Estate planning is the process of organizing and preparing for the distribution of your assets after death. It is an important task because it helps ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are provided for after you're gone. With the proper estate planning, most Texas families can ensure their loved ones can skip the cost and headache of probate all together.
Depending on your personal needs and goals, the estate planning experts at Dustin Whittenburg & Associates will help you decide if a Last Will and Testament or Trust are best for you.
A living trust and a will are both legal documents that help you plan for what will happen to your assets after you die. However, there are some key differences between the two:
Time of Effectiveness: A will typically only takes effect after you die, while a living trust takes effect as soon as it's created and funded.
Probate Avoidance: A living trust can help you avoid the probate process, which is a court-supervised process for distributing a deceased person's assets. On the other hand, a will must go through probate.
Privacy: Probate is a public process, which means that the details of a person's will, including their assets and who they've chosen to inherit them, become a matter of public record. In contrast, the details of a living trust remain private.
Flexibility: A living trust can be amended or revoked at any time while you are alive and competent, whereas making changes to a will typically requires creating a new will.
Control: With a living trust, you can specify exactly how and when your assets should be distributed, while a will only gives directions to the court on how to distribute your assets after you die.
Dying without a Will in Texas
When a person dies without a will in Texas, it is referred to as dying "intestate." If a person dies intestate, their property is distributed according to the laws of intestate succession in Texas.
Intestate succession determines who will inherit the deceased person's property. The laws of intestate succession give priority to the deceased person's closest relatives, such as a spouse and children. If the deceased person has no close relatives, their property will pass to more distant relatives or to the state.
Dying without a will in Texas also increases the time it will take for your loved ones to access any assets you have left them and often doubles the cost of probate.
In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed a law commonly referred to as the Texas Real Property Transfer on Death Act. The passage of this law allows people to designate the transfer of property to others without a Will or without the probate process. Filing a Transfer-on-Death Deed allows you to remove one of your larger assets from the probate process and protect it from creditors.
Talk with Dustin Whittenburg & Associates about adding Transfer-on-Death Deeds to your estate planning portfolio.
Importance of Estate Planning
Estate planning is an important step for everyone, regardless of age or wealth, to ensure that their assets are protected and their loved ones are taken care of after they're gone. Don't leave your estate planning to chance. We see the pain and strife lack of planning causes for families all too often. Create your estate plan and enjoy knowing your passing won't cause any more grief than necessary for your family and loved ones.
Here are some reasons why estate planning is important:
Protect your assets: Estate planning can help protect your assets from taxes, creditors, and other claims. This can ensure that your assets are passed on to your beneficiaries as intended.
Provide for loved ones: Estate planning allows you to specify how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. This can provide peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of.
Avoid probate: Estate planning can help avoid probate, which is a court-supervised process for distributing your assets after death. Probate can be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful for your loved ones.
Appoint a guardian: If you have minor children, estate planning allows you to appoint a guardian to care for them if you're unable to. This can provide security and stability for your children if the worst were to happen.
Plan for incapacity: Estate planning can also include planning for the possibility of incapacity. This can involve appointing a trusted person to make financial and medical decisions for you if you're unable to.
20 Years of Helping Texans Plan for Their Future
Schedule Your Appointment
Interested in estate planning, having a Last Will and Testament created, forming a trust or simply in need of a Transfer-On-Death Deed filed?
Call The Law Office of Dustin Whittenburg at 210.826.1900 or submit your request by clicking the button below.