Tomorrow is never promised. Thus, a will is the most important thing any person with a family can have to protect their children and assets. A will is a document that outlines how your assets should be divided after death. More importantly, wills can be used to designate the "guardian" of minor children should something unexpected happen to you. When executed properly, a will can save your loved ones from added stress after you've passed on.
Intestacy – Avoid it!
If you die without a will in Texas (i.e. intestate) then there are already predetermined laws for distributing your assets. Intestacy laws are rigid and do not account for sentimental value. These laws do not allow your estate to pass down anything specific, like family heirlooms, to any particular person. They also don't allow you to disinherit anyone. Meaning you could find your property being distributed to the last person on earth you wanted to have it.
Furthermore, if you leave behind minor children, a judge will choose your child's guardian. Not you. Don't leave your assets and child's future in the State's hands. Avoid intestacy by making a simple will to ensure your family’s future goes according to plan.
The reason most young parents decide to make their first will is not because of the assets they possess. Rather, it’s because they want to make sure their minor children will be left in good hands. Choosing the person to make daily decisions for your child is an extremely important decision. Do you want a judge that knows absolutely nothing about your family to choose your child's guardian?
Of course not. A simple will is all you need to appoint a guardian. Pick the person YOU want to protect your child. Furthermore, wills are easily updated if you decide on a different guardian later. Begin taking the steps required to secure your child’s future by getting started on your will today.
A properly drafted will is necessary to avoid the pitfalls of a dependent administration and appointing an independent executor in your will is the best way to do that. An executor is the person in charge of carrying out your will's wishes. However, an "independent executor" is not the same as a regular executor.
An independent executor does not need judicial approval to carry out your will. Thus, saving your family countless hours of courthouse time. Without an independent executor, your family will find themselves walking into court before they can even distribute a coffee table. Here are some of the things an independent executor may do without judicial approval:
- Pay debts associated with the estate (including selling property needed to pay creditor's claims)
- May sue or be sued
- Operate a business that is part of the estate
- Make partial or final distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
Choose wisely when granting this role to someone. The powers of an independent executor are very broad. Furthermore, once appointed, they are almost impossible to remove.
It’s easy for people to postpone making a will because it costs money upfront. However, even the smallest estate will save on average an upwards of $3,000 by avoiding the court costs and fees associated with intestacy. Making a will isn’t about the cost today, it’s about making an investment in the future of your family.
Don’t let the state decide what to do with everything you worked for during your life. Stop procrastinating and start planning for the future today. Give us a call at Third Coast Law and let’s get started on a will to carry on your wishes long after you’re gone.
Ready to find out more?
Don't delay, call Third Coast Law today and get the conversation started about customizing a will to your family's needs.