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The Effects of Dying without a Will

Pittfalls of Homemade Wills


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Estate Planning

Everyone works hard to save money, reduce costs, acquire wealth and to provide for their families during their lifetimes. Yet, a substantial part of our society does little to pass on the wealth that they have acquired to their family. The United Way reports that no more than 40 percent of us have Wills. The American Association of Retired Persons concluded that only 60 percent of persons over age 50 have a Will. Surprisingly, a large number of us are dying without a Will and not passing our property to our heirs and beneficiaries in an efficient and low cost manner.

A Will can be the foundation of any estate plan, but the concept of Estate Planning involves much more than drafting a simple Will or minimizing taxes. While minimizing tax may always be a fundamental objective, Estate Planning should reflect your family and their needs, your personal interests, your finances, and the legacy that you want to leave.

In the course of drafting estate plans, we address a variety of issues and prepare a broad range of documents. We prepare a range of documents that include simple wills and complex estate plans. Our plans address issues associated with planning for personal incapacity, business and succession, life insurance, education, and tax. Our process can help you can help you:

  • Provide for your family
  • Create a blueprint for what happens to your property
  • Understand whether your need a Will, Trusts, or both
  • Reduce or eliminate estate taxes by understanding the benefits of making gifts during your lifetime as well as the use of bypass trusts and other tools to avoid death taxes
  • Save money by creating a record system for low cost updates to your plan that also minimize probate and administration expenses
  • Avoid conflicts among family members and minimize the potential for a Will contest
  • Pass your wealth to loved ones
  • Distribute your property according to your wishes

Without an estate plan and a well-organized set of documents to support the nature and character of your assets, your heirs and beneficiaries may face time-consuming and costly tasks during the administration of your estate. Without an estate plan, these issues may escalate to the point where may even have to fight with creditors and others to protect their rights.

In addition to these time-consuming and costly tasks, without proper planning, estate taxes can consume an immense portion of an estate – every dollar over the specified exemption is taxed at a rate of approximately 50%.

An appropriate level of planning saves time and money in the administration of an estate. Read more to understand the effects of dying without a will, the levels of estate planning that you might require, pitfalls of homemade wills and issues to consider when selecting guardians, executors and other representatives in an except from one of our cost-saving client guides.


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404 Knox Street | Houston, Texas 77007 | Phone 713.861.8300 | Facsimile 713.861.8380
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