Mark and Susan are twenty-nine years old. They have a one year old daughter, Charlotte. On the way home from work one night, Susan is involved in an automobile accident. She has a severe head injury and does not make it. She did not have a will. Mark comes to me to probate her estate. They own a house and a rental property, some insurance, and bank accounts. Texas is a community property state. When Susan died, the real estate passes to Mark and Charlotte in joint ownership. Mark ends up owning the two properties with his one year old daughter. Not a good situation. A guardianship will be required since Charlotte is a minor. Secondly, because there was no will appointing an independent executor (the manager of the estate), the administration will require the judge to approve any sale or refinance of the property. Expensive and time consuming. Just think about the problems if Charlotte was Susan’s daughter from a previous marriage? A will would have covered these issues by giving all to the spouse.
- A son, acting as executor, was very surprised at the hearing to probate his father’s estate. It only lasted ten minutes! The only other step is to file an inventory and the probate is closed, normally in about 90 days for a reasonable, fixed fee. Without the proper will, the judge would have to have reviewed every transaction and probate could last months or years. The cost is greatly increased. This situation is one reason why you don’t use a “do it yourself kit” will. We do have a good one below that is reviewed by an attorney.
- What if you become mentally impaired? Think of Susan’s head injury above. What if she had lived? Without a financial power of attorney, Mark would have to open a guardianship to deal with her assets. Without a healthcare power of attorney and a living directive, Mark could have been faced with a Terry Schiavo situation.
Why don’t I need one of these “Living Trusts” that I keep seeing advertised?
In Texas, probate is a simple process. In many other states, probate is long, complicated and expensive. With a will providing for independent administration, the person appointed as executor files an application to probate the will. For the majority of people in Texas, a living trust is not necessary. There are other reasons when we would use that form.
What is the process to do a will?
We make that process simple and easy. You fill out our questionnaire that we have developed over the years. It is not necessary for you to come in, as we have sent packages with instructions for signature to clients outside the San Antonio area.
We go through the documents with you, either in a meeting or by video. Any changes can be made at that time.
Do you know anyone who would like to protect their loved ones? To receive a free, no obligation but confidential client information form, just fill out the form that follows.
What if you don’t get started?
How about a real life story? Not too long ago, a couple started to fill out the form but for whatever reason, did not. One evening on the way home, the husband, the primary breadwinner, was in an auto accident with a severe head injury. He did not die but had a severe head injury. Without the powers of attorney, an expensive guardianship was required.