What is a will? Do I need a will in Texas? What happens if I die without a will?
These are a few of the questions you may be concerned about in planning for the transfer of your assets upon your death. Let the Kazi Law Firm, PLLC guide you through the probate process and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your final wishes.
Last Will & Testament
A will in Texas, also called a Last Will and Testament allows a person to give property and other assets to specific people or organizations as well as naming an Executor to settle the affairs of the estate. In the unfortunate scenario of a person passing away without a will (known as dying intestate), a person’s belongings will be distributed according to Texas intestacy laws, which may not be the most desirable outcome.
In most instances, a will is the best solution for estate planning purposes. The Texas Probate process is quite efficient and cost-effective, making the use of wills in Texas highly desirable. While a simple will can suffice for most estates, Texas law allows for the creation of wills that can aid in tax planning and include built-in trusts. It would be prudent for an individual to create a will for the following reasons:
The Kazi Law Firm, PLLC can assess whether a will is the right estate planning tool and suggest items in a will custom-tailored to a client’s specific situation.
The process is quite simple and straightforward. After your initial phone/video/in-person consultation with the attorney, we will begin drafting your estate planning documents. This process will take between 5-7 business days. Once the documents have been drafted, they will be emailed to you for your review. As soon as we receive confirmation from you that the documents have met your approval, the final step will be to get them signed. In Texas, a will must be signed in front of a notary and two disinterested witnesses in order to be legally valid. A “disinterested” witness is a person that has nothing to financially gain from your estate, such as a neighbor or friend.
Please note: *pertains to basic Texas wills with no tax planning or trust provisions Please contact us for pricing for more complex estates or unique situations.
❖ Statutory Durable Power of Attorney – (gives your agent broad powers) must comport with the powers listed in the Texas Estates Code, section 752.051: real property transactions, stocks & bond options, tangible personal property transactions, insurance & annuity transactions, personal and family maintenance, claims and litigation, retirement plans, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid benefits, etc.
➢ Note: statutory durable power of attorney is not a “general power of attorney” and is not a catch all for issues that may arise in the future (only covers specific powers granted to your agent) **may not make medical decisions on your behalf
❖ Medical Power of Attorney – gives your agent the right to make medical and health care decisions on your behalf ONLY when your attending physician deems in writing that you are incapacitated and unable to make health care decisions for yourself
➢ Note: medical power of attorney is not a directive to physicians (aka a “living will”)
❖ Directive to Physicians – document that tells your attending physicians directly and exactly what kind of medical care you want should you become incapacitated and cannot make your own decisions
➢ Note: usually specify a person’s wishes regarding life support, DNR, DNI, and other similar treatment Most people will execute both a Medical Power of Attorney and a Directive to Physicians. In instances where these documents conflict with one another, physicians will comply with the most recently executed one.
❖ HIPAA Authorization Form – document that allows an appointed person to share specific health information such as your medical record, diagnoses, treatment options, etc with another person or group (most often other doctors or care providers)
➢ Texas HIPAA Laws – The Texas Medical Privacy Act is unique in that it is a state law that provides more protection for patient privacy than is provided under Federal HIPAA, by filling in gaps where necessary