Potential Probate Problems
After your passing, your assets will be distributed through a process called probate. A probate lawyer can file the necessary paperwork and make court appearances for your family. If you had your probate lawyer create a will and trust for your estate in Conroe, TX, then the probate process is fairly straightforward. Provided that your will is legally valid, your assets should be efficiently distributed in accordance with your wishes.
As the expert in this video explains, wills and trusts can help prevent potential probate problems. Without a valid will, your surviving family members may argue over your assets, which can delay probate, increase costs, and adversely affect familial relationships.
What Is a Living Will?
If you’ve consulted a probate attorney in The Woodlands, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of using a last will and testament to designate beneficiaries for assets and guardians for minor children. “Living wills” are completely different. A living will, also known as an advance directive, is a document that your probate lawyer can draft on your behalf. A living will goes into effect during your lifetime, rather than after your passing.
When your probate lawyer creates a living will, he or she will convey to medical or healthcare providers your healthcare preferences. This allows your healthcare providers and family members to identify the care you want to receive in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot communicate these wishes. For instance, you might decide to express a desire for palliative care, but that you wish to avoid extraordinary measures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Should your preferences change, you can revoke the living will at any time and create a new one if desired. Finally, never forget, an advanced directive does not override your stated wishes if you are awake and competent–it only affects decisionmaking when you are unable to make your own decision following a medical emergency.
Answers to Common Questions about Wills and Probate
Wills and probate are important aspects of the legal process involved in wrapping up a deceased person’s estate. Because going through and untangling an estate can be confusing, it helps to retain a probate lawyer near The Woodlands to walk you through the process. Having a probate lawyer handle the case can help you avoid unnecessary delays and minimize conflict. These answers to common questions about probate will help you understand what to expect.
How Do I Know If Probate Is Necessary?
Not all estates are required to go through probate. For instance, community property can transfer to a surviving spouse and life insurance proceeds can be paid to the specified beneficiary without probate in Texas. Small estates, in which there is no will and the value of the estate is less than $50,000, can often skip probate court, so long the beneficiaries agree on the distribution of property and sign an affidavit to that effect. Even if you believe you do not need probate court, it is still advisable to have a probate lawyer review your case to ensure the estate is being handled appropriately.
What Are the Different Types of Probate?
The most common type of probate in Texas involves the “independent administration” of the estate. During this type of probate, an executor who is either named in the will (or unanimously nominated by all beneficiaries) supervises the process of handling the affairs of the estate. Once approved as an independent administrator by the Court, he or she can act independently to pay outstanding debts, sell property attached to the estate, and distribute assets to beneficiaries without obtaining court approval for each step. The second kind of probate is the often maligned “dependent administration.” It is less common because it requires the court to become more involved in the probate process by approving actions by the executor each step of the way.
What Role Does the Will Play In The Probate Process?
An uncontested will can make probate simple if it properly provides direction for estate administration including authorizing an independent administration. If there is no will, or if the authenticity of the will is challenged, or whenever the beneficiaries dispute the terms of the will, then a probate lawyer can provide both legal direction as well as representation in probate court.
Tax Tips for the Newly Single
Divorce affects your finances in a number of different ways, including the way you pay your taxes. Before you decide how to file your taxes, talk to your divorce lawyer in The Woodlands to ensure you’re making the right financial decision and to avoid any complications. Oftentimes, I divorce lawyer will refer you to a certified public account for specific direction.
This video explains your options for filing taxes after you file divorce papers. If your divorce is finalized by the last day of the year, you can file as a single person. Your divorce lawyers should work out which spouse gets to claim head of household status, based on each party’s financial contribution. Child support and other post-divorce payments can figure into your tax filings as well. Your divorce lawyer can give you advice on tax filings to shield you from responsibility for your ex’s tax debts and complications caused by incorrect deduction claims.
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