DON’T LOSE THE ORIGINAL WILL Wills only take legal effect when the person who made the will dies and the will is admitted to probate. Probate is a legal process where a court hears evidence to prove that the will is valid and should be given legal effect. Normally this requires that the original will ( not a copy) be filed with the clerk of the court. Most wills are self-authenticating, that … [Read more...] about What Happens If The Original Will Is Lost?
One of the more difficult decisions that must be made after the death of a loved one is whether or not to probate the will. For our purposes, assume the will was properly drawn under the Texas law. The person who made the will is known as a testator (male) or testatrix (female). The person named as the administrator in the will is an independent executor (male) or independent … [Read more...] about To Probate Vs To Not Probate – Should You Avoid It?
“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Dwight d. Eisenhower It is fitting that a quote from one of our greatest military leaders is the lead-in for today’s column. What Is The Pre-Need Determination Eligibility? Your government has made it easier for Veterans and their families to plan for VA burial benefits. Allow … [Read more...] about What Are Your VA Burial Benefits?
In my 40 plus years of practice the same misunderstandings keep coming up concerning wills. This article is to help clear up some common issues about how and when wills work. How Wills Work and When They Go Into Effect Wills don’t go into effect until the will has been admitted to probate. No other common legal document must be approved by a court to go into effect, but wills are the … [Read more...] about 6 Common Misconceptions About Wills and Probate
Trusts In Different States Many people get invited to well-intended financial seminars in which the presenters push trusts for everyone. Or they move from states in which they had a trust, and they think they need to replicate that estate plan in Texas. But in Texas, we don’t all need trusts like in other states. In many other states (like California), the probate system is more onerous than … [Read more...] about Do I need a Revocable Living Trust?
Unfortunate fact: your debts do not die with you. They continue to burden your property after your death. This is a big deal. Your creditors can go after the property that goes through your probate estate and the property that passes under beneficiary designation. It is fair to say that your beneficiaries or heirs take their share of your property under the threat that it may … [Read more...] about This Is What Happens To Your Debt and Assets When You Die