There are many legal strategies involved in estate planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care documents. New clients often say that they do not have an estate plan. Most people are surprised to learn that they actually do have a plan. In the absence of legal planning, their estate will be distributed after death according to the Texas laws of intestacy. Of course, this may not be the plan they would have chosen. A properly drafted estate plan will replace the terms of the State’s estate plan with your own.
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Your Last Will and Testament:
Your last will and testament is just one part of a comprehensive estate plan. If a person dies without a will, they are said to have died "intestate" and State laws will determine how and to whom the person's assets will be distributed. Some things you should know about wills:
A will has no legal authority until after death. So, a will does not help manage a person's affairs when they are incapacitated, whether by illness or injury.
A will does not help an estate avoid probate. A will is the legal document submitted to the probate court, so it is basically an "admission ticket" to probate.
A will is a good place to nominate the guardians (or back-up parents) of your minor children if they are orphaned. All parents of minor children should document their choice of guardians. If you leave this to chance, you could be setting up a family battle, and your children could end up with the wrong guardians.