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 Wilson County probate attorneyEstate planning is designed so that once someone dies, their family members and loved ones will know what to do with the deceased person's property, heirlooms they may have possessed, and other wishes they had. When someone dies with a will, they typically assign a loved one to be the executor of the will. If the loved one dies without a will, a family member may step forward and ask to be the estate executor. The executor's role is to ensure the deceased person's estate is managed correctly. 

Probate is when the court officially recognizes someone's death and authorizes the management and allocation of whatever their estate contains. Probate aims to ensure that all assets in the deceased person's name are transferred to the living individuals named in the will, or, if there is no will, that their assets are distributed according to state inheritance law. If you were named executor of an estate and wish to begin the probate process, you should hire an experienced attorney familiar with the probate process. Failure to hire a competent attorney to help you work through the probate process may result in critical errors.

Common Mistakes Made During Probate 

Once the court approves the designation of the executor, the executor receives a long list of things that must be completed. Unfortunately, within this to-do list is plenty of room for error. The first mistake that may be made is failing to inventory the deceased's assets correctly. Since the executor is accountable for taking care of the deceased person's debts and safeguarding their assets, it must be known what the deceased owned at the time of their death. 

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Wilson County, TX probate attorneyWhen someone passes away, there are several matters related to the property they owned, assets they possessed, and other final wishes the person had that will need to be taken care of. These types of matters are usually handled by whoever was chosen as the executor of the estate. If the deceased created a will before they passed away, the document likely contains the relative named as the executor. Sometimes, when a person passes away without a will, a relative may ask to be designated administrator of the estate. 

Moving forward with the process, the person chosen as executor or estate administrator will need to complete the probate process. Probate is a process where a court lawfully recognizes someone's death and authorizes the management and distribution of their estate. Ultimately, the goal of probate is to appropriately transfer any assets out of a deceased individual's name into the names of the living. In the event you were named as an executor or wish to serve as the estate administrator, an attorney experienced in estate and probate litigation can help you properly address the issues at hand. 

Stages of the Probate Process in Texas

In the state of Texas, the executor of the estate or estate administrator will be required to complete these steps in order to ensure the probate process is done correctly. These procedures include: 

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Bexar county special needs trust lawyerThe idea behind estate planning is to put your family in the best possible situation by planning for future events. What will happen to my family when I am no longer here? is a challenging but essential question to ask yourself as you seek to grant your family peace of mind by preparing for whatever may happen. 

The needs of families can differ, as can the needs of individual family members. For example, suppose you have a family member with a physical or mental disability who is dependent on you or other family members. Depending on their level of disability, you may be concerned about their inability to care for themselves independently. You may be interested in securing their physical and financial well-being after you pass away. In that case, it is wise to speak with an experienced attorney knowledgeable in special needs trusts, which can grant you the peace of mind that your loved one will be taken care of in the future. 

What is a Special Needs Trust?

People with disabilities are often eligible to receive various forms of governmental and public aid that help with their ongoing needs. The disabled person must have limited income and other financial resources to qualify for these benefits. A very common pitfall families can run into is if they decide to give a disabled family member a large amount of money or other assets as a form of financial protection for the disabled family member. While this may seem appropriate, gifting the disabled family member with assets may make them ineligible for public benefits like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income through Social Security. To avoid this, a family member can set up a special needs trust to avoid making them ineligible for public benefits.

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Wilson County living will attorneySo many things in life are completely out of our control. The estate planning process aims to give back some of this control to people and their families when the inevitable or unpredictable happens. Estate planning can address issues associated with money and property. To ensure their family is adequately provided for in the event of their death, many people create a will, laying out the deceased person’s wishes for when they are no longer living. 

While most people have likely heard of a will, they may not have heard of a living will. Essentially, a living will is a document of medical instructions that allows you to determine, while you are still alive, what medical decisions you would like administered or withheld in the event you become medically incapacitated. If you believe you or your loved one may benefit from creating a living, it may be wise for you to contact an experienced attorney knowledgeable in estate planning. 

Advance Medical Directives in Texas

Under Texas law, advance medical directives are identified as the following:

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San Antonio power of attorney lawyerPowers of attorney can be powerful tools for self-protection during your own lifetime. Should you ever find yourself in a situation where you are not capable of making decisions for yourself or managing your estate, you would likely want to be able to choose the person who should step in and begin managing your affairs. Many people think of powers of attorney as being important mainly for older adults who are likely to suffer mental deterioration due to the effects of aging and aging-related illnesses such as dementia. However, senior adults are not the only group of people who should have powers of attorney in place.

Our team has seen many, many situations where a seemingly young and healthy person is involved in an emergency and needs another person to make medical decisions or get their bills paid on time. Serious accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. With powers of attorney in place, you can be ready for any surprises life may throw your way. 

What Are Powers of Attorney?

A power of attorney is essentially an authorization for someone else to take an action with legal effect on your behalf. Powers of attorney can give a person you choose certain privileges to make medical decisions, handle your finances, or take any other actions you deem appropriate. When contemplating preparedness for an emergency or future incapacity, springing powers of attorney are generally used. Springing powers of attorney do not take effect until you have been deemed incapacitated, so there is essentially no risk that you will inadvertently give someone else control over your life right now. 

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