A will, also referred to as a Last Will & Testament, is a document that gives instructions on how a person’s assets should be divided and debts paid after death. Every competent adult living in Texas should have a Texas will. If you die without a will, then your assets will pass in accordance with the laws of intestacy – which means that the State of Texas, not you, makes your estate plan.
In Texas, a properly drafted will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. It should be “self-proving”, contain an appointment of an independent executor and waiver of bond, and fully and completely address payment of debts and disposition of assets. Because the wording is so important, a Texas will should be written by a lawyer who is well versed in Texas wills, estate planning, and probate law.
A Trust is a document where you, as Grantor, give instructions to an entity or individual, the “Trustee”, to invest and distribute assets to individuals or charities. There are many kinds of Texas trusts. Each has a different goal, but contrary to what is often advertised, trusts should rarely be utilized solely to avoid probate in Texas. Examples of Texas trusts include:
- Life Insurance Trusts
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Family Trusts for the care of children
- Irrevocable Living Trusts
- Educational Trusts
- Bypass Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Pet Trusts
- Miller Trusts (Qualified Income Trusts)
- IRA Trusts
Hammerle Finley Law Firm has offered legal services in Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning and Probate Law for more than 35 years. Contact us for a full review of your current documents and to discuss your legal needs. We will help you develop an Estate Plan that is appropriate for you and your family.
Powers of Attorney and Ancillary Documents
Just as important as wills and trusts, which dispose of your property after your death, are those “ancillary” documents that provide for your proper care during your life. Every person who is at least 18 years old should have these instructions in place. They are vital if you become sick or unable to handle your affairs. A complete Texas Estate Plan includes the following documents:
- Texas Living Will (also known as Texas Directive to Physicians)
- Texas Durable Power of Attorney (also known as a Texas Financial Power of Attorney)
- Texas Medical Power of Attorney
- HIPAA Consent
- Texas Designation of Guardian
- Texas Directive Regarding Disposition of Remains
You can find an explanation of these documents on the “Estate Planning Lawyers” page of this website.
Hammerle Finley Law Firm has represented clients for more than 35 years inside and outside the courtroom. We provide effective, strategic, and cost-effective legal counsel so that our clients can focus on what matters most to them.
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