Who Needs a Will?
Every resident of Texas should have a will for two reasons: (1) a will ensures that property passes to the persons of their choosing; and (2) a will appoints an independent executor or executrix who can act free of court supervision, reducing significantly the time and expense of the probate process. Without a will, a person’s property will be distributed according to Texas law without regard to what the person would have wanted. And, even if the default law mirrors the deceased person’s wishes, the probate process is much more difficult when no will has been validly executed, because each step in the process will require court approval.
Naming an Executor
One of the most important provisions of your will is the naming of an executor. Your executor may be any individual or eligible financial institution you choose and may serve alone or with co-executors that you nominate. In addition to an initial executor, Scott recommends that you also name one or more successor executors to serve in the event the initial executor is unable to serve. Your executor need not be related to you or an expert in the law; rather, he or she must first and foremost be someone whom you trust to gather, account for and distribute your assets in the manner you direct in your will. Your executor will be eligible to receive compensation for serving unless you specify in your will that he or she is not to be paid. However, do keep in mind that a financial institution is unlikely to agree to serve as your executor without receiving compensation.
Disposing of Your Property
After choosing your executor, the next important decision you should consider is whom you would like to benefit in your will and how you would like the property to pass. Scott can counsel you in this process by asking questions such as the following:
- Are there any particular pieces of property, such as items of sentimental value, that you would like to pass to a specific individual?
- If someone is named as a beneficiary under your Will and fails to survive to you, where would you like such predeceasing beneficiary’s property to pass?
- Do you want your property to pass outright or through a Trust to your beneficiaries?
- If there is debt attached to a property, should the debt be paid from the proceeds received from the indebted property or should the debt be paid out of all of estate assets?
Every client’s needs are different, and it is difficult to provide an accurate fee quote for the preparation of your will without knowing your goals. Of course, there is also apprehension created by not knowing how much something will cost. To alleviate this anxiety, Scott provides all potential clients with a free initial consultation that creates no obligation on your part. Please contact Scott today to setup your free initial consultation.