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Houston Texas Estate Planning Blog

What mistakes can be made when writing your will?

You are knee-deep in the process of writing a will and planning your estate and things are only getting more confusing. As you prepare to pick apart your future and create a plan for the rest of your life, it is important that you do things the right way. When you are writing a will in Texas, failure to pay attention and follow the rules can negate your will entirely or leave parts of it open to individual interpretation. Your awareness of common mistakes that people make when writing a will can help you to avoid the same missteps as you coordinate your future plan.

According to nasdaq.com, financial advisors report that when mistakes are made, you could be left with consequences that cost a lot of money and time to correct. Additionally, if the outcome is not what you had envisioned, you could be dealing with heartbreaking consequences despite your efforts to have a will in place. As you begin articulating your final wishes, consider these tips along the way: 

  • Should you ever come across a clause that you would like to modify and update, make sure you do it right away. Assuming that your wishes will be honored if they are not in writing can be exceptionally risky. 
  • Remember that you are signing a contract when you sign your will. If you wish to make changes to the names listed as your beneficiaries, it will need to be approved by a legal professional. 
  • All of the details that you wish to be known must be written out in your will. The more concise you are, the less that is left up to individual discretion. 

Independent vs. dependent probate administration in Texas

Perhaps you are leery of having your Texas estate go through probate after your death. At Doehring & Doehring Attorneys at Law, we understand the nuances of probate, and often advise our clients of their options for minimizing the time and expense of this process.

Texas offers two different ways for an estate to go through probate. The court takes an active role in overseeing the process during dependent administration. If you believe one of your heirs may challenge the will, or you have some complex instructions, having that supervision is advisable. 

The role of an executor: Are you a candidate?

Your friend has come to you and said that he would like to name you as the executor of his Texas estate. This sounds like a big deal, and you feel flattered, but is it a role you should accept?

Read on for details about what your duties will be if you agree.

Removing a beneficiary from your will

There are times when difficult decisions may need to be made with respect to a will, from deciding who to name as the executor to figuring out how to distribute your assets among loved ones. Moreover, this can be a highly emotional time and some people simply are unsure of which route is best. Furthermore, there are a number of circumstances, such as the end of a marriage, which can lead to significant changes with respect to a will. For example, you may want to remove certain beneficiaries following your divorce.

First of all, it is important to keep in mind that the laws are different from one state to the next and some people may not be able to remove someone from their will. In the event that someone decides to move forward and take someone out of their will, it is essential to carefully approach the process and make sure that every base is covered. In some instances, removing a beneficiary can lead to a sense of relief knowing that property will be distributed according to one’s wishes.

The Texas statutory durable power of attorney form

There may come a time when you need someone in Texas to take on some of your financial responsibilities. The cause could be a trip out of the country, incapacitation because of a car accident or even age and dementia. We at Doehring & Doehring Attorneys at Law understand that designating fiduciary representation is an essential component of estate planning.

According to the Texas Estates Code, you may fill out a statutory durable power of attorney form to designate an agent to perform certain functions on your behalf. This particular power of attorney does not include medical or other health care decision-making authority. The form does have many options for you to choose, and your agent will have only the specific powers that you initial on the form. These include transactions involving real and personal property, retirement plans, estate planning, insurance, annuities, stocks and bonds, commodities and options, and business matters. You may also have your agent deal with matters involving the following:

  • Taxes
  • Family and personal maintenance
  • Banking and finances
  • Litigation and claims
  • Income benefits from government programs such as Social Security and Medicare

The pros and cons of probate

Probate is a mysterious process to many people. Most do not like to consider the end, and therefore only get involved in the probate process after the passing of an elderly parent or relative. Depending on how that person left their earthly affairs, the process can be seen as a minor inconvenience or an onerous burden.

The truth is that whether or not you should avoid probate depends on your circumstances, your preparation and ultimately your goals for leaving a legacy.

Have you reviewed your will recently?

Estate planning is a complex subject, and there are many different issues that converge to make your estate. However, if there is one central point to all of these entangled matters, it is the will. Your will is incredibly important and it provides the backbone to your entire estate. Without one, your estate may be in disarray and your beneficiaries may not receive what you want them to receive. Even with one, you need to update it frequently, lest you risk the provisions and information contained within the will no longer being accurate.

So this begs the question: when should you update your will, and what reasons or life events warrant a review of your will? There are many to choose from, so let's look at a few:

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Doehring & Doehring Attorneys at Law
2000 S. Dairy Ashford Street, Suite 298
Houston, TX 77077

Phone: 866-456-2361
Fax: 281-497-8630
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