Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning
At Boon Calk Echols Coleman & Goolsby PLLC, we know that there can be a lot of questions when it comes to planning your estate. Our Longview wealth management attorneys have decades of experience, and below we have answered some of the more frequently asked questions that we hear. Our firm also offers a free initial consultation to answer any additional questions that you may have. Call 903-704-0592 or send us an email to arrange a free consultation today.
What happens if I die without a will?
When a person dies without a will, the probate court will follow the Texas rules of intestate succession. Intestate succession is the hierarchy of inheritance. Depending on who survives the decedent, the laws in Texas require the following distribution of the decedent’s inheritance:
- If a spouse survives, and there are no surviving children or parents, the spouse inherits the entire estate
- If both a spouse, children and parents survive, the laws in Texas determine the percentage of who gets what from the estate
- If siblings survive, they may also be entitled to a portion of the estate as dictated by Texas law
The intestate laws can be complicated and tricky and the percentages of the distribution depend on how many heirs survive and how they were related to the decedent. Most likely, the estate will have to go through the probate process and a probate judge will appoint an administrator to oversee the payment of debts and distribution of the decedent’s assets.
See our estate planning overview to learn more.
Who gets my savings and possessions after I die?
If you execute a valid will, you get to decide who gets your assets, savings and possessions after you die. You can choose to leave your property, assets and money to whomever you wish. At Boon Calk Echols Coleman & Goolsby, we help clients with varying degrees of asset and wealth execute valid wills and estate plans ranging in degrees of complexity. We want to make sure that your assets and possessions go exactly where you want them to go upon your death. If you failed to execute a valid will before your death, then your savings and possessions will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy in Texas, a default set of rules that the state established.
Do I need a trust?
A trust can be a valuable estate planning tool. Depending on the complexity of your estate, assets and wealth, a trust can help you avoid taxes and avoid the probate process for the distribution of some of your assets and wealth, making it easier on your heirs. However, if your estate has traditional assets, like a bank account car and a house, a trust might not be necessary. Our wealth management attorneys at Boon Calk Echols Coleman & Goolsby PLLC can evaluate your assets and wealth and help you craft an estate planning strategy that is right for you.
Will my children or estate have to pay estate taxes or an inheritance tax when I die?
An estate tax is paid by the estate before the assets are distributed. An inheritance tax is paid by the heirs after they receive money or assets from the decedent’s estate. The state of Texas does not impose either an estate or an inheritance tax on a decedent’s estate. In addition, if you inherit property from an estate and decide to sell it right away, you will not owe capital gains taxes.
There is, however, a federal estate tax that is levied on assets and wealth that exceed the annual filing threshold. As an estate tax, this is paid by the estate before the assets and wealth are distributed.
Do You Still Have Questions? Schedule A Free Consultation.
Our wealth management attorneys offer a free consultation appointment to answer any specific questions that you may have and tell you more about how we can help you craft an estate plan that is customized for your needs and wishes. For a free consultation, please call us in Longview at 903-704-0592 or send us an email. Our estate planning lawyers advise and represent clients throughout East and Northeast Texas.