Thorough Legal Advice For Wills And Probate
Planning for the transfer of one’s assets at death is one type of preparation for the future that many people put off. A person may be very responsible in almost every other way, yet neglect this area because it compels one to contemplate the inevitable. If postponed, however, you may lose the opportunity to set up a plan that will carry out your intentions and transfer your assets at death in the most efficient and effective manner.
At the law practice of Ruiz Law Firm, PLLC, we can assist you in all areas of estate planning and administration. We can ensure every detail is covered so you can leave the legacy you desire.
Texas Estate Planning
Attorney Ruiz and his staff can help you prepare for the future by exploring or revisiting estate planning options with you. For many adults, paying attention to proper estate planning is a smart way to ensure that your final intent is clearly followed in your absence. We can also help set up guardianships and trust instruments. Each state has its own estates or will and trust law; Texas rules are complex and it is critical to have a legal interpreter to help you make educated decisions.
Compiling A Will
Your will documents explain how you want your real and personal property distributed after your departure. The document should make arrangements for care and guardianship if you parent minor children. Your will should designate an executor, a trusted individual who will be legally responsible for ensuring that debts are paid and assets are distributed.
Generally, two witnesses are required for a valid will. However, Texas law includes provisions for unwitnessed holographic or handwritten wills though they often take longer to validate because a judge must verify the signature. In fact, the state permits wills without handwritten signatures, as well as spoken wills to bequeath personal property. However, there are tall hurdles that must be overcome to prove such cases.
You are not required to hire an attorney, but lawyer Ruiz will thoroughly review it if you already created one, this way you can be sure that the document is legally defensible and correctly written so that it accomplishes your intentions.
Probate To Settle An Estate
Even if you do formulate a will, your estate might have to go through probate to ensure that debts and taxes are settled, money owed to the estate is collected and assets are distributed, though it is possible to avoid the process in Texas if all property passes to a spouse, or if it already has been distributed via trusts, property transfers, joint ownership or payable on death accounts. Estates worth less than $50,000 do not have to be probated, either. Having lawyer Ruiz to help you and your family navigate this process will give you peace of mind so you can focus on those you are planning for.
Attorney Ruiz would be happy to help you organize your affairs and has extensive experience handling these areas:
Power of attorney – Granting a power of attorney enables a designated person to address your personal and business affairs if you are incapable of handling them, you can limit the power to any particular matter or a set of powers. The power of attorney document can limit your appointee to transacting everyday financial matters such as banking and bills, or allow broad authority such as disposing of or purchasing assets. No matter which you choose, you should make sure that you and your appointee thoroughly discuss their duty of loyalty and confidentiality issues. Additionally, you can craft a medical power of attorney that will allow an appointee to make health care decisions if you become incapacitated.
Health care decisions – There is a legal mechanism to ensure that you receive the medical care you desire, and no treatment beyond that if you are unable to make your wishes known. Texas recognizes two types of documents in such situations: Advance directives outline what type of medical measures you desire and under what circumstances, while a health care proxy appoints someone to make decisions if you are unconscious or comatose.
Funeral arrangements – Using a will or letter of final instructions allows you to specify your final wishes; perhaps you do not desire funeral services or maybe you wish to be cremated. If you have registered as an organ donor, be sure that your loved ones are aware of your decision. Prepaid funeral arrangements can assist survivors financially, but complications crop up if the mortuary has ceased operations or payments have not accounted for inflation. Consider a trust instead.
Addressing estate tax minimization will not be necessary unless your assets are valued at more than $5 million. If you are the owner of even a small business, creating a succession plan will facilitate continuing smooth operations after your death. A life insurance policy can allow a surviving spouse to have financial breathing space; placing the life insurance in a trust will help avoid taxes. You can ensure that your pets are cared for in your will as well.
Questions About An Estate? Contact Us Now.
Our extensive knowledge of wills, probate and everything related to estates can help bring you peace of mind. Call us today at our Pearland office at (832) 770-8091 or send us a message through the website.