The Texas estate planning landscape is different from most states. For example, Texas has a more generous homestead exemption than most states, which can protect your home from being seized by creditors after your death. Additionally, Texas has a unique rule that allows spouses to inherit property even if they are not named in the deceased spouse’s will. If you are just moving, or have just moved to Texas, you will want to get an estate plan review as soon as possible from an experienced Texas estate planning lawyer at the Kazi Law Firm.
What is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is a document that outlines your wishes for what will happen to your property after you die. It can also include instructions for how you would like your medical care and final arrangements handled. It can also include instructions on how you would like your property distributed. In Texas, everyone that is 18 or over the age of 18 is permitted to have an estate plan.
There are many different options available depending on your needs and preferences. The three main types of estate plans, however, are wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations.
A will is a document that dictates how you want your property divided among your heirs after you die. A trust is a legal entity that holds property for the benefit of another person or group of people. Beneficiary designations are documents naming who will receive specific assets such as life insurance policies or bank accounts when you die.
You need to create an estate plan if you have not done so already.
Why Estate Planning is Vital?
- Everyone should have an estate plan. No one knows when their time will come, and planning for the future is essential.
- Without an estate plan, your loved ones may not know what to do with your belongings after you die. This can lead to family disputes and a lot of headaches for your loved ones.
- While probate is mostly compulsory in Texas, an estate plan can help your loved ones avoid a lengthy and expensive probate process. A well-crafted estate plan will significantly shorten the probate process.
- Estate planning is also important in Texas because of our unique laws regarding inheritance and property ownership. If you do not have an estate plan in place, your loved ones may not be able to inherit your property according to your wishes.
In general, estate planning is the best way to avoid confusion and arguments regarding your possessions after you’re gone.
If You Already Have an Estate Plan, What Parts of it Might You Need to Update When You Move?
When you move, there are a number of things you need to update in your estate plan.
- If you have a will, you will need to update the name and address of your executor and the location of your will. You will also need to update your beneficiaries, especially if you have moved out of state.
- If you have a living trust, you will need to update the name and address of the trustee and the location of the trust. You may also need to update the provisions of the trust if they no longer reflect your wishes.
- If you have any powers of attorney or health care proxies, you will need to update those documents, as well.
Why You May Need to Name a New Executor
When an individual moves to a new state, they may need to name a new executor if their old executor is no longer able to serve in that role due to being located in a different state. This is because the role of executor is typically governed by the laws of the state in which the individual resides. Thus, if the executor is not located in the same state as the decedent, they may be unable to properly carry out their duties.
Executors who are not residents of Texas are required by law to choose someone who lives in the state as their “resident agent.” The in-state agent of your executor will be the one to accept legal documents on behalf of the estate.
This is often complex, tricky, and more expensive. So, if you can, you should appoint an in-state executor.
Why You May Need to Change Your Beneficiaries
When you move to a new state, you may need to change your beneficiaries. This is because each state has its own estate planning laws, which could affect how your assets are distributed after your death.
For example, in Texas, the spouse of the deceased is automatically entitled to receive half of the estate if there is no valid will. If you have children, they would often receive the other half. However, if you have a will that specifies different heirs, those provisions may override the state’s laws.
If you do not update your beneficiaries when you move, your assets may not be distributed according to your wishes. Therefore, it is important to review your estate plan and make any necessary changes when you relocate.
Why You May Need to Re-do Your Durable Power of Attorney
When you move to a new state, you may need to redo your durable power of attorney. This is because the laws governing durable powers of attorney vary from state to state. In Texas, for example, the durable power of attorney must be notarized in order to be valid. So, if you moved to Texas without a notarized power of attorney, your old durable power of attorney may not be valid anymore.
Why You May Need to Update Your Healthcare Proxies
If you have a healthcare proxy in place, you may need to update it when you move to Texas. The reason for this is that the laws governing healthcare proxies vary from state to state. In some states, a healthcare proxy is only valid if it is signed by any two witnesses. In Texas, however, healthcare workers, spouses, and family members cannot serve as one of the witnesses. This means that if you have a healthcare proxy in place that was signed by two witnesses who are healthcare workers, a spouse, or family members, it will not be valid in Texas.
Contact Our Law Firm
If you have recently moved to Texas, it is important to have your estate plan reviewed by an attorney at the Kazi Law Firm. Doing so will help ensure that your assets are protected and that your loved ones are taken care of in the event of your death.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.