Livens & Reed, PLLC

A will is a good place to start when estate planning

Most Texas residents and others living around the country don't often think about the time when they will no longer be around. While such thoughts are not pleasant, some individuals do consider how their loved ones will be provided for or the manner in which their assets will be distributed. Estate planning can be a complex, but necessary, process. One of the most rudimentary documents in an estate plan is a will.

While comprehensive plans may also include medical directives, trusts or durable powers of attorney, even the  most basic of estate plans have a will. A will is a legal document that identifies the people that will receive assets from an estate as well as how those assets will be divided. Every state has specific laws regulating this division of property. Certainly, the expectation is that anyone who signs a will has the capacity to do so.

If someone dies with no will in place, it is referred to as dying intestate. If this occurs, the individual state laws determine how the division of assets will be handled. Likewise, if a will does not specify who will administer an estate, the court will appoint someone. Some states do not recognize certain types of wills, such as an oral, or nuncupative, will.  Also, self-written, or holographic wills may not be enforceable in every state, and they are no longer honored in Texas.

It is very important to make sure that any changes made to a will are executed properly. Revisions should be made in all related documents, not only the will. Take care to also revise any beneficiary designations, insurance policies or retirement plans.

Regardless of income level or amount of assets, everyone wants their estate divided in a specific manner. To ensure that this is carried out effectively, it would be wise to seek the guidance of a Texas attorney familiar with the complexities of estate planning. A trusted lawyer will review a clients' situations, discuss their needs, then recommend the best plans to accommodate those goals.

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