- Estate Planning
- Elder Law
- Special Needs Trusts
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A Will is an estate planning tool that allows individuals to determine how their assets are distributed after death. People often think they don’t need a Will because they do not possess a large estate. But regardless of the size of an estate, when an individual dies without a Will, the laws of the State of Texas will determine how property and assets are transferred, and that distribution may or may not align with the deceased’s wishes. For example, if a person is married and has children from a prior marriage, the spouse will not receive everything when he or she passes away. Instead, the children will receive half of the community assets, including the home. This may leave the spouse, by no intention of the deceased, in a precarious situation. To prevent such complications, a Will is essential. The drafting of a Will is a far simpler means of transferring assets in a way that upholds a person’s wishes upon death.
A Will also gives an individual the power to decide who will be responsible for administering his or her estate, which consists of gathering the assets, paying debts, and distributing assets pursuant to the terms of the Will. Some choose to appoint the spouse while others choose to appoint a trusted friend who can take charge during this time of grief. It is in this way a Will also plays a vital role in helping the family of the deceased to heal.
There is a never a wrong time to create a Will. It is commonly thought that an individual without a spouse or a couple without children are in no need of a Will because they “have no one” to distribute assets to. Whereas major milestones such as marriage, birth, divorce, or death, often trigger people to put an estate plan in place, it is always best to have a Will before a life-change event happens. Many are unaware that Wills not only take care of a person’s current family, but also the family to come, including after-born children. This is vital in the event of death before revisions can be made to a Will.
We, the Attorneys of Hayes & Wilson PLLC, like to meet with our clients for an initial consultation before drafting any estate planning documents. During this consultation, we walk through each client’s unique family situation, assets, and personal goals. We will then recommend the estate planning package that best suits his or her goals and family dynamic. Our estate planning packages are almost always a fixed fee package. This allows our clients to to go through as many drafts, ask as many questions, or take as many meetings before signing their documents without being concerned that the “clock is running.”
The final step is the execution ceremony. Each estate planning document, especially the Will, has specific signing requirements. It is for this reason an Estate Planning Attorney is so important in the preparation of estate planning documents. By conducting an execution ceremony, we safeguard against any future challenges to the validity of the Will.
When changes are necessary to an already existing Will, it is imperative that the original Will document not be written on. Doing so will not constitute changes, and the handwritten changes can invalidate the entire Will. The best way to make changes to an existing Will is to execute a Codicil (amendment to one or more parts of the Will) or to sign a new Will. Our Attorneys can draft Codicils to a Hayes & Willson PLLC-drafted Will or any other Will for a nominal charge. It is always best to consult an Estate Planning Attorney to make any revisions to an estate plan.
To create a personalized estate plan or revise your existing Will, contact us. Our Attorneys will carefully review your situation and draft an estate plan to meet your wishes and needs.