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Posts tagged "Probate"

Probate is not always a bad thing

Many people in Texas who hear about wills or estates going through the probate process after a person dies automatically assign a negative connotation to this. However, probate is not always a bad thing and may even work in people's favor in some circumstances. Understanding probate and its potential pros and cons is important before making a final decision about an estate plan.

Gifting money to non-direct descendants

When it comes time to make a will or a trust or engage in other forms of estate planning, Texas residents who do not have children may face unique choices that require careful consideration. Some people in this situation may opt to donate money or other assets to one or more charities. Others might decide that leaving their estate and valued possessions to family members even if they are not direct descendants is important.

Pros and cons of probate

If you are like many people in Texas, you might automatically think that having your estate go through probate after you did is a bad thing and something you would want to avoid at all cost. However, this may not necessarily be true. It is also not true that every single asset you have would be part of the probate process. Understanding what may be involved in probate and the alternatives is important before making a unilateral decision about it and your related estate planning strategy.

Lack of clarity about man's estate plans

Most any Texas resident can benefit from a well-crafted estate plan regardless of their wealth or the size of their estate. That said, even when people have developed a will or a trust there may be questions left that family members and other heirs raise once a person has died. When a famous person dies, some of these questions may even become very public due to media coverage.

Upfront conversations may help estate planning

If you are like many people in Texas, the thought of discussing the contents of your will or trust with your beneficiaries may not be something you want to do. This can be especially tricky if you believe that one or more of your heirs may feel slighted in some way by your wishes. However, before you give in to the temptation to remain silent while you are still alive and let everything be handled after your death, think again.

Identifying the right executor for your will

When you are looking to create or update your will in Texas, you should give special consideration to who you name to act as the executor of your will. It is best to avoid the temptation to just automatically select someone very close to you. Your spouse, adult child or sibling, for example, may logically be important to you but that does not mean that they are best suited for this very important task. 

When a will can be contested

While you may assume that once your loved one has created a will, the final say has been made and all arrangements are concrete, the truth is that the validity and veracity of a will can be contested. One key to following the correct legal procedures is knowing when this can happen. This can help you determine whether you have the right to challenge a will’s validity, but can also help you understand the charges if someone else is questioning your loved one’s will. We at the Law Office of Randy Michel can help you present any evidence that supports the need to change a will or fight for the protection of a will that you feel is being improperly contested.

Understanding the generation-skipping trust

If you have been evaluating your options for how to evolve or update your estate plan in Texas, you no doubt have realized that there are many different types of trusts available for your use. Some have very specific purposes and understanding these is important if you are interested in maximizing your estate and beneficiary benefits.

What is a QTIP trust?

Have you gotten married for the second or maybe even third time in Texas? If so, you are certainly not alone as many other people find themselves in a remarried situation and part of a blended family whether due to a prior divorce or death of a spouse. There can be many positive things about this transition but it may also add a new layer of complexity to one's estate planning approach. 

QDROs and death benefits

Texas residents who are getting divorced certainly have many decisions to make about their divorce settlement. However, nailing down the particulars of a divorce decree is hardly sufficient and leaves many things potentially unfinished. For example, most married people name their spouses as their primary beneficiaries for things like life insurance or other survivor's benefits. They are also quite likely to be the primary beneficiaries of any assets in a will or a trust. So, when a marriage ends, it may be important that these documents and designations are updated.

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