Wills

Wills

Making Sure Your Final Wishes Are Realized

A last will and testament is probably the most common form of estate planning. A last will and testament is typically a type-written document singed in-front of a Notary Public stating your wishes regarding disbursement of assets. Wills allow you to:

  • Designate who receives your assets
  • Designate who will oversee your estate (Executor)
  • Provide for certain life scenarios like a child preceding you in death
  • Ensure the court has record of your last wishes

A last will and testament serves to establish basic guidelines for asset distribution. To execute a last will and testament, your Executor must complete the probate process. In North Texas, the average probate case takes about nine months to complete and costs about $10,000 in court, attorney, accounting and appraisal fees. Furthermore, an attorney MUST represent the Executor before the court.
There are at least eight steps in a typical probate proceeding:

  • Filing an application for probate in the county where the decedent lived
  • Posting notice of probate at the courthouse
  • Validating the will before a judge
  • Completing an inventory of all assets
  • Identifying beneficiaries
  • Notifying creditors
  • Resolving disputes
  • Distributing the assets

 

Additionally, completion of the probate process is often impeded by familial disagreement. Each time someone involved in the probate proceeding raises a dispute, the probate process stops and a hearing before a judge takes place to resolve the issue. Establishing a trust may help prevent such disputes.

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