It’s not something you want to think about, but writing a will is one of the most important things you can do for your family. Creating a will can actually be simple and pain-free. Your loved ones are counting on you making one. Here are 4 things you need to know about wills and probate in Stephenville, TX, to help you create a will so that your family will be taken care of after you’re gone.
Do I Really Need a Will?
A good estate plan starts with a well-crafted will. Experts say that almost everyone should have an estate plan, and it all starts with a will. If you die without a will, intestacy laws determine how your property passes, which means the state decides how your estate is distributed and how your assets are allocated. In other words, if you don’t make a will, Texas law effectively does it for you. A Stephenville attorney can help tailor a will that’s right for you.
Who Should Care for My Children?
When one parent dies, the other parent generally gets custody of any minor children. But if one parent is unfit or both parents pass away, your family and the court will look to your will to decide who becomes the guardian of your children. Without your wishes in writing, the court chooses the guardian. The last thing you want if something happens to you is a fight over who’s going to raise your children. Make sure you discuss your decision with the potential guardian before naming him or her in your will.
Who Are My Beneficiaries?
The most common types of beneficiaries are your spouse, children, parents, siblings, or favorite charities. If you’re married, you'll likely stipulate that your assets go to your spouse when you die. But it’s important to plan for those unexpected what-if scenarios. You need to put in your will what happens if you and your spouse die at the same time. If you've been married more than once, you may want to specify what assets from a previous marriage go to your children. Your will may also include:
· A personal property inventory with descriptions and beneficiary names for any sentimental items you’d like to leave to particular individuals.
· A bequest to a favorite charity or multiple charities.
· A provision naming someone to care for your pets.
Who Should Be My Executor?
When choosing a personal representative or executor to carry out the wishes you’ve set out in your will, always pick someone whose judgment you trust. This person will be responsible for paying any debts or taxes on behalf of your estate and making sure that the people named in your will get the money or property you have left for them. While family members are an obvious choice, keep in mind that asking children or relatives to divvy up your assets could add stress to an already painful time for them. Once you choose your executor, make sure they know where all your important documents are kept including a copy of your will; any life insurance policies; bank account and investment information; and passwords to bank, email, and other digital accounts.
An attorney in Stephenville, TX, can help craft a will that’s right for you. Call Glasgow, Isham & Glasgow, P.C., at (254) 965-5069 to get started on the will writing process.