Estate planning involves making a comprehensive plan regarding how you want your property to be shared in the event of your death. One of the most important parts of estate planning involves determining in advance the individual in charge of all your financial and medical affairs in case you are unable to make sound decisions on your own.
A good estate plan should clearly indicate how your property should be distributed after you die. This plan can include will, special deeds for your property or real estate, powers of your attorney, advance directives, and other important forms. Note that a real estate plan should be accurate and created in accordance with the relevant state law. This is the primary reason you need to hire an estate planning attorney in San Antonio Texas for legal guidance.
Estate planning starts with a will
Generally, a will sets forth all your intentions regarding how your real estate should be shared, who should become a guardian to your kids (minors) and other critical decisions. It can also reduce family conflict and significantly streamline probate. Probate is simply a court process of distributing a deceased person’s property to his or her heirs upon their death.
It is advisable not to assume that your spouse will inherit all your property after your death. In case you die before creating your will, Texas State law will determine the people to inherit your real estate and other assets based on blood relationships. Your heirs may include all your kids including those from your previous relationships. Also, your spouse, stepchildren, and probable friends could also be your heirs.
According to the Texas State law, your grandchild might not inherit your property unless your adult child (parent) dies before you. In addition to determining your heirs, the probate court also classifies your assets as a community, real estate, personal or separate. It is also important to note that dying intestate (without a will) can result in a costly and lengthy process. While a will is not a way to avoid court probate, it ensures that your assets will be inherited by the right people with very minimal involvement of the court.
Whether you have a will or not, some properties aren’t included in the court probate. For instance, bank accounts payable on death, retirement funds, insurance proceeds, and other similar assets will definitely pass to the beneficiary you indicated on the account or contract when you opened it. Besides, real property held jointly with a right of survivorship and joint bank accounts will pass to the other joint owner. Therefore, it is important that you check the beneficiary details on all your accounts and ensure it is up to date.
Other important issues that must be addressed in your estate plan include the advance directives, powers of attorney and special deeds. In case you become incapacitated, it is important to have the right person who can act in your best interests when it comes to managing your finances and medical details.