The law provides that certain property be considered exempt property, thereby passing automatically to a surviving spouse regardless of intestate succession laws or the terms and provisions of a will.
Hire a Texas estate planning lawyer who will file a copy of a will along with a certified copy of the death certificate of the will maker in the appropriate Texas courthouse. Estate plans are unique to an individual and what they will leave behind upon their death. The will, or trust dictates what happens to property, who will raise minor children, and how an individual will spend their last days, in the event of long-term illnesses where an individual may not be able to speak for themselves, along with naming a person to conduct prescribed wishes (executor). Closing out Texas estates can be time-consuming and dragged out, depending upon the nature of the assets left to distribute and instances of beneficiaries contesting a will, requiring the service of an estate planning lawyer.
A San Antonio estate planning lawyer will do their best to effectively and expediently administer the will to save an executor the frustration of holding up payment on bills and costs related to the decedent. These can include paying off creditors, burial costs, and upkeep on property for example, along with fees for professionals who perform services for the benefit of the estate such as appraisals.
A last will and testament can only direct estate owned assets and property. Interested parties to a Texas probate action should consult with a tax lawyer about the impacts of non-probate assets that include those assets that have pre-designated beneficiaries, or joint interest with the right of survivorship that pass automatically to the named individual(s) upon a person’s death. The importance of naming beneficiaries on insurance policies, retirement accounts and deeds to property cannot be minimized. These predetermined transfers will impact property that a person owns in common with someone else and may cause beneficiaries to question the value of an estate because of misunderstandings regarding property transferred through the right of survivorship.
Surviving spouse probate-exempt assets
Spouses and families of the decedent are afforded important property rights under Texas Law. Specifically, the law provides that certain property be considered exempt property, thereby passing automatically to a surviving spouse regardless of intestate succession laws or the terms and provisions of a will. The Texas Estates Code, section 353.053, also provides for an allowance in lieu of exempt property, stating: (a) If all or any of the specific articles of exempt property described by Section 353.051(a) are not among the decedent’s effects, the court shall make, in lieu of the articles not among the effects, a reasonable allowance to be paid to the decedent’s surviving spouse and children as provided by Section 353.054.
(b) The allowance in lieu of a homestead may not exceed $45,000, and the allowance in lieu of other exempt property may not exceed $30,000, excluding the family allowance for the support of the surviving spouse, minor children, and adult incapacitated children provided by Subchapter C. An experienced lawyer can review these items with surviving spouses and families.
Seek legal counsel
The size of an estate, considerations to exempt probate assets, the named beneficiaries and other entanglements surrounding a Last Will and Testament require the assistance of experienced lawyers who understand the state and federal laws that will impact its administration.