One of the most important – and dreaded – parts of estate planning is gathering all of the necessary documents to make sure no stone is left unturned. From birth certificates and marriage licenses to vehicle titles and tax returns, the number of documents to sort through can feel overwhelming. If you are beginning this process and you have discovered that you’ve lost one or more of your important documents, don’t fret – you are not alone. Today’s blog will focus on how to replace what you need in order to move forward in your estate planning process.
How to Replace Your Documents
The process for replacing lost documents depends on the type of document and the circumstances under which you need to replace them. Most commonly, in our practice, we meet with clients who have no idea where their birth certificates might be located. To start replacing a birth certificate, contact to Texas Department of State Health Services here. You can fill out a regular or expedited request to receive your birth certificate.
For marriage licenses, you must contact the specific court at which you obtained your marriage license. By searching for the court and contacting the court’s clerk, you can get copies of your marriage license mailed to you. For divorce decrees, the process is the same.
Replacing a driver’s license can be more complicated. To go about getting a new license, you must apply in person at any DMV office with a completed form DL-43. You will also need to bring documents that prove you are who you say you are – for example, a passport, a birth certificate, or another piece of paper that verifies your identity.
To replace a vehicle title, simply fill out the application on the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website and mail it in as soon as you have completed it. For tax returns, you can fill out the IRS Form 4506 and mail it to the appropriate IRS office (listed on the form).
It is important to remember that replacing these documents can take extraordinarily long periods of time. Unfortunately, when you request a replacement, you are at the mercy of the agency sending you a copy of your record. There is very little that can be done to speed up the process, and you should make sure you request the replacement in plenty of time so that you do not find yourself in a bind.
Have You Found Your Estate Planning Attorney in Texas?
At McCulloch & Miller, we have over 35 years of experience providing estate planning and probate administration services to Texans as they make their estate plans. While the process can feel difficult to navigate, with the right team of attorneys in your corner, you can make things as easy and efficient as possible. If you or a loved one is looking for an attorney to help you with estate planning, elder law, or the creation and administration of a trust, give us a call today at 713-955-7281. You can also fill out our online form to have an attorney reach back out to you as soon as possible.