Estate Planning in Tyler, Texas

The death of a loved one is very difficult for those you leave behind – often in ways you would not imagine. Death stresses those you leave behind in many ways – both personally and practically. Your surviving family members will have to deal with your death emotionally, physically, and socially. In addition, they will have to deal with the practical hurdles that come with a loved one dying: how should the body be disposed, where is their financial account information, and who gets what?

It is easy to hope your family members will listen to your wishes after you die. It is easy to hope your family will pass through this period of bereavement and distribute your estate with ease and good will. Yet, the emotional times following the death of a loved one are just that – emotional! Sometimes we act and say things that will hurt ourselves and our loved ones when we are under such emotional pressure.

I have seen it happen with my friends and my own family – the death of a loved one makes people do things you would not expect them to do. Instead of hoping for a smooth transition for your family after your death, plan it and take the burden from your family with estate planning services in Tyler, Texas from the Ivy Law Office.

Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning in Tyler, Texas

What happens if you die without a will?

If you die without a will you die “intestate.” As a general rule, there is much more court involvement when you die intestate – and therefore it is much more expensive and time consuming.

When you die intestate, you allow the court to determine the way your estate and your debts will be distributed through Intestate Succession Rules of Descent and Distribution in the Texas Estates Code. Here, there are multiple series of rules, and the court will determine which series your estate falls in based upon who survives you. The rules then state what percentage of different types of property in your estate will go to which specific people. Your hopes and wishes that certain people receive certain things may not be followed by the court if they fall outside these series of rules.

Furthermore, the court is even more involved in the “administration” of your estate, the day-to-day handling of your estate and debts. This is because the administration of an intestate estate is generally done as a “dependent administration.” A dependent administration means the court must now oversee the personal representative’s administration of the estate – and the personal representative is “dependent” upon the approval of the court to take most actions.

As stated above, this is generally what occurs when a person dies intestate. Yet, if you die intestate there are some things your heirs can do to lessen the financial expense and time-consuming nature of a full dependent administration. These options include procedures such as:

Regardless of whether you decide to have a will – please think about other questions which come into play at the end, and near the end, of your life, like:

What are the Benefits of Having a Will?

Numerous. If you decide to have a will made for you, then you die “testate.” As a general rule, there is much less court involvement when you die testate – and it is therefore much less expensive and quicker.

Negotiating and recording a will in Tyler, Texas allows you to direct the distribution of your estate and of your debts. You can make general gifts or specific gifts to family instead of hoping your family follows your wishes at death. Furthermore, you can make gifts to anyone you want – unlike intestate succession which only allows your estate to go to close family members. You have a lot of power to direct the administration of your estate and this will generally help your family pass through their time of bereavement with ease due to the instructions you leave in a will.

Most importantly, you get to elect to have an “independent administration.” In independent administration, your personal representative, does most everything the dependent personal representative does – but without court oversight and without having to wait for their approval. The amount of time and money saved by independent administration is worth writing a will itself.

Many people may believe their estate is not large enough to benefit from having a will. While you may have a small estate, that does not mean you, and those that survive you, would not benefit from having a will. The benefits and proceedings available when you have a will for a small estate include the following:

Can't I do this by myself?

Yes – but should you? There are many cheap will drafting websites online, but you should review their services and their reviews carefully. For certain people, the wills drafted through these services are sufficient. However, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and you should keep in mind the fact that many non-estate planning attorneys will go to attorneys who focus on estate planning to do their own wills! You should speak with an estate planning attorney in Tyler, Texas if there is any chance your will might be contested, if you are part of a blended family, if you want to disinherit any of your immediate family, or you want to create a trust.

Also, if you have already had a will drafted, or did it yourself through a web service, then you should speak with a Tyler attorney if you want to make changes to your will. This is because there are rules in Texas on codicils and handwritten wills, which can cause the court to disregard any changes you attempted to make to your will.

What other estate planning documents should I have?

Your will is the centerpiece of your estate planning strategy. It should not be the only document you discuss with your estate planning attorney. You and your attorney should also discuss other documents which will assist you throughout your life – particularly for those times when you are unable to voice your own wishes due to medical emergencies.

A Durable Power of Attorney and Durable Medical Power of Attorney creates an agency relationship between you and your named agent, so that the named agent can essentially, “step in your shoes” without the need of court supervision in certain situations.

A Declaration of Guardianship (of the Person and Estate) provides the court instructions on who you wish to be your guardian should you become incapacitated.

A Directive to Physicians and Family shares with your medical team and family members instructions as to your wishes regarding medical treatment. It states whether you want life sustaining treatments, when you would want life sustaining treatments, and what sort of life sustaining treatments you do and do not want.

Why Choose Ivy Law Offices for Estate Planning in Tyler, Texas?

Ivy Law provides many different Will Packages in Tyler and other services that makes us a great fit for anybody looking to create an estate plan.

You will receive your will package in less than 30 days.

Simple Will Package for $450-$550. This will package satisfies the needs of most people.

Mid-Tier Will Package for $600-$700. This will package is great for people who want to give multiple “specific” gifts, or who want multiple alternative gifts or alternative beneficiaries. This will package also includes simple trust planning, if needed.

High-Tier Will Package for $800 and over. This will package is for people with large estates who wish to make multiple “specific” gifts, create many alternate gifts and beneficiaries, and who want to create more complex trusts, or if there is any sort of tax planning.

Ivy Law will store your original will for $15 a year in a secure and fire proof location.

Free yearly consultation to discuss whether your estate planning needs have changed. As a general rule, Ivy Law will update your will for free one time – as long as the update does not create a significantly more complex will.

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