Houston Estate Planning Lawyer
Why Do I Need a Will?
At the time of your death, your estate goes through a probate process. If you have a Will in place, probate and estate administration are important legal matters for asset protection. Through this, your assets will be allocated to the chosen beneficiaries according to your stated wishes. This process is known as “probate.”
Regardless of your age, health, or wealth, it’s wise to reflect what may happen to your estate upon your unfortunate death. The critical element for any comprehensive Northwest Houston, Cypress, and Tomball estate planning is drafting a will. Our estate planning lawyer in Houston will be able to guide you throughout the whole probate process and provide valuable insights into various probabilities and options.
However, without an updated will, the courts will consider your estate to be “intestate” and have the authority to decide on the final distribution of your assets. Although the majority of judges decide to keep your assets in the immediate family, your estate will be prone to litigation and dispute from anyone who claims the right to be an heir. But our estate planning attorney at The Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, will get rid of that possibility.
Keep Your Will Up-to-Date
It’s not enough to write a will and forget about it for many years. Circumstances change. Keep in mind how the following events make your Will open to dispute:
- Divorce of an adult child
- A beneficiary’s death
- Planning of business succession and ownership
- Substantial increase in assets
These are all excellent reasons to make sure that your will is updated regularly. An outdated Will is more prone to probate litigation. And it can also cause almost as many problems for your surviving beneficiaries as no will exists at all.
One of the easiest ways to reduce estate taxes is to establish a living trust to distribute your assets even while you’re living or upon your death. More importantly, it assures that your property is distributed exactly as you wish. Our Northwest Houston, Cypress, and Tomball estate planning lawyer at The Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, has over 19 years of experience in providing legal advice and establishing living trusts, insurance trusts, and testamentary trusts to meet all our clients’ needs. Including the following (but is not limited to):
- Special needs trust – to make sure a disabled or ill loved one receives the optimum care you desire.
- Charitable trusts – to assure that your beloved non-profit organization or religious institution continue to receive your support, with a significant amount of tax savings for you.
- Living trusts – to ensure the distribution of your assets under certain conditions to family members.
- Qualified personal residence trusts – allow you to continue living in your house for tax purposes while diverting the property value into a trust account.
Plenty of families have frequently been coming at the Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, for their Texas estate planning and probate needs since 2001. It’s never too early or too late to begin protecting the success of your family today. Start by getting the right answers to your questions about how wills and trusts can help protect the security of your family – now and after you’re gone. Our most trusted and experienced estate planning attorney has been serving Northwest Houston, Cypress, Tomball, and Spring and helping clients in estate planning and probate matters all over Houston, Texas.
At our law office, we believe that a correctly drafted Will is significantly essential for you and your family. Your Will might be your family’s final message to hear from you. And whether your estate value is small or large, we don’t believe that a standardized form can express your wishes adequately.
Our Texas lawyer at Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, understands how important it is to draft a will. And we recommend that all our clients must take this step. You can identify who gets what by writing a comprehensive Will and removing dispute and uncertainty from the entire probate process.
Our attorney believes in speaking to you as an individual to get to know your situation thoroughly and your family’s needs. We will make sure you achieve all your goals and help you draft a Will. We will ask you a lot of specific questions during the process, such as:
- What are your estate planning goals?
- Which people and property should you wish to protect?
- Are there organizations that you would like to give donations to?
- Are there any family conflicts or negative results that you want to avoid?
Drafting a Will is a natural process. Many people believe in including a fully detailed list of your possessions and financial assets. But this is not true. We don’t need to create an enumerated list of all your commercial properties as these things can change throughout your life. Your will may be as general or as detailed as you want. Contact our attorney in Houston for more information.
Writing Your Final Message to Your Family
At The Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, we will help you avoid risks that may arise due to legal or family conflicts. We’re also going to help your family minimize probate time and its expenses.
Our estate planning and probate lawyer will explain the types of will that are more common in Texas, like:
- Simple wills: A simple will enables you to name an executor, express your wishes, and decrease the probate process’s time and expense. This type of will is suitable if you want to pass all of your assets to one or two heirs, and there are no severe family conflicts to consider.
- Complex wills: A complex Will may include the use of trusts, estate tax planning, retirement and life insurance claims, beneficiary designations, and provisions for other circumstances.
- Tax planning wills: This type of Will minimizes estate taxes. It can be used only to keep your family from selling assets like real estate just to pay estate tax.
- Wills with built-in trusts: This kind of Will is applicable if you plan to leave your estate to an heir who has special needs, who’s young, or is not mature enough to handle the assets. You can appoint a trustee on behalf of your heir to manage the property.
Factors to Remember When Drafting a Will
Our attorney at law at The Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, believes that writing the last will shouldn’t become an afterthought. It’s hard to think of a time when we’re not going to be here with our loved ones and friends. Considering what will happen to the property and assets that one has accumulated over a lifetime after they pass is somehow tough. Whether you have just retired or have just started a family, it’s essential to consider creating a Will. The legal documents will tell what happens to the property if an unfortunate event may occur.
In the last will, there are plenty of crucial details to include to make sure that everything runs smoothly once you pass away. The executor of the Will and the estate is someone who will take over the property through the probate process. He will ensure that everything is handled following the wishes expressed in the will. If, in the last Will an executor is not appointed, the state will select one. If possible, you must nominate a responsible executor to oversee the finalization of the Will.
Next, you should consider all of the assets and property involved in the estate, such as:
- Cars, home, and furniture
- Art and antiques
- Retirement accounts and 401k plans
- Term life insurance policies and stocks
Then, make a list of recipients, or anyone who is entitled to what is in the last will.
Finally, if it involves minor children, it is crucial to include who you wish to watch over the children if they pass away unexpectedly. It can be challenging to choose a guardian. However, these things need to be considered to avoid any confusion in the future.
Assisting Families With Will Disputes
Most people believe that leaving behind a testament and a Will ensures that their wishes about the distribution of their properties are followed after they pass away. However, if the Will isn’t appropriately drafted, certified, and witnessed, it is often unable to hold up in court, resulting in lengthy legal battles and will contests.
Types of Contested Wills
There are some reasons why a Will might be contested. Some common causes include:
- Estate Administrator or Executor –Everyone will appoint an executor or administrator to manage the estate while waiting for the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. If the executor isn’t qualified or doesn’t meet the executor’s requirements, family members and beneficiaries may contest the appointment of the executor.
- Cancellation of a Will – Proper estate planning means that many people will adopt wills long before they die. Although wise, this can cause problems if the heirs of the Will believe that their loved one revoked the Will before their death. The most common sign when someone revokes a Will is the adoption or signing of a new Will. Disputes are very likely to arise whenever more than one Will exists.
- Lack of Capacity – Heirs may contest a will if they think their loved one at that time could not create a will. Because a valid will requires sufficient ability, and when an individual who is found to lack the appropriate mental capacity at the time of execution would have their Will automatically revoked.
- Undue Influence – There are some cases where heirs may claim that their loved one executed a Will through another’s undue influence. This case means that the loved one did not take the Will under his or her own free will. And if that’s the case, then the Will is not considered valid.
How an Experienced Houston Probate Lawyer Can Help
If a will is contested, then it can easily lead to an emotionally lengthy legal battle. At The Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, our probate lawyer knows that you are going through a hard time. That’s why we work tirelessly to protect your best interests and handle your case as effectively as possible. Troy M. Moore has been helping clients in heirship matters and lawsuits for over 20 years. We can guarantee that the wishes of your loved ones are met. Call 281-970-8039 or email our law firm’s website to get started.
Contact our Cypress Location today at 281-970-8039 to learn more about how we can best represent you in heirship matters and lawsuits. Our office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We provide a free phone consultation to all prospective clients.