According to a recent study on Wills and Estate Planning from Caring.com, only one in three American adults (32.9%) have a valid will or estate plan. Drafting a last will and testament makes it possible for you to provide specific instructions regarding what will happen to your estate and assets after you’re gone. Whether you have a large or small estate, creating a will is an important step you can take to protect your family, and protect your assets, investments, and other interests.
If you are seeking guidance for drafting a will or want to learn more about the estate planning process, you should consult with an experienced Texas estate planning attorney. Attorney James P. Peterson has the experience and resources needed to provide guidance on all matters of estate planning, including wills, trusts, probate, and estate administration.
James P. Peterson is available to discuss your unique circumstances and educate you on all of the estate planning options that are available to you. As your legal counsel, he can offer you the detailed legal counsel and advocacy you need to draft a new will or update an existing will, all in an effort to help you put together a comprehensive estate plan that can help you protect those who matter most.
James P. Peterson, Attorney at Law has humbly served individuals and families across San Antonio, Texas, and the surrounding areas of New Braunfels and Boerne — so call today to learn more about how he can serve all of your estate planning needs.
A will, also known as a last will and testament, is a legal document that provides detailed instructions about how a person (the testator or testatrix) wants their estate — including property, assets, and business investments — to be distributed to beneficiaries and heirs or disposed of after their death. A last will and testament allows you to do the following:
Determine what will happen to your estate upon your death
Decide who receives certain assets or property when you die
Give detailed instructions regarding how your estate should be administered
Appoint a personal representative and alternates to administer your estate according to the provisions of your will
Bequeath assets to your spouse, family members, close relatives, heirs, and other dependents
Leave an inheritance for minor children with the trustee of your choice
name a guardian for your children
Gift personal belongings for family members and loved ones
Give gifts to charity, schools, and non-profit organizations
Choose a caretaker to care for your pets
Texas laws recognize two forms of wills: a holographic will and attested wills. Each will can be used to provide the necessary instructions for how your estate should be handled, but there is a difference in the requirements for validating each type.
The holographic will is a last will and testament that is completely written in the testator's handwriting. It must be signed by the testator, however, holographic wills do not require any witness for the will to be considered valid. However, the cost to your estate to probate a holographic will is much more than the cost to probate an attested will.
A formal or attested will is a last will and testament that is in writing, prepared by an attorney on behalf of the testator or testatrix. To be considered valid, the attested will must be signed in front of a notary public by the testator or testatrix and witnessed by at least two persons without any interest in the will.
An attested will is the most effective form of will in the state of Texas. This is the type of will provided by attorney James P. Peterson. It is important to note that nuncupative (oral) wills are no longer considered valid in the state.
There are a number of different assets that can be passed on to family members, loved ones, and other beneficiaries as defined by the terms of a will. Here are some of the most commonly inherited assets in a Texas will:
House or any other real estate property
Personal belongings and household items
Money in a bank account
Trusts and shares
Pension or life insurance payout
Here are some of the benefits of having a last will and testament:
Protect your family members, assets, life investments, and interests
Save money passing on your property
Decide how your estate will be administered or distributed
Decide who will take care of your minor children and pets
Allows you to make gifts and donations
Reduce inheritance, estate, and state taxes
Help prevent or mitigate disputes and conflict between family members
Avoid a lengthy probate process
Avoid possible lawsuits and creditor issues
Prevent intestate succession (dying without a will).
At the end of the day, it’s never too early or too late to begin planning for the future. In the event that you become unable to voice your opinion, your surviving family members can take solace in knowing your exact wishes. A knowledgeable Texas estate planning attorney can evaluate your options and craft the right estate plan that best suits you and your family's needs.
Attorney James P. Peterson is dedicated to providing experienced legal guidance and reliable advocacy to clients facing both complex and simple estate planning issues. As your legal counsel, he will educate you about your possible options and help you make informed decisions about your future.
Whether you are trying to draft a will or update an existing one, James Peterson can guide you through every phase of the legal process and answer all of your questions along the way. Through it all, his top priority is to craft a strategic plan that can help protect your assets, address your needs and concerns, and help you plan a brighter future for yourself and your loved ones. Call or reach out today to learn more about how he can help you with your estate plan.
If you need assistance creating a will or estate plan, contact James P. Peterson Attorney at Law, today to schedule a consultation. Attorney James P Peterson can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel and reliable advocacy you need to make informed decisions about your future. James proudly serves clients across San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Boerne, Texas — so call or reach out today to learn more about how he can help with your estate plan.