At McCulloch & Miller, we often speak with clients who struggle to find the motivation to begin their estate planning processes. Once we make clear to these clients just how important estate planning can be in Texas, their interest grows in getting started as soon as possible. With so much on the line, we try to emphasize to our clients that estate planning does not have to be difficult but that it is still an extremely important process that deserves their full attention.
What Is Estate Planning?
Importantly, estate planning is not only the process of creating a will. Estate planning allows you to protect your property and ensure that your assets are distributed exactly as you want them to be distributed in the event of your death. Estate planning can include drafting wills, establishing trusts, naming beneficiaries, and designating a power of attorney in case of incapacitation. Estate planning can also help you figure out how to save money on taxes, which benefits you in the present as well as your loved ones in the future.
What Happens Without an Estate Plan?
In Texas, when a person dies, his or her loved ones must go through the probate process so that a court can determine how to divide up his or her assets. Without estate planning documents on hand, this process can be costly, drawn out, and draining. The lack of a solid estate plan can also lead to high levels of tension among family members while the court tries to determine how to divide the decedent’s money and property.
If you do not leave behind a will or trust that organizes your assets, the court will divide up all that you own according to your next of kin. Your spouse will likely be the first to receive your assets, but if you are unmarried, the assets could go to your parents, siblings, or children, depending on who you have left behind.
The more complex your assets, the more complex the probate process will likely become. For example, if you own property with your spouse, that property will likely go entirely to your spouse upon your death. If you own property with a spouse and others at the same time, it might be complicated for the court to decide how to distribute your share of the property. By creating a thorough estate plan, you can get ahead of the curve and make sure you know exactly what will happen to your property upon your death.
Debts are also part of a person’s estate plan, and your loved ones will also be left to deal with your debts when you are gone. Thinking ahead about how to minimize those debts and minimize your loved ones’ responsibility for them can only be beneficial to your friends and family.
Are You in Need of an Estate Planning Attorney in Texas?
At McCulloch & Miller, we specialize in elder law, trusts, and estate planning in Texas. We help ensure that our clients’ futures are secure, because we care deeply about our clients’ (and their families’) wellbeing. For a consultation with a member of our team, call today at 713-936-9073. You can also fill out our online form to tell us about yourself and have someone reach back out to you as soon as possible.