San Antonio Estate Planning and Probate Attorneys
Helping individuals and families with wills, trusts and probate throughout South Texas
As you think back on everything you have worked hard to achieve, it is also important to think about what will happen to all of it in the worst-case scenario. Do you, or do you and your spouse, have a plan in place if you die or become incapacitated? Do you have a plan set up for your children and dependents? Putting an estate plan into place now can help avoid a lengthy and complicated probate process for your loved ones.
The estate planning lawyers at Grable Grimshaw PLLC can help you put together wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estate administration. Our San Antonio family law attorneys have the knowledge and understanding you need to help you through the entire process of settling an estate, whether or not a will is available. We can help you maintain control of your estate, as well as begin planning for your future. Contact us today.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"Brandon Grable and his team are highly professional, and delivered the results I was looking for. Further, they put the client interest first evidenced by the way they communicated with me, and the way they handled the fees. I recommend Grable Grimshaw and will seek them again for my future legal needs." – Phil K.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process of making valuable decisions about your health and personal care, as well as management of your personal and financial assets, in the event you are no longer able to do so on your own. Successful and effective estate plans address your future goals for your family and loved ones, distribute your assets according to your wishes, and can even address any potential tax implications. Most importantly, an estate plan means your wishes are carried out in the way you want – otherwise the state of Texas makes the decisions for you.
What should I include in an estate plan?
A proper estate plan should include a variety of documents, including a:
- Will, which allows you to distribute your property and assets to the beneficiaries of your choice upon your death. The absence of a will means your property is instead distributed according to Texas law, which may not be your wishes.
- Power of attorney (durable), which allows you to name the person of your choice to act on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. This gives that individual the power and authority to make financial decisions and sign documents on your behalf.
- Power of attorney (medical), a document designating an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated.
- Living will, also called a directive to physicians. This document specifies whether to administer or withhold life-sustaining treatment in the event you have an untreatable, irreversible diagnosis and cannot communicate.
Without powers of attorney, the court may appoint a legal guardian to make these decisions for you instead. This person, known as the “guardian of the estate,” manages your personal and financial affairs. Typically this is your spouse or next of kin. However, it is imperative to have your wishes in writing. Our San Antonio estate planning attorneys can help you put together a strong and effective estate plan.
Can I change my will?
You can change your will or estate planning documents at any time, but it is imperative you do so with the help of a trusted attorney. Everyone should review their will annually to ensure it still fits their needs. If you undergo a major life change – like a divorce, re-marriage, increase or decrease in assets, or the birth of a child – it is even more important to revisit your estate plan. When you want to alter the arrangements of your will, you generally have two choices:
- Change the will by adding a codicil. This is the traditional way of changing a will, which is adding an amendment or provision to the original will. Codicils have the same requirements as an original will, meaning witnesses and signatures. However, most people have moved away from codicils as they may cause disputes and confusion. Many experts advise simply drawing up a new will.
- Revoking the will and writing a new one. If you want to change your will, the safest way to do it is writing a new will that revokes all previous wills. Ensure you do so with the help of your attorney to ensure there are no later disputes about which version should be honored during the probate process.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of gathering a deceased person’s (decedent’s) estate, paying out any of their remaining debts, and then distributing the remaining assets according to their will. Under Texas law, probate court oversees this process, working with the executor of the will and notifying named heirs and beneficiaries. If an individual dies without a will, they are considered to have died “intestate,” and the court distributes their assets according to state law.
Without a will, Texas distributes a decedent’s property and assets in this order:
- Nieces and nephews
- Aunts and uncles
You can read about this in detail in Title 2 of the Texas Estate Code, or talk to one of our attorneys for more guidance.
What is an executor and who should I choose?
The executor of your will is responsible for carrying out your wishes as specified in your estate plan. This designation carries a great deal of responsibility, including collecting your estate’s assets, paying off debts and taxes, and distributing your property according to the will. State law calls for the executor to carry out these responsibilities in a prudent and sensible manner, much in the way they might care for their own personal estate.
When choosing the executor for your will, ensure you decide on someone trustworthy and responsible, as well as someone who agrees to do so. Appoint only someone you believe can capably manage your assets and property during what is likely to be a difficult time in everyone’s lives. Additionally, consider naming an alternate or co-executor in the event your executor is unable to serve.
If you have any other questions about estate planning, our attorneys are happy to provide answers. We understand that this can be a sensitive subject to think about, but a small amount of planning today can prevent a great amount of heartache in the future. Let us show you your options.
Compassionate San Antonio estate planning lawyers
Whether you are planning for the future or need assistance with probate matters, the attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC are here to provide informed guidance. We can help you and your family with wills, powers of attorneys, trusts, and other estate planning matters. Talk to us today about how we can provide you with more security and peace of mind. To schedule a consultation in our San Antonio offices, call 210-963-5297 or fill out our contact form. We serve clients throughout South Texas.