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Bexar County, TX estate planning lawyerMore often than not, estate planning is considered to be something only older adults need to deal with and worry about. This is understandable, as wills and trusts are generally discussed in the context of older adults and the elderly. However, if history has taught us anything, nothing in life is guaranteed. Just because someone may be young does not mean they are guaranteed to live a long life. As a result, estate planning for young adults is not as crazy as it may sound and, in many cases, can be a very wise decision. 

There are so many different contingencies in life. Therefore, if you are a young adult interested in creating an estate plan, contacting an experienced Texas estate planning attorney is an excellent place to start.

Reasons Why Young Adults Should Consider Creating an Estate Plan

An estate plan for a young adult is like an insurance plan. For example, no one expects their house to burn down, but having fire insurance for your home is still wise just in case the unexpected occurs. The same goes for estate planning for young adults. No young adults expect they will require an estate plan, but it is still wise nonetheless to be prepared for the unexpected. A young adult making a low-cost estate plan is a small price to pay compared to what could happen should the unexpected happen and no estate plan is in place. Reasons a young adult should consider creating an estate plan include:

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Bexar County, TX contested will lawyerThe aftermath of a loved one’s death can be a time of great difficulty for various reasons. A common source of contention after a loved one dies arises when it is time to read the last will and testament. A person’s will is a blueprint for how they would like their assets and property to be allocated to their beneficiaries upon death. Beneficiaries are generally named within the will. Sometimes, one or more heirs of the will may argue that the will is invalid. 

When issues like these arise, the situation may be addressed through probate litigation. Beneficiaries can take legal action if they believe the estate or trust administration was done improperly. This realm of law can get quite complex. You will need competent legal representation if you are interested in contesting a will. Consult with a probate litigation attorney to ensure your rights remain protected throughout working to ensure your loved one’s wishes are followed correctly. 

When May a Will Be Contested? 

If an interested party wishes to contest a will, they generally must do so within two years of the will being admitted to the court during the probate process. Parties interested may include beneficiaries named in the will, heirs standing to receive property, the spouse of the deceased, and any other people who may have a claim against the deceased estate, like a creditor. Probate litigation is used to address the will’s authenticity. Someone can claim a will is invalid for many reasons, such as the following: 

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Bexar County estate planning lawyerThere are many reasons and situations that require an update to your estate plan. Divorce just so happens to be one of the more common and potentially catastrophic situations. Unfortunately, the hectic nature of divorce makes it also easy to overlook or forget updating an estate plan. There are many loose ends to tie up once the divorce process is complete, and with so much to manage, estate planning can easily slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, if something does happen to you before you have made changes to your estate plan, assets may not go to the people and places you had hoped. Do not let this happen to you. Learn what and when you should update in your estate plan after your divorce.

Changing Your Beneficiaries

If you have a 401K, IRA, or other retirement plan, the beneficiary listed on your policy should be checked upon completion of the divorce. Of course, you may have to split some of your savings in your divorce, but the remaining amount should still belong to you. If you do not want the remainder to go to your spouse upon your passing, and they are listed as the current beneficiary, it is important that you change this in your policy. Alternatively, if you wish your ex-spouse to be listed as a trustee for your children, ensure the policy and your other estate planning documents reflect this wish.

Updating Your Powers of Attorney

If you are like most people, you probably had your spouse listed as your power of attorney (the person that acts and makes decisions for you in the event of incapacitation). Now, it is possible to keep your ex-spouse as your power of attorney, but few divorces end quite that amicably. Instead, you might want to consider naming a close friend, a sibling, a parent, or an adult child. Make sure they are someone you can trust to carry out your wishes.

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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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