Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC

Free Initial Consultation

210-418-1150

Protecting Your Legacy

San Antonio Probate Blog

Estate plan issues may cause Texas estate administration problems

The majority of Texas estates will go through the probate process unless individuals take steps to keep their estates from such legal proceedings. However, many parties do not choose to follow such a route. In fact, numerous people either do not estate plan or have mistakes in their plans that result in issues when it comes to estate administration. 

This type of situation could happen to anyone, and even celebrities are not immune to such mistakes. Many people often think that the only purpose of estate planning is to address considerable wealth, and while that certainly is not the case, even wealthy individuals may put off planning until it is too late. As most parties know, over the course of the last year since his death, the family of late-musician Prince have gone through considerable trials since the singer died without a will, and the court is still working on his $300 million estate. 

3 factors that could slow down probate administration

After a loved one dies, having the responsibility to close his or her estate may fall to you. If your family member named you executor of the estate, you will have many duties to carry out in order to ensure that you address your loved one's wishes appropriately and that any outstanding personal and financial issues get resolved as necessary. In order to begin carrying out the necessary tasks, you will need to go through the probate process.

Probate allows the court to validate your family member's will and ensure that the actions taken with the estate coincide with what needs to happen. Of course, in some instances, the probate process can take a considerable amount of time, and certain factors could contribute to drawn-out proceedings.

Could a DIY will lead to probate litigation in Texas?

Creating a will is a very personal process for anyone who chooses to take part in this aspect of estate planning. It can also prove somewhat difficult to find the best manner in which to create a will, as there are many options available. Some Texas residents may wish to enlist the help of experienced legal counsel, while others may simply consider making the document on their own using online resources. However, overlooked issues could result in probate litigation.

While taking the DIY route is a viable option, individuals may wish to remember that online tools may not always take important aspects of an estate into consideration. For instance, certain planning aspects do not carry over from one state to another. If a general online application is used to create a will, a person could be unaware that the document made is actually invalid due to certain details.

Reviewing plans may be as important as estate planning itself

Texas residents who have created an estate plan may already feel as if they have made a great accomplishment in life. True, having a plan in place can help ensure that family members do not face unexpected difficulties after a loved one's passing. However, it may be important to remember that updating a plan may be just as important as estate planning itself. 

Without the proper updates to a will, serious issues could result when it comes time to probate that document. Therefore, individuals may want to periodically determine how their professional and personal lives have changed and understand what impacts those changes could have on an estate plan. In some cases, life changes could lead to inheritance modifications or other significant changes. 

Probate litigation may help those who suspect undue influence

When Texas residents believe that their loved ones were taken advantage of financially before their passing, the situation can be distressing. In many cases, after the contents of a will have been disclosed, surviving family members discover that an unlikely individual has been named a beneficiary to some or all of their loved one's estate. When such circumstances arise, some parties may wish to move forward with probate litigation.

The main cause for such action deals with the belief that the unlikely beneficiary subjected the decedent to undue influence. In order to prove that this belief is valid, there must be reason to believe that the loved one was vulnerable to such action. When a person is elderly and/or has suffered mental or physical deterioration, he or she could be susceptible to such influence.

Beneficiary designations may impact estate administration

The details of a person's estate plan can lay out his or her hopes for how the remaining estate will be addressed. Though Texas residents likely have the best of intentions when it comes to bequeathing items to family and other loved ones, if they do not consider their beneficiaries carefully, issues could arise. Unfortunately, surviving family members will likely have to handle the resulting estate administration complications.

One issue that could lead to administration problems is if an heir is a minor. Though children may be capable enough to inherit certain property, if an individual leaves a considerable amount of money directly to a minor, it is likely that the court will not consider the child able to properly manage the funds. As a result, an outside party could be appointed to manage the money until a certain time.

Texas estate administration may contain complications

When an estate is ready to be administered, individuals who have been appointed executors come forward to take on the necessary duties. However, some Texas residents may have died without making such appointments or creating any type of estate plan, and as a result, legal professionals may be tasked with carrying out estate administration. Unfortunately, this task may prove complicated when there are no immediate heirs or beneficiaries known. 

Luckily, one man in another state has a job he enjoys that involves finding potential heirs. When an estate worth at least $100,000 goes unclaimed, the man gets to work looking for possible relatives. This task often has its challenges as a lack of immediate family can make it more difficult to find relatives. In some cases, the man must even contact individuals who live abroad. 

Has undue influence impacted your loved one's estate plan?

After a loved one's death, you likely understand that his or her estate will go through the probate process. At some point, you may have discussed your family member's intentions and wishes for property distribution and other related estate topics, and as a result, you may feel that you have an understanding of what to expect when the time comes to disclose the terms of the will. However, you may feel blindsided if the information revealed in the will completely differs from your expectations.

Certainly, individuals can change their estate plans at any time, but some situations may present cause for concern. If the details of the will have changed significantly enough, you may suspect that someone subjected your loved one to undue influence in order to gain favorable terms. Some factors may act as red flags for this type of situation.

Business valuation may have estate planning role in Texas

Texas business owners undoubtedly know that the value of their businesses can plan a significant role in various aspects of their lives. In some cases, having a roundabout estimate of the company's worth may suffice. However, other subjects may need a more exact valuation in order for the issue to be addressed correctly. Estate planning is one of those areas. 

Because most individuals want their heirs to receive a fair share when it comes to inheritances, having an accurate business valuation can come in handy. This information can help parties divide assets more equally if they hope that one or more of their children will take over the company. On the other hand, this information could also prove useful if the owner hopes to sell the company and distribute the proceeds among his or her heirs. 

Wills do not eliminate probate and estate administration needs

Many individuals may have limited knowledge when it comes to the probating of their estates. Some Texas residents may think that having a will allows their family to avoid the probate process, but that is not the case. While creating a last will and testament can make the probate and estate administration process go more smoothly, that document alone does not eliminate the need for court proceedings.

In order for a will to go into effect, the creator of the will (called the testator) must no longer be living, and the court must validate the document. The probate process allows for such validation, and the executor of the estate can then use the document to carry out the decedent's final wishes. Without this validation, individuals cannot move forward with property division or other estate administration tasks. 

Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC

Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC
909 NE Loop 410
Suite 602
San Antonio, TX 78209

Phone: 210-418-1150
Fax: 210-598-7221

909 NE Loop 410 Suite 602
San Antonio Law Office Map

Visa MasterCard American Express Discover