Estate Planning

Nobody likes to be reminded that our time on Earth is finite, but that is reality. In Texas, if you die without a will or comparable estate planning instrument, you are allowing the courts to decide how your property will be distributed when you die. If you die without heirs your assets may even be turned over to the state (escheat).

When drafting a will in Texas, it is important to remember that the central purpose of a will is to avoid confusion (LITIGATION) over how you wanted your estate to be distributed. If your current will: is not accompanied by the self-proving affidavits of two disinterested witnesses; has been lost because it wasn’t filed with the courts; or has disintegrated over the years on paper on poor quality paper, it is possible that much of your estate will be spent on lawyers in probate court. Contentious estate contests are especially regrettable when you consider the ease and relatively modest expense of having your will professionally drafted by an attorney.

Next, as medical advances are enabling us to live longer lives, some may lose competence before they pass. This loss of competence can result in contentious guardianship proceedings, where a court ultimately will appoint one or more guardians to care for your person and your estate. Unfortunately, the court's decision may not always match the choices that you would make today. As with a will, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

If you live in Texas, the Law Office of Jeramie Gertz can help you draft your Will, or with your other estate planning needs. We can also help by drafting a financial Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive to Physicians, Declaration of a Guardian of Your Person and your Estate in the event of your incapacity, and a Declaration of Appointment of a Guardian for your Minor children. Such instruments are likely to ease the burden your loved ones face during a difficult time.

Useful Links
The Probate of a Will
Probating a Will as a Muniment of Title
What Baby Boomers Need to Know About Making Out a Will
The Big Estate Planning Goof you May Be Making
Texas Estates Code

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