With the crazy year of 2016 behind us, many of us will be looking toward the future and making plans and resolutions. If 2016 (or any year prior) brought with it big changes for you, one of those resolutions needs to be updating your estate plan, including your will and powers of attorney. And don’t think that this rule is only for older, wealthy people. This is true for everyone.
This estate plan update is especially important for people who are separated, going through a divorce, or already divorced. Let me guess: When things were going well, you named your spouse as the beneficiary of your estate, the executor of your estate, and your power of attorney to make financial and medical decisions in the event that you can’t. Am I right? If so, you need to make it a priority to get those things changed. What a terrible outcome it would be if something were to happen to you and your estranged spouse were to receive control over all of your money and over life and death decisions. Be careful, though, and talk to an attorney about how to do this properly. If you’re in the middle of a divorce, it might be against the rules to change the beneficiary designations in your will (though powers of attorney are usually ripe for the changing).
This is also an important consideration if you have a blended family, meaning you’re remarried but have children from another relationship. Most people don’t know this, but if you die without a will in Texas and all of your kids are also your spouse’s kids, your spouse gets everything. That seems fair, right? But if you die without a will and all of your kids are not your spouse’s kids, your spouse gets almost nothing. Instead, it all goes to your children (with some important but limited exceptions). Most people want their spouse to receive their property if their spouse survives them, which means that an updated and properly executed will is a must. No matter what you do, don’t leave your blended family’s estate up to the intestacy laws in Texas!
Proper estate planning may not seem like a priority, but it is a vital tool at your disposal. You can either plan ahead and make your family’s lives easier in the event that something happens to you, or you can procrastinate another year and risk it. My recommendation? Add this to your list of resolutions and get it done now. Call Hammerle Finley Law Firm at 972-784-0293 for help.
The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice. ©2017