Does Your Estate Plan Reflect The Addition Of Your New Baby?

If you are preparing to become a parent for the first time, you are probably already dealing with an overwhelming and stressful experience because there are many things you have to get done. This also means there are some things you will have to put on hold while you prepare for the baby’s arrival.

Unfortunately, this means you will not have the time or patience to deal with things that should not be ignored. One of the important things you should not ignore is estate planning. There are some common estate planning mistakes that many new parents make, but you still have time to avoid these mistakes.

Not Making Changes To The Will

When the baby finally arrives, you should update your will as soon as possible. We never know when accidents can happen to us, and this is why it is important to add the new addition to your family in your will. If something was to happen to you, and your last will has not been updated to reflect your baby’s birth, your child may have to jump through hoops just to receive his or her inheritance. You can save your family plenty of headaches and confusion by updating your will after you give birth to the new baby.

Forgetting To Name A Person As the Legal Guardian

We do not want to think about leaving this world while our children are still at a young age. Unfortunately, this happens to many families. After you have a baby, you should always be prepared to ask a person you trust to be the legal guardian if something happens to you. The judge will have to give a confirmation of the person you choose, but your request for the legal guardian will usually be granted. We understand you do not want to hurt any of your friends’ or family members’ feelings, but you have to choose the best person you know who will take care of your children the same way you would.

If you are about to become a new parent, then this certainly is an exciting time for you. However, you should never overlook the importance of updating your estate plan to reflect your new family. If you need to update your last will and testament or your estate plan, contact us today for additional information.

What Is a Will Contest?

Estate litigation is a legal process that is performed when a dispute exists after a person dies. The total of that person’s assets, called their estate, is entered into probate, where the estate is collected and valued. Once the estate has entered into probate, anyone who has a claim against the estate—either that the deceased owed them money or that they disagree with something about the way the estate is managed—then they can take that claim to court. A will contest is when a claim is made against the deceased’s will, either to prevent it from entering into probate in the first place or to remove it from probate once it has already entered.

One of the most common reasons for a will contest is a lack of capacity. If someone thinks that the deceased did not have the mental capacity to create an accurate and aware last will and testament, they will contest the will in court. The other primary reason for a will contest is the suspicion of undue influence. If there is suspicion that the deceased was manipulated or misled during the production of the will, a claim of undue influence can be made, which would also lead to arguing the case in court.

Once a will contest has been made, court proceedings ensue similarly to usual, with lawyers arguing in favor of upholding the will and in favor of eschewing the will. If the will contest is successful, the will is ruled null and void.  If the contest is unsuccessful the will stands. Multiple contests can be made against the same will if there are multiple valid claims.

Contact us for more information about estate litigation and planning.

Using The Law To Ensure Your Last Wishes Are Met

Many people put off estate planning because of unease, but forming an estate plan gives you control, which is also valuable if sickness or incapacity prevents you from being able to communicate your wishes. Here are some tips recommended by CNBC when putting your affairs in order:

Seek Help: It is not difficult to leave behind instructions for one’s passing when using an attorney with a strong understanding of estate planning law, but mistakes frequently happen when couples and individuals try to handle estate planning alone. Having an attorney ensure that everything is legal and in order is the best way to make sure your wishes are met.

Be Specific:

You should not forget the little things when crafting your will or trust as many people forget items that are not always monetarily expensive, but have sentimental value. Emotions can run high when a parent dies, so children might fight over jewelry, cookware or cherished possessions because they want something special to help them remember mom or dad. Designating specific items to friends and family may prevent fighting later.

Communicate: Being specific is only helpful if people can read your last wishes, so make copies of wills and trusts or tell someone exactly where the documents are kept. If your loved ones are searching for the correct safe deposit box or scouring the attic for your will, there is no guarantee they will find your burial instructions or other important notes in time.

To discuss estate planning and preparing for your future and passing, contact us today so that we can help ensure your wishes are met.

Estate Planning Advice: How To Help Your Parents With The Transition

As we watch our parents and other loved ones become older, we begin to appreciate our own independence. When our parents reach a certain age and it begins to have a detrimental impact, it can be tough to come in and help them out.

Many children are hesitant about stepping in and becoming the parent to their mother or father. Not many children want to be responsible for estate planning, finances, and any short-term or long-term care arrangements. Often, older adults insist they do not need help because they do not want anyone to take over duties they have managed for their entire lives. In many families, no one discusses finances because the subject of finances is restricted in conversations.

Sometimes many families do not bring up finances or legal matters until a death or accident happens. However, the best time for parents and children to discuss these topics is when everyone is still living and able to understand the entire conversation.

We understand it can be difficult to have conversations like those, but they are necessary if you want to avoid any arguments or disagreements later. When it comes to finances and other topics of discussions, all sides can have varying opinions. Arguing will not help, and there is no need for anyone to insist they know more than the other. What is needed is valuable information, documents, and other support for your parents. Older adults need enough time to look through documents in order to make a decision and feel in control.

You should make sure your parents or parent has all the proper documents for estate planning, such as the following:

  • A Last Will And Testament
  • A Power Of Attorney
  • Living Will
  • A Trust
  • Insurance documents
  • Tax documents
  • Bank statements/other financial documents

The goal of any family discussion should be to gather and share as much valuable information as possible. You do not want to scare your parents or force them into making decisions they are not comfortable making. When you go through these steps with your parents, you will know what kind of information your children will need to take care of you.

If you need assistance in easing your parent’s transition, do not hesitate to contact us today.

Wills And Mental Capacity

Often, people have arguments or disagreements regarding trusts and wills is because they have concerns about the person’s mental stability at the time of signing these documents. It will not matter if there are any no contest clauses in the document, if it is shown that the signer of the document was not of sound mind and body, the document could be deemed invalid.

There can also be different levels of necessary mental capacity, depending on the kind of estate planning documents that are being used. When it comes to planning an estate, how mentally capable does a person have to be in the state of Texas? When someone signs a will, that person will not be mentally capable if:

  • He or she can not grasp the essence of the will or trust
  • Understand the relationship between the children, husband/wife, parents, and anyone else who is impacted by the estate planning documents
  • He or she has a mental condition that causes him or her to suffer from things such as misconception and apparitions

Regardless of what documents have been signed, a person has to understand what is being signed. They must fully understand what property and assets they have and what will be given away. They must be able to understand what the relationship is between themselves and the person who will be receiving their property.

The court will look at various factors to determine if a person is of a sound mind. The requisite capacity may not apply to every situation and every circumstance. The mental capacity of a person often decreases with age. As we know, many wills are written when a person has reached an older age.

If there have been any allegations of a lack of mental capacity of your loved one’s will, contact us today to consult with an attorney.

Why Some People Are Leaving Out The Kids When Estate Planning

Most parents in Texas would probably love to leave behind a large inheritance that leaves their children well taken care of in the future, but many seniors have a set amount of money that they must prioritize what to do with. Many retirees must make difficult choices with their savings while others choose to use their money in different ways.

According to CNBC, here are a few reasons why adult children are inheriting less from their parents:

Sparse Savings

Some retirees may have lost money in the economic crisis a few years ago while others have realized they need more money than what they have saved. Because of financial difficulties, some seniors cannot leave large gifts behind for their kids as they deal with living expenses and healthcare costs.

Spoiling The Grandkids

If retirees have assets to share when they pass away, some are deciding to give inheritances to grandchildren instead of their children. With more people having children later in life, grandparents might not get to have a significant relationship with their grandchildren. This gives a grandparent a way to make an important contribution to a child’s life, and grandparents can even include a note with trusts to share their wisdom about finances.

A Good Cause

Others may decide to leave money to a charity instead of their children. This is a chance to support a worthy cause that needs financial assistance, and one might want to donate money so that children are motivated to work hard since they are not taken care of by an inheritance.

Regardless of how you divide your assets and belongings, estate planning allows you to ensure that your wishes are met when you are gone.

Contact us so that we can help you when establishing or editing documents like wills or trusts.

Four Tips For Estate Planning Without Children

You may not want to think about estate planning yet but it is important to think about. It takes time to delegate how you want to settle your estate. Most people assume that they are going to pass all of their belongings to their children but what if they don’t have any (or their children don’t want it)? Where do you even start?

Here are some tips to planning your estate when you don’t have any children.

  • Don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings. If you don’t make a will, someone else will decide how your estate gets divided. Your family might not end up getting any of it. Do you really want to let someone else make the call?
  • Make a will and divide up your assets the way that you want. It is your choice and only your choice. Do what you feel is right.
  • Make gifts and charitable donations as you see fit. You can donate money to friends and family without getting taxed. You can help others with college the same way. You can also donate money to charities.
  • Choose advocates that you trust. You want people who will follow your wishes, even if they don’t agree with your choices. You will want to choose people who are younger than you so that they will be there to make decisions for you as you age.

It can be difficult to plan your estate when you don’t have children. You will have to think carefully about who you want to pass your money and belongings to. Don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings. That should not stop you from making a will. You don’t want someone else making the choice do you? You should also think about gifting some of your money and making some charitable donations. Also, you will need to think carefully about who you want to help take care of you as you get older. Pick someone that you trust. You need someone who will follow your wishes, even if they don’t agree.

Contact us for more tips on estate planning.