Tarrant County Estate Planning LawyersAn estate plan is an important tool that everyone should have. It is not only a way to protect your assets and ensure they are used the way you want them to be, but it is also intended to give your family the peace of mind that their future will be taken care of. However, it is important to discuss your estate plan with your family before anything happens so that you can reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings or disputes. Here are some reasons why you should discuss your estate plan with your loved ones.

Preventing Discord and In-Fighting

It is natural for families to disagree on certain issues, especially when it comes to money and possessions. Without having a conversation about how these items will be distributed, disagreements can arise quickly and lead to discord among family members. By discussing your wishes with your loved ones ahead of time, you can help ensure that conflicts do not arise after you pass away.

Giving Your Family a Chance to Offer Input

Having an open discussion about your estate plan gives each member of the family an opportunity to voice their opinion on how things should be handled. This does not mean that those opinions will become part of the plan—it simply means that each person gets the chance to express themselves before any decisions are made. Opening up a dialogue allows everyone’s feelings and thoughts on the matter to be heard and respected, which can go a long way towards creating understanding between all parties involved.


Tarrant County, TX Wills and Trusts AttorneyA will is an invaluable resource in ensuring that the assets that comprise your estate will go to the individuals and institutions of your choice after your passing. If there is no will, Texas’ default rules—known as the laws of intestate succession—will determine which individuals will inherit your estate and in what proportions they will inherit. Generally, intestate succession laws stipulate that a deceased person’s estate will go to the decedent’s surviving family members, starting with their spouse and children.

In some instances, it might be acceptable to rely on intestate succession, thereby avoiding the cost and delay of probating an estate in probate court. For many people, however, a will brings both specific direction and peace of mind in the distribution of wealth, property, and heirlooms after death. A will is a powerful and flexible estate planning instrument that is capable of regulating many distributions over a long time in lieu of a one-time bulk sum. The intra-will device that allows for this is what is known as a “testamentary trust.” If you have young children or relatives, a testamentary trust is something well worth considering, as is working with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Planning for the Future of Young Children with a Testamentary Trust

Many generations from the 1980s to the present have made different career and family decisions than those made by previous generations. It is no longer uncommon for a person to wait until they are in their 30s or even 40s to begin raising a family. In other instances, there are children from a second or subsequent marriage to care for and support long after children from a first marriage have grown up, left home, and ventured into careers and family lives of their own.


Tarranty County estate planning lawyerThe process of estate planning can be extremely difficult for some people, as it is certainly not enjoyable to confront one’s own mortality. Of course, none of us is going to live forever, and with a comprehensive estate plan, you can provide your family and loved ones with security and peace of mind that extends well beyond your lifetime.

Some estate planning elements can be set up to take effect during your lifetime, if necessary, so that you can ensure that your affairs will be properly managed. Among these are powers of attorney, and they are often forgotten about by people who are not familiar with how they work.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf. In Texas, there are two primary types of power of attorney: general and limited. A general power of attorney gives the person you appoint (known as your "agent") broad powers to handle your affairs. A limited power of attorney, on the other hand, only gives your agent specific powers, such as the authority to sell your home or sign documents on your behalf.


Fort Worth estate planning lawyerWhen a person dies, the loss can be extremely difficult on that person's surviving family members and friends. The intense emotions associated with such a situation can lead a grieving loved one to act uncharacteristically and even to unnecessary disputes over a variety of considerations. One common point of a contention is often the decedent's will, and a contested will can create instability within the surviving family for many years to come, if not forever. If you hope to keep such a fight from dividing your family after your death, you might consider adding a no-contest clause to your will.

Understanding No-Contest Clauses

A no-contest clause, also called an in terrorem clause, is a provision that can be added to a will that threatens to disinherit any person who contests the validity of the document. The clause essentially says that if anyone challenges the will, they automatically forfeit their inheritance or receive a very small percentage of what was originally intended for them.

While the addition of a no-contest clause may seem like an easy way to prevent family members from fighting over your estate after you are gone, it is important to understand the various pros and cons before making this decision.


Fort Worth estate planning attorneyIf you own property in Texas, you may be wondering what a "transfer on death deed" is and how it works. The short answer is that a transfer on death deed is a relatively simple estate planning tool that allows you to pass down real estate property to a chosen beneficiary without having the property pass through the Texas probate process. This alternative to traditional probate can save time, money, and stress for everyone involved.

What Is a Transfer on Death Deed?

A transfer on death deed (TODD) is a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your real estate property to someone else upon your death. The TODD does not take effect until after you die, so you can change your mind at any time and revoke the deed.

In order to create a valid TODD in Texas, you must be at least 18 years old and the owner of the property in question. The deed must clearly describe the property in question and specifically identify your chosen beneficiaries. Then, it must be signed and notarized in front of two witnesses, who must also sign the deed. The TODD must then be filed with the county clerk's office where the property is located. Once the TODD is filed, it becomes a public record.



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