As many of our clients can tell you, estate planning in Texas is different than estate planning in any other state. Every state has its own laws and way of doing things, and it is important to understand your state’s policies as you undergo your own estate planning process. As experts in estate planning at McCulloch & Miller, we understand the system in Texas and its implications for our clients. Below, we review several state-specific estate-planning laws that could be helpful for you.
The Intestate Succession Process
In Texas, those who die without a will are generally subject to the intestate succession process. Essentially, this means that the court will divvy the individual’s money and property to the decedent’s closest family members. In our state, this means that the spouse inherits first. If there is no spouse, priority goes to the children. If there are no children, priority goes to the parents, then to the siblings. If none of these relatives have survived the decedent, the assets will go to the next of kin, whoever that might be.
If you purchased property with your spouse during your marriage, that property is considered “community property.” It will therefore go to your spouse upon your death. Property that you inherited (as opposed to having been acquired with your spouse) is often an exception to this rule.
Luckily, Texas does not charge a state-specific estate tax for those who die. There are still, however, federal taxes that are due on a decedent’s estate. These federal taxes can be complicated, and we recommend that if your loved one has recently passed, you speak with an attorney or tax associate who can make sure you meet the federal requirements for estate taxes.
The Probate Courts
We have reviewed the probate process several times on our blog, and we encourage you to go back and read those posts for clarity on how the probate courts work. In short, if a person leaves behind at least $75,000, that person’s estate must go through probate. There are different probate courts for different jurisdictions in Texas, and if your loved one has recently died, you must ensure you are filing in the correct court to avoid possible difficulties down the line.
Overall, estate planning in Texas can be tough, but with the right team in place to guide you, you can make sure that you have all the right tools in place to make sure you meet your goals and protect the ones that you love the most.
Are You Looking for an Estate Planning Attorney in Texas?
If you need legal services as you begin to sort through your estate plans in Texas, give our office a call at McCulloch & Miller. Our team has decades of estate planning experience, and we are proud to offer client-centered, robust legal strategies that support you and your family as you plan for the future. For a consultation with a member of our team, call us today at 713-936-9073. You can also fill out our online form and have someone get back in touch with you.