Tag: wills and trusts

Houston Will and Trust Lawyer: Read This Before Adding Your Child’s Name to Your Banking Account!

The probate process in Houston can be long and costly, which leads people to think of creative ways of avoiding or speeding up the process.  One thing that people often do is to add their child’s name on their bank accounts. They believe by doing so, their child will have immediate access to the money rather than having to deal with the courts. Another thing that people try is to add their child’s name to their property deed to avoid having to wait for the probate process to transfer ownership. Either of these methods might work, but they are fraught with problems. Here are just of few of them.

  1. Any decision you make about your assets requires mutual consent.

If you add your child’s name to the deed of your home, you made him or her joint owner. This means that any decision, like selling the property, will have to be approved by both of you. If your child disagrees with your decisions, it will be costly and will need court intervention. You can imagine the family problems that could result from that litigation.

  1. “Mi casa es su casa” also means “My creditors are your creditors.”

If your child has financial problems, you should absolutely not add their name to any of your assets. If you do, the asset is now vulnerable to your child’s creditors. You could possibly lose your home due to your child’s financial mistakes.

  1. The survivor may do anything they please with the assets.

Once you pass away, your child will become the sole owner of all your assets. Any verbal agreement you had with them to distribute your assets to the rest of your heirs is meaningless. I know you trust your child completely, but there is always a possibility that your child may change their mind and not follow your instructions.

There are other ways to avoid probate. If you want to speed up the process for distributing your assets to your heirs and make sure your wishes are followed, talk to an experienced Houston estate planning attorney. As you can see, simply adding a child as an owner of your assets can cause problems you never saw coming. Call us today at (281) 218-0880 to set up a free consultation today.

 

Do I really need an attorney to create a Will in Texas?

We get this question a lot: “Do I really need an attorney to create a will in Texas?” Everyone has seen the online companies that allow you to create a will for $99. Some office supply stores sell the forms so you can do it yourself for even less. So with all these cheap alternatives do you really need an attorney?

Perhaps you have guessed my answer. It is “Yes!” of course. But, here is the “why” behind that answer that you might not be expecting…

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all will or trust.

Every person’s situation is different. You may be from a traditional family or you could be a part of a blended family – these situations might take different estate planning strategies. The DIY will and trust companies do not adapt to the nuances that make your family unique.

There is no personalized service.

A qualified estate planning attorney will meet with you and go over all the goals that you set for your family. An attorney will help you make very important decisions such as who you will name as executor. An attorney will bring up issues and ask questions that may cause you to choose other people than you originally thought.

No one to turn to when the will or trust is executed.

After you pass away, your executor will take over. The position of executor comes with many responsibilities and there are often questions that arise. Who will he or she turn to when they have questions? They are not likely to get the right answer from the information on a website.

When it comes to creating a will or trust, you really do get what you paid for. Actually, if done incorrectly, that will or trust may not hold up during probate, in which case it is not even worth what you paid – and it could cause pain and suffering for your loved ones. We would love to chat with you about creating an estate plan for your family. We even offer a planning session so that you can make the decision with absolutely no obligation. Call our office at (218) 281-0880 and schedule one today.

When a “Fair Share” May Not Mean “Equal Share” | Houston Will and Trust Lawyer

As a Houston will and trust lawyer, I can confidently say that estate plans are not one-size-fits-all. Just because most of the people you know have divided their assets evenly between their children, does not mean that is the right decision for you. To some, it may seem unfair to leave unequal amounts or different instructions to children after you die, but it may be necessary in your family and it is important for you to do what is right and best for your heirs.

For example, if you have a child with disabilities, it would make sense to leave them a larger inheritance to ensure that they receive proper care for the rest of their lifetime. Other times, we have seen clients with one financially established child that does not need a large inheritance while another child has not fared as well in life (possibly suffering a divorce, spousal death, or bankruptcy) and requires a little financial “help”. We have also had cases where the client’s child was unable to properly handle their finances, and the parents preferred to set up a trust with specific instructions on how the funds should be distributed to protect this high-risk child from themselves.  While these situations may not be “apples to apples,” it is clear that equal is not always best in such circumstances.

This choice to leave your kids an unequal inheritance is NOT to be confused with cases where parents unintentionally leave more money to one child than the others.  This is a danger and a huge reason for working with a Houston will and trust lawyer to ensure that your estate is properly distributed when you pass away.   For example, if you have only one of your children named as a beneficiary of your life insurance or retirement account, that money will only go that child – even if you have a will saying otherwise.  Worse, that child is not required to share the money with his or her siblings.  This is because life insurance and retirement accounts are distributed outside of probate court and your beneficiary designations are the final authority as to what will happen with such funds.

Here at Hegwood Law Group, we help families stay in complete control of their assets during their lifetime, and help people uniquely divide assets according the family’s needs once they are gone. If you would like the peace of mind knowing that the distribution of your assets is a result of careful consideration and choice, call us today at (281) 218-0880 to schedule your consultation.