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Seguin Estate Planning Law Blog

How much compensation can the executor of a will receive?

Settling the Texas estate of a recently deceased person is not an easy task. The executor of a will has the obligation of making sure that all the necessary steps are taken to close the estate correctly and of handling the individual's final affairs. Even when cases are straightforward, they can take time and effort. In some cases, disputes could take place that make the situation even more difficult.

Due to the difficult nature of the job, most executors are entitled to some kind of compensation for their efforts. The amount of compensation, also known as a fee, can depend on many factors, including whether the deceased indicated a fee amount or specific bequest in the will or if state laws are dictating the amount. Typically, the amount is considered reasonable for the executor's efforts and may relate to a percentage of the estate or percentage of the transactions made by the executor.

Texas residents can start small when it comes to estate planning

Not knowing how to get started can often cause people to put off important tasks. For instance, some Texas residents may procrastinate when it comes to estate planning because they do not know where to start. This feeling is understandable as many decisions need making for such plans. However, putting the task off for too long could have detrimental outcomes.

Instead, individuals may want to find the most basic starting points. With these steps, individuals do not even have to create any formal documents yet. For example, parties can start by determining what they want their estate plans to do. Should their plans protect assets, provide instruction for medical care in the event of incapacitation or create legacies? Fortunately, estate plans can do all of this and more.

The executor of a will has many duties to address

Before a person can close a loved one's Texas estate, the probate process needs to begin. The executor of a will needs to take the appropriate steps to get the legal proceedings underway so that the estate's final affairs can be settled. However, beginning the process takes many steps itself.

First, the will needs to be located and given to the executor, if one was named. The executor then needs to list the beneficiaries named in the will and their contact information. The executor will need to inform the beneficiaries of the person's death and inform them that they are in line to receive property from the estate. If a beneficiary has passed away, the executor needs to obtain the person's death certificate.

The holidays can be the perfect time to start estate planning

The holiday season often has Texas residents thinking about their families. While these thoughts could revolve around any number of topics, it could have some parties considering estate planning. Having estate plans can help ensure that loved ones are not left without vital information when they may need it the most.

Some people may find it difficult to start their plans, but estate planning can begin with creating an informal document. A letter of last instruction may not contain legally-binding information, but it can tell loved ones where they can locate important information about financial accounts or insurance policies, and it can also detail where keys are located and reveal passwords for online accounts. This letter can also include the location of wills, health care directives and other similar documents.

Updating wills is vital after divorce

Life comes with changes around every corner. For some Texas residents, going through divorces could turn their lives in completely different directions. While focusing on the divorce is important, it is also wise for parties who have already created their wills to go over the information in those documents to determine how the results of the divorce could affect their estate plans.

Estate plans often include specific beneficiaries named by the person who created the documents. It is common for individuals to want their spouses to inherit their property in the event of their deaths. Of course, after divorce, that desire will likely change, and parties may want to update their beneficiaries to have assets distributed to other family or friends. It is also important to remember that divorce could lead to a person maintaining and losing ownership of certain property, which may also present the need for distribution updates.

Estate planning discussions better not left until the last minute

The idea of having a serious conversation with loved ones can make many Texas readers and those elsewhere feel uncomfortable. This discomfort may be even more prominent if individuals rarely hold such conversations with family. Though a strong urge may exist to avoid serious discussion, failing to talk about estate planning could cause issues.

Though having a discussion about end-of-life wishes can seem uncomfortable, parties may want to take this step in hopes of preventing their loved ones from ending up in estate disputes later on. However, rather than blindsiding family with a discussion about asset distribution, individuals may want to give their loved ones a heads-up that this is what a family gathering may entail. If the topic comes out of nowhere, loved ones may wonder about the intention behind the discussion.

Estate planning may be worth considering for Millennials

Individuals in the Millennial generation may think that they still have a considerable amount of their lives ahead of them. While this notion may prove true for many of them, it does not mean that they should put off estate planning. This action may not have crossed the minds of a considerable number of those in this generation, but getting started sooner rather than later may be wise.

Texas residents looking to get started on their estate plans may not know exactly where to start. This feeling is understandable, and good starting points would be to simply inventory their assets, consider their loved ones and create a general idea of what should happen to these assets after death. At first, the list of assets and ideas do not have to be entirely formal.

Creating wills may help lessen conflict later

Thinking about end-of-life wishes often brings about mixed emotions. Still, Texas residents need to closely consider estate planning and creating wills so that their families will know those wishes. If parties do not make plans, state law will intervene, and a greater chance of dispute may come about.

Creating a will can go a long way in ensuring that the likelihood of conflict is lessened. However, challenges are still a possibility, and individuals may want to take extra precautions when making their plans. For instance, it is wise to carefully choose the person who will act as executor for the estate. Some individuals may think that they have to choose a close family member, but really, parties could choose professionals to act in this role to ensure that that the necessary skills are present.

Elder law information may be important when dementia sets in

Most people forget various information from time to time. In many cases, this slip of the mind is not anything to worry about. However, when this type of issue begins to affect an older family member to a serious degree, Texas residents may have reason to worry about dementia in their loved one. If so, they may also need certain elder law information.

There are many signs that could point to a person potentially being affected by Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia. Often, this issue runs in families, and people with this disease in their family histories may be more likely to develop it themselves. Additionally, if individuals have suffered repeated head trauma or have certain heart conditions, they could also face a higher risk of dementia.

Celebrity deaths often highlight estate planning mistakes

When a celebrity passes away, it is common for information regarding his or her life and death to come into public light. In particular, several famous and wealthy individuals have died without having created an estate plan. Estate planning can benefit surviving family members in many ways, and without it, complications could easily result.

Aretha Franklin is the most recent celebrity to pass without having a will or trust in place. Individuals in Texas will certainly want to avoid this type of scenario as this lack of information may not bode well for their families. In particular, if parties, like Franklin, have special needs children, creating a special needs trust could prevent those children from obtaining a financial windfall that could negatively impact their ability to qualify for needed government benefits.

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