This blog is not to be considered legal advice. It refers specifically to issues regarding the law of the State of Texas at the time it was written and it is not guaranteed to be an exhaustive update of all Estate Planning law.
This will be the first blog in a short series that will cover the estate planning process. From wills to trusts to advanced directives, there is much for an individual to take under consideration when planning his or her estate. These posts will be broken up into short, digestible, sections over the course of the next couple of weeks. Estate planning is not something that anyone ever really wants to do, but it is a must if a person wants to ensure that their affairs in order. A person’s passing can be a very difficult time on the individual’s loved ones and a clearly organized estate can be helpful to ease the burden that comes with the probate process.
Wills have been around for thousands of years and over that period of time they have evolved into the legal instruments that we have today. Wills bequeathing individual property or assets are referenced throughout history by multiple ancient cultures. They are referenced in the Bible and legal texts reference them as far back as the time of the ancient Greeks. In the 6th century B.C., an Athenian lawmaker named Solon drafted a law granting individuals the right to bestow their belongings to whomever they chose upon death. While this may not seem like a revolutionary idea today, in 6th century Athens the structure of how estates were passed down was rigid and generational.
Today, wills give individuals broad power to grant their estates to almost anyone or any organization. Wills can be amended and revoked fairly easily and individuals have the option to include trusts, power of attorney, and advanced directives to help communicate their wishes in the event of their death or incapacitation.
In this series, seven estate planning topics will be outlined. These will include the (1) Last Will and Testament, (2) Trust, (3) Letters Testamentary, (4) Directives to Physicians, (5) Medical Power of Attorney, (6) Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, and (7) Declaration of Guardian. Not all of the above mentioned tools are required for a simple will, but they are options that an individual may consider in their estate planning process.
As with everything in the law, there are plenty of rules that govern the drafting, amending, and revoking wills and other estate planning instruments. Stay tuned to learn a little bit about the estate planning process and if you have any questions regarding estate planning, feel free to give me a call today at (817) 475-5522.