Taking the time to plan ahead for what’s to become of your personal belongings after your passing is a process that should never be overlooked or ignored. We understand that it may seem grim to plan 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.
However, taking the time to make these tough decisions is a must and it’s smart to have your wishes arranged in a manner that you want rather than having a court decide. This process is known as estate planning, and it’s important to ensure that you’re prepared today. Our estate planning lawyers in McAllen are ready to sit down and guide you through the process.
What is it?
Estate planning involves the legal distribution of personal assets and property in accordance with the wishes of whoever 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 all fall under the umbrella of 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 area since it helps prevent courts from having to distribute personal items, 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. Our McAllen lawyers are well-versed and experienced in this field, so know that you’ll be guided throughout the process.
One of the most common misconceptions that we see and hear of in the estate planning business is that only the wealthy can or should draft a will. This couldn’t be further from the truth since wills can include items of different types and value. This means that your collection of clothing, comic books, jewelry, baseball cards, etc. can all be listed in a will.
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 one of our McAllen estate planning lawyers.
When preparing a will, an extreme amount of care must be taken to ensure that the laws of Texas are followed. If a person passes away without having drafted one of these documents, then a probate court will do so instead. Unfortunately, this means that your loved ones and friends may or may not receive certain items that you’d want for them to inherit.
Probate goes hand-in-hand with wills since 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 as requested in the will
Start Planning Today
If you’re in need of a seasoned team of estate planning lawyers in McAllen to help you draft a will or other important legal document, then contact us today.