Conventional wisdom tells us that a will is an essential legal tool, yet the majority of us postpone confronting this delicate and often stressful issue, sometimes indefinitely. The good news is that drafting your will with the help of a qualified estate planning attorney can be a fairly simple and straightforward process. To begin, you should know that a will is the foundation of any Texas estate plan and that due to the current estate tax laws, the disposition of a small or moderately-sized estate can typically be handled via a simple will.
Everyone benefits from the protection afforded by a will -- even a person with a small estate. This is chiefly because a will is much more than an allocation of assets. A will is your final voice, a way to elect who will carry out your wishes, who will take care of your children, and how important issues such as a minor's inheritance and the disposition of family heirlooms will be handled.
"Before our daughter was born, my husband and I hadn't even thought about writing a will. The older she got, the more we knew we HAD to do it, but we kept putting it off since it brought up so many difficult and morbid questions. Then, a friend recommended we talk to Brooke and that was it. She made the entire process simple, straightforward and so life-affirming."
We'll help you evaluate whether your estate planning needs should include tax planning and how your unique circumstances can be addressed with tools such as bypass trusts, disclaimer trusts, contingent trusts and special needs trusts. Additionally, your estate, if large enough, may justify the need for family limited partnerships, life insurance trusts or a regular gifting plan to take advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion.
In addition to giving your wishes the authority of law, having a will streamlines the probate process for your loved ones. Leaving behind an estate (regardless of size) without a will renders the probate process both more involved and more costly, and ultimately, without a will, the State of Texas will be the one deciding who gets your property and in what percentage. Having a valid and well-drafted will can protect your estate from unintended and unwanted problems such as having multiple owners to the same liquid property, which can quickly escalate to a sizable and painful family drama.