Older Texas residents want to make sure that their families and loved ones are cared for after they pass away. In order to ensure that your spouse, children, and other loved ones receive your property and assets in accordance with your wishes, you’ll need to write a will. While a will is a relatively simple legal document, there are certain instances where you may want to hire a lawyer to assist you.
If you’re in the process of writing a will in Dripping Springs, Texas, it can be helpful to have an estate planning lawyer on your side. If you pass away in Texas without a will, your property will be subject to state “intestacy” laws. Intestacy laws automatically distribute property to your spouse and children and then to more distant relatives, if you have neither spouse nor children. If the court cannot find next of kin, the state can take your property. To ensure that your wishes are respected, it is important to have a will. The complexity of your will largely depends on your financial and personal needs. A local estate planning lawyer can ensure that your will is legal, properly finalized, sound, and that your will meets all legal requirements. If you need help with writing a will in Dripping Springs, Texas, Warren & Lewis is here for you. We ask the right questions, take the time to thorough document your property, and assist you in writing a will to give you the peace of mind that your family will be cared for when you pass away.
Will I Need an Estate Planning Lawyer to Write My Will?
If you’re writing a will in Dripping Springs, Texas, you’ll need to determine:
- How assets and property will be divided among your spouse, children, and other loved ones
- List all your property, possessions, and financial assets
- Estimate the value of your assets and property
- Designate an executor
- Decide whether to establish a trust
- Estimate taxes inheritors will owe and determine whether there are better methods to distribute property
- Determine whether you want to name charities in your will
- Appoint a guardian if you have minor children
Every well-written will has at least the four following components:
- A list of all property and assets and their values
- Names of beneficiaries
- Name of the executor
- Signatures of witnesses
There are other things you may also want to consider when writing your will. For instance, if you have pets, the state often treats pets like property, so explicitly outlining how you want pets to be cared for in your will is important. If you have a digital legacy or social media accounts, you may want to specify how you would like your digital legacy to be handled. Finally, you may want to speak to a local estate planning attorney in Dripping Springs, Texas. A lawyer can ensure that you list all property, that you have clearly named an executor, and that the ways in which you want your assets distributed have been clearly delineated. If you have minor children, a lawyer can help you make specific arrangements in your will to ensure that children will be cared for in the manner you wish. Without specifying your wishes in a legal document, the state may make decisions for you. For instance, if both parents die, the state first looks to a will to determine who will care for the children. An estate planning lawyer can also help you appoint an executor. While many families choose to appoint a loved one to play this role, this can strain family relationships during a tough time. A local estate planning lawyer can work with you to trouble shoot and help you navigate the sometimes complex process of administrating an estate. Finally, if you anticipate that your inheritors will face high tax bills, an estate planning lawyer can help you establish trusts or other instruments to lower this burden.
While the final will may look simple, many complex factors must be first considered. Having a legal, sound, and binding will can give you peace of mind and ensure that your family is protected when you pass away. Warren & Lewis are Dripping Springs estate planning lawyers who have over 25 years combined experience in helping individuals secure their families’ future.
Probate Lawyer in Dripping Springs, Texas
Probate is the process that takes place after a person dies to prove that the person has died and to then identify, value, and appraise property and manage an estate. The probate process ensures that all taxes and debts are paid before property is distributed to heirs. Your executor will file paperwork in court. If you have a will, the court will determine the validity of the will. A probate lawyer can review your will, gather together all paperwork, and walk you through this legal process so that it moves forward smoothly. In some cases, the appraisal and valuation process can be fairly complex. Determining the amount of taxes you’ll have to pay can sometimes also be a lengthily process. Some property is exempt from probate. A probate attorney can make sure that you don’t pay taxes on this property if you are legally exempt. During the probate process, a lawyer can also assess your debts and make sure they are paid. If you have a business, an LLC, or need a trust, a probate lawyer can also assist you. Before your property can go to your heirs, the following probate processes must be followed:
- Documents must be submitted to court
- Value of property and assets must be determined (appraisal)
- Debts paid
- Taxes paid
- Distribution of property based on will or intestate laws
In some cases, probate can be avoided. If a loved one has passed away and you have questions about probate, it is wise to speak to a qualified probate lawyer in Dripping Springs, Texas. Warren and Lewis are skilled probate lawyers in Dripping Springs with over 25 years of combined experience between them. No one wants to go through a lengthily probate process. Our firm can help you navigate the sometimes complex legal issues that arise during probate.