Dallas Estate Planning Attorneys
Make the Right Choices for Yourself & Your Family
Following every major life event, such as divorce, a new will may be necessary to address one’s new legal status or new family dynamic. Because death is invitable, you should make plans regarding how your estate and belongings will be distributed after your death. Pre-planning allows you to take control of the welfare of your heirs. A will, or a trust, can give you the peace of mind that your property divided according to your wishes.
Prepare for your future today. We can help you with:
- Simple wills
- Simple estates
- Powers of attorney
- Medical powers of attorney
- HIPAA authorizations
- Directives to physicians
- Living wills
If you executed a Last Will & Testament before your divorce, it is essential that you obtain an updated Last Will & Testament to reflect the significant change in your marital status. The lawyers at The Branch Law Firm in Dallas are experienced in drafting the detailed documents that you need to ensure that your property goes to your lawful heirs.
Call (469) 299-5944 to schedule an initial consultation with our lawyers.
What Happens if you Die Without a Will in Texas?
In Texas, death without a will is called intestate. If you do not have a last will and testament, the state law decides who inherits your estate and how your possessions are distributed.
The Advantages of Having a Will
Rather than leaving your property to chance, an up-to-date last will and testament:
- Allows you to decide who inherits your possessions and property
- Allows you to identify who receives particular items in your estate
- Allows you to select the person who oversees your estate after your death
- Allows you to develop a plan to reduce tax consequences for your heirs after your death
- Saves your estate the unnecessary expense and complications of a court-administered probate
What is the Probate Process in Texas?
Probate is the legal process of presenting the written wishes of a person who has died to a court for filing as the "last will and testament." Probate also refers to the method by which an estate is administered and processed after one's death, even when there is no will.
Probate gives an executor or an administrator the authority to transfer and distribute the deceased's estate in an orderly and supervised manner. The probate process includes naming the executor or administrator for the estate, identifying the heirs, notifying the creditors, creating an inventory of the estate, paying debts, distributing and transferring the deceased's property to the heirs, and closing the estate.
A deceased's estate can be complicated by any number of factors, such as:
- A claim of common law marriage
- A child born outside of marriage
- An improperly written will
- A marriage after a will was written or a will that fails to dispose of all of an estate
What Are the Four Basic Types of Wills?
- Simple wills - these are the most common types of wills and are needed to distribute simple assets from the estate to the beneficiaries. These wills are called "simple" because they deal with assets that are uncomplicated. They must be in writing and should be typed instead of handwritten.
- Testamentary Trust Wills - these wills differ because they include provisions that place a fraction of your estate into a trust. Based on the terms, the assets are dispersed to their beneficiaries through a trustee who controls the account.
- Joint Wills - These are commonly utilized for spouses who wish to leave property to one another after one of them is deceased. A joint will may not be revoked once one of the testators passes away.
- Living Wills - the purpose of a living will is to provide instruction on how they want to be treated medically. For example, they will decided whether or not they wish to be on life support, or even what types of medications they refuse to take.
What Would Make a Will Invalid?
There are several errors that can be made to make a will invalid:
- The will was not attested by at least two witnesses.
- The will was not signed by the testator. The testator is the person who is creating the will, thus it must be signed by them. In some cases, a thumb print may be sufficient.
- The will was created by forgery, fraud, or coercion
- The testator created the will out of unsound mind
- The testator was under the age of 18 or forgot to include the date of creation
Enlist Experienced Help Building Your Estate Plan
You deserve a compassionate, knowledgeable attorney to answer your questions and advise you on complex legal issues, explain your rights, and take you through each step of the process during your time of grief. Contact the estate planning and probate attorneys in Dallas at The Branch Law Firm when you need experienced counsel on your side.