What Are the Most Important Parts of an Estate Plan?

A last will and testament may be the first thing you think of in terms of estate planning, but other documents are just as important. In addition to a comprehensive will, your estate plan documents should include, at a minimum, a durable power of attorney and an advance directive for health … [Read more...]

What Is Estate Planning and Why Do I Need It?

Estate planning is not just for the old and wealthy. Even if you are young and have just a few assets, an estate plan can help minimize taxes, provide for yourself and loved ones and ultimately distribute property according to your wishes when you’re gone. As your wealth grows, you can adjust your … [Read more...]

Will My Ex Inherit My Estate If I Die Before Changing My Will?

The short answer to this question is probably not. If you executed your will while you were married and subsequently got a divorce, gifts in your will to your ex-spouse are considered void, along with any appointment as executor or trustee. Void gifts are treated as lapsed bequests, and the property … [Read more...]

Which Do I Need — A Will or a Living Trust?

The short answer is both, because each document serves a different purpose.  Though we’d rather not dwell on the fact that death is inescapable, there is great peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order. Every person, regardless of age, should be proactive and make plans for the future … [Read more...]

What Happens When You Probate a Will in Texas?

When a loved one dies, there are several things that must be done. One of the most important tasks to attend to is your loved one’s will. In Texas, as in most other states, a will must go through probate in order to determine its validity, a process that can take several months or longer. The … [Read more...]

What is a “Bypass Trust” in a will?

A bypass trust is an estate planning tool employed by married couples who wish to take advantage of both of their estate tax exemptions, thereby saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal estate taxes.  While the federal estate tax is currently non-existent, it is safe to assume that the … [Read more...]

Where is the Best Place to Keep a Last Will and Testament?

Now that your will is finished, you can stop thinking about dying.  As happy as you may be to have the task behind you, the refrigerator door is no place to mount your accomplishment.  Take care to leave your will (and the other documents you have hopefully prepared as part of your comprehensive … [Read more...]

What assets do and do not pass under a will?

In Texas, there are two types of assets - probate and non-probate assets.  Probate assets are assets that pass under a person's will.  Non-probate assets do not pass under the terms of a will, but instead pass under other terms.  For example, non-probate assets may pass under a beneficiary … [Read more...]

What Do I Need for a Comprehensive Estate Plan?

Mention the words “estate planning” and most people think of a will.  That’s the same thing, right?  Not by a long shot, if you want to cover all the bases.  A will does no good if you are temporarily or permanently disabled or incapacitated.  You need additional documents to make sure your wishes … [Read more...]