Creating a will is one of the most important parts of an estate plan for Texas families. A will is a great tool to help ensure that your wishes regarding who receives your property after you die are properly carried out.
Benefits of a will
A will can save your family time and stress after you are gone, by providing them with a written document outlining your clear intent about what you want to happen with your property.
It can also provide you with peace of mind while you are still living, knowing that your family will be taken care of if something should happen to you.
You may find yourself wanting to put as much detail as possible into your will, to reduce the chance of future conflicts. However, it is best to leave some things out of your will, for various reasons.
You do not need to include your wishes surrounding your funeral in your will. The reason for this is a practical one. Your funeral will happen before your will is probated and the directives in your will are carried out.
Rather than including your funeral plans in your will, you could put them into a written statement called a letter of instruction. Keep a copy for yourself and give another one to someone you trust.
If you own or have an interest in a business, keep anything related to the business out of your will. The process of probating a will takes time, sometimes several months or longer.
You likely want your business to keep running smoothly, with as few interruptions as possible, after you are gone. A challenge to your will could cause complications to the probate process, meaning that your business operations could come grinding to a halt.
There are certain assets that you might want to shield from the probate process, for similar reasons. You want your beneficiaries to receive their assets or proceeds quickly, and not get held up by the legal process.
Therefore, things like insurance or other policies that have a beneficiary designation should be kept out of your will. Your beneficiaries will automatically receive the proceeds after your death, without waiting for your will to be probated.
Alternatives to a will
You could also consider other options for preserving funds, such as a trust fund. Money can be held in a trust fund and distributed to your heirs upon your death.
There are many different types of trust funds that can be set up, and the best one for your needs will depend on your specific situation.
As you can see, adding some things to a will could end up causing your loved ones more time and trouble than you think.
Before you begin creating your will, it is best to talk with an experienced estate planning attorney. You can discuss your goals and receive advice on the best estate planning tools for meeting them.