What is a Will?
A Last Will and Testament is often the primary estate planning tool used to transfer a person's assets at death. A Will is a complex legal document with strict formalities and legal jargon. For example, the person making a Will is commonly referred to as the "testator" and the people they leave their assets to are "beneficiaries."
But a Will is much more than a few pieces of paper. A Will is peace of mind. It's knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of when the unexpected happens. Every well-crafted estate plan should have a Will.
At Third Coast Law, we have experience drafting Wills for any size estate. Call today and let an experienced attorney help you pass on the assets you worked so hard to acquire in life.
Why should I have a Will?
While there are multiple reasons to have a Will as part of your estate plan, the main reason should be to keep the State from intervening in your estate and dictating who receives YOUR assets. In today's world, family structures and relationships are complex. The laws of intestacy are rigid and could easily leave any number of your loved one's empty-handed. Here are some of the main reasons people draft Wills.
People with minor or disabled children need a Will the most. A guardianship provision in your Will allows you to personally choose who will be your child's guardian. In Texas, minor or disabled children often have a guardian of the "person" and a guardian of the "estate." These specific types of guardians can either be the same person or two different people.
- The guardian of your child's person will take physical custody of your child and will provide food, shelter, etc. They will also make medical, religious, schooling, and other similar decisions on your child's behalf.
- The guardian of your child's estate will make solely financial decisions for your child. This is required when your child receives funds outright from the Will. It can also be an option if the person you want to raise your child isn't the most financially savvy.
Remember, without a Will containing a guardianship provision, your child's fate will rest in the hands of the State and its predetermined guardianship guidelines. Don't let the State dictate who raises your child, take control of the future and get started drafting your Will today.
One of the most appealing aspects of a Will is the ability to designate which beneficiaries will receive your assets. A Will may have as many different beneficiary designations as the testator sees fit. The testator can choose to give their assets to a specific person, like a spouse, or they can give them to a group, like their children.
Additionally, you can make specific bequests to individual beneficiaries while still giving everything else to another group. For example, you could give your diamond necklace to your favorite niece or give your golf clubs to your grandson. The amount of beneficiaries you have is only limited by your assets. It's your Will, be as creative as your want.
It's important to note that without a Will none of these bequests are possible. When you die intestate, the State decides who receives your property, in what order, and the size of their share. Don't let that happen.
A Will streamlines the probate process to be both cost effective and time efficient. Even the smallest estates can save thousands of dollars in probate by avoiding intestate succession. Having a properly drafted Will is a key factor in helping your loved ones go through probate with as few headaches as possible after the loss of a loved one.
Provisions in your Will selecting personal representatives, nominating guardians, and designating beneficiaries all cut down on the amount of court involvement with your estate. When it comes to probate, the less court involvement the better.
Ready to find out more?
Take control of your future and protect your loved ones. Give us a call at Third Coast Law and let's get started drafting your Will today!