There are a variety of different decisions that go into the process of how assets will be divided. Many of these include how assets will be divided and how they will be treated. Perhaps one of the most important decisions that must be made involves who will be managing a Texas estate in addition to how it will be divided.
Many people in Texas have a certain idea of what a family looks like. However, the reality is that families come in all shapes and sizes. For example, many couples, for a variety of different reasons, do not have children. Because there is a misconception that a will is only necessary to ensure that children are provided for in the event their parents are no longer able to provide such care, many childless couples may not fully understand the implications of a lack of an estate plan.
No family is perfect. While all have their disagreements, there are some siblings who simply cannot get along. Unfortunately, this contention can continue -- perhaps even intensify -- after a parent passes away. However, having a will in place in Texas -- and giving the appropriate people access to it -- can often help reduce confusion and arguments between siblings following the death of a parent.
These days, few people across the country pass away without leaving debts behind. The creditors owed those debts will attempt to collect them regardless of the passing of a loved one. The question many Texas residents may have is who is responsible for the amounts owed -- the estate or family members.
Closing a Texas estate can come with many complications. The executor of the estate will have a number of responsibilities to handle during this time, and without the right information, this person could face more difficulties in an already trying process. Fortunately, if an individual knows that he or she will take on this role, preparing before the loved one's passing may be useful.
Perhaps one of the most emotional and tedious jobs a Texas family has is cleaning out a home after a loved one dies. This may be especially true if the loved one was sentimental and held on to countless trinkets and other memorabilia. While it may be tempting to bag it all up and toss it on the curb for trash or recycling, handling the situation in this manner may create serious problems, especially for the estate executor or personal representative.
Preparing and maintaining an updated will is one of the best things a person can do for his or her family. People who have assets and want to have them distributed in a specific manner after their death will need to layout their requests in a will. In Texas and elsewhere, over 30 percent of adults procrastinate about creating a will or any sort of estate plan.
Studies show that debt among senior Americans is higher than ever before. Over one half of seniors will die with less than $10,000 in assets, according to the National Bureau of Economics. In Texas and other states, a higher percentage of seniors retire with a mortgage and credit card debt. When a family member passes away, is the estate responsible for any outstanding debt that may be left behind?
A marriage that lasted over 28 years to a titan of technology ended after the husband suffered a stroke and died at the age of 75. Stunned and shocked and finding it hard to fathom, the widow and her two stepchildren entered into an estate battle with a major financial institution that would last for almost eight years. In Texas and other states, a property can be held in financial limbo when a person dies without a will.
Worldly possessions handed down to heirs may be subject to an estate tax, also known as the death tax. Some states and the federal government charge this tax based on the value of a property after an owner's death. It does not apply to every estate, and most never end up paying it. In Texas, an estate may be exempt from paying any death tax depending on its value.