Contact Menu
Get trusted estate planning
and probate help by calling

Houston Texas Estate Planning Blog

What to expect when facing complicated estate planning

At Doehring & Doehring, Attorneys at Law, we understand that complicated estate planning needs tailored, creative solutions. That is why we work with our clients from the formation of an initial plan to the ongoing maintenance and updating that is typically necessary.

While every client is different, there is a relatively standard process. Knowing the general steps could help shape your expectations about approaching a complex estate plan. Please read on for a brief overview.

It could be time to take another look at your estate plan

If you are reading about estate plans, then it could be time for you to update or revisit yours. Texas law changes from time to time, and it is likely that your own family situation does the same.

It is rarely inappropriate to look at your plans for your family's future. However, there are some times when it could be even more important to analyze how your assets may behave and the potential consequences for your loved ones.

What does it mean to be a beneficiary?

After the death of a loved one, many Texas residents find it comforting to learn that their family member left something behind for them. In some cases, the assets could be of value, or they could be sentimental. Whatever the case, individuals are often keen on obtaining the bequests intended for them.

Of course, if you believe that you are a beneficiary, you may want to remember that there are different types of beneficiaries and that you may not necessarily stand first in line to obtain a particular asset. If the probate process for your loved one's estate is about to begin, you may want to know what that means for you as a possible beneficiary.

Should I be a personal representative?

If someone named you as their personal representative, it probably means that you held a position of trust. Your loved one probably had confidence that you would make the right decisions about the estate. However, the Texas inheritance process is not something you have to navigate by yourself.

Chances are it was not the intent for the execution of his or her estate to become an undue burden. Unfortunately, especially with complex or multi-generational estates, this could become the case if you do not approach the situation carefully. Generally speaking, the more people that are involved in an estate, the more complex and potentially contentious your resolution could be.

Which estates need probate in Texas?

You would not typically have to go through probate in Texas for estates worth less than $75,000. This is good news for people who qualify, as the loss of a loved one is devastating enough without adding the potential stress of the often-complex probate process. However, even if the value of the estate is under the limit, you may still need to do some legal work in order to make sure that you transfer the assets properly and incur the minimum tax penalty.

There are a few reasons why you would want to be careful if you were inheriting any amount of money. In the first place, the cap for small estates is relatively high; $75,000 is a good amount of money. Second, you would want to make sure everything is done correctly when you first submit your documents in order to avoid any delays in resolving the estate. 

The estate administrators role in the probate process

While some estates may be somewhat easy and straight-forward to settle, others might be more complicated. Estates that are forced to go through the probate process are often more difficult to handle, and require the assistance of an estate administrator. Some people appoint an estate administrator in their last will and testament; however, an administrator may be appointed by the court if one is not named. It is important to understand what the administrator does in the probate process so the right person may be selected for the job. 

Estate administrators are responsible for obtaining the death certificate. They must then gather the property and assets involved in the estate. He or she must safeguard the property from vandalism or theft during the probate process. The estate is then evaluated, appraised and given a value. Any expenses still owed by the estate, such as taxes, are paid out of this value. The executor may be responsible for preparing and filing the final tax returns. If there are any taxes owed, the amount can be paid out of the estate‚Äôs value. If a refund is granted, however, the money will get added to the estate and then distributed to beneficiaries. 

Don't let myths keep you from making an estate plan

If you are among the many adults in Texas who have not created an estate plan, you are not alone. In fact, most people die intestate, that is, without a will, leaving their loved ones to make assumptions about their assets and funeral arrangements. Even more upsetting are those situations where someone becomes critically ill but has left no instructions for medical care or last wishes.

The first step to making any important decision, including those decisions necessary for a complete estate plan, is to gain as much information as possible about your options. With estate planning, obtaining the facts you need begins with clarifying some of the misunderstandings you may hold about the process.

Should you inform your beneficiaries of your decision?

When you start to iron out the details of your estate plan in Texas, one of the steps you will take is to designate who you would like listed as beneficiaries. However, making this selection is not the last time that you will need to work with the people you have chosen. 

Your beneficiaries may appreciate knowing that you have listed them on your estate plan. Additionally, they may appreciate some general information about their role in your future and what they can expect upon your passing. ARGI reminds you that disclosing some information to the people you have listed as beneficiaries does not mean you have to provide all of the details. Keeping aspects of your plan personal is important to maintain confidentiality. Especially if you find the need to alter who you have listed as a beneficiary. 

Strategies for distributing your money when you die

What happens to all of your money when you die? If you have been thinking about this question, you are not alone. The truth is, there are many methods you could use for distributing your money before or after you pass away. Finding the one that works for you is really a matter of personal preference and financial stability. At Doehring & Doehring, Attorneys at Law, we are experienced in helping people in Texas to coordinate a customized estate plan. 

When you have made a decision about who you want to list as heirs on your will, it is imperative that you notify them. Involving your family members throughout your efforts to plan your estate is a valuable way to help diffuse contention or confusion about what it is that you want. Providing clarification can also prevent disputes from happening after you die. Depending on the method you have chosen for distributing your money and assets, disclose this information to the people who will be affected by your decision so everyone has a mutual understanding. 

Reviewing some reasons why probate disputes arise

Even when things move forward smoothly, the probate process can be challenging. However, it can be especially complicated to work through this process in certain instances, such as when a dispute arises. There are many reasons why probate disputes surface and we will explore some of them in this blog post. If you find yourself in the middle of a dispute, whether you are in charge of a loved one's estate or you are a beneficiary, it is pivotal to understand your options and try to resolve the dispute properly.

In some cases, beneficiaries accuse those in charge of an estate of failing to uphold their responsibilities. Probate disputes may also involve a disagreement over guardianship or the wording of an estate plan and its validity. In some instances, the chances of such a dispute arising may be especially high. For example, a dysfunctional family or siblings who have a long-standing rivalry may be more likely to dispute some aspect of their loved one's estate plan or the way in which it is being managed.

Contact Doehring & Doehring

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email us for a response

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

Phone: 866-456-2361
Fax: 281-497-8630
Houston Law Office Map