When most people consider estate planning, their main goal is to ensure that their assets and property go to their heirs at law. As a result, their wills often reflect these intentions and use simple language to try to establish their beneficiaries. However, an effective estate plan may require far greater detail. For example, parties might contest the validity of a will or dispute the identity of beneficiaries or a beneficiary may be too young to inherit property outright.
In these situations, properly identifying beneficiaries in Sugar Land estate planning may be essential to achieving the testator’s intended distribution of assets. An experienced estate planning lawyer at our firm can help craft wills and other testamentary documents that clearly establish which parties will inherit property.
A beneficiary is any person who stands to inherit property or assets in a will or other testamentary document. Ideally, a testator names these people as specifically as possible in the will to avoid any confusion. Best practices include providing a person’s full legal name and their relation to the testator.
One possible restriction on direct inheritance is a beneficiary’s age. Beneficiaries under the age of 18 may require the appointment of a guardian by a court to receive and manage assets that the minor has received from a deceased person. Because guardianship can be a time-consuming and expensive process, it may be better to design an estate plan that leaves assets to a minor in trust to be managed by a reliable adult called a ‘trustee’ until the child reaches the age of 18 or longer if desired.
Choosing who should inherit one’s property may seem like a simple process. However, placing a priority on one heir at law may incite feelings of jealousy in others, especially if those people would have been in line to inherit in the absence of a will.
As such, some wills face the threat of invalidation, which could result in a probate court ruling that a person died intestate (i.e., without a will). If a person dies without a will or is deemed to have died without a will because the will is invalidated, then the order of inheritance is controlled by the Texas Estates Code. This order may result in an outcome contrary to the testator’s intent.
Unfortunately, some parties may want a court to invalidate a will if they benefit from intestate inheritance laws. With this in mind, it is essential for a person to clearly state who they wish to inherit their assets and which parties they specifically exclude. A skilled attorney can help to draft wills that leave no doubt as to a person’s intent.
Having a will is a powerful way to keep control over your assets after your death. However, parties may wish to obtain assets by challenging the validity of your will. For this reason, it is essential to be as clear and precise as possible when crafting any testamentary documents.
It is recommended that you worked with a well-practiced attorney on the designation of beneficiaries in Sugar Land estate planning. At Romano & Sumner, one of our diligent lawyers can help you identify your goals for the future and create enforceable documents to achieve them. Call our firm today to discuss your unique situation.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC