded from creditors. When the owner dies, assets in the trust can have both state and federal taxes.
- Assets move out of the estate. They are binding and cannot be changed as soon as they are signed. They offer tax shields for the benefactor.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal process courts used to administer estates. It is used to recognize and validate a will and appoint an administrator. You cannot represent yourself in Texas probate and you must have legal counsel.
Why Do I Need Estate Planning?
If you have a large or small estate, having an estate plan in place can prevent many problems. Wills must be validated within four years of the date of the death.
A well-planned estate plan can help you:
- Choose who you want to make health care directives and legal decisions for you
- Name a guardian for your children who are under the age of 18 and any family member who might need ongoing care
- Name an executor who can manage your assets and control how your assets are distributed
Call Us For A Free Initial Consultation
If you have questions about estate planning, contact our experienced estate planning attorneys at our Cypress offices. Call 346-327-9500 or email us.