Let us help you with settling a Texas estate after the loss of a loved one.
McCammon Law, P.C. guides Boerne clients in proper asset protection planning which involves making prudent decisions today to protect yourself, your business, and your hard-earned assets from loss due to lawsuits, creditors or bankruptcies. Asset protection planning is especially prudent for professionals and business owners, whose personal assets could be at risk due the nature of their employment.
Statistically and anecdotally, we all know that the number of divorces, lawsuits and bankruptcies is staggering. While no one believes lightning will strike them, wealth created through a lifetime of work, saving and investing can be lost overnight if these forms of man-made lightning do strike. To protect your assets from such disaster, proper risk management strategies should be given careful consideration. These strategies are part of Boerne asset protection planning and include exempting your assets from the claims of creditors, limiting your liability through legal entities and transferring your risk through insurance.
Because probate can be a lengthy, costly, and public process, many people choose to avoid it. There are a number of legal strategies that will enable settling a Texas estate more easily by passing property to another person after death, without going through probate.
Adding another person to your assets as a joint owner or “joint tenant with rights of survivorship” will allow your property to pass to them upon your death without going through probate. There are pitfalls to this strategy, however, which include subjecting such assets to any claims (such as lawsuits) against the co-owner and making them available to the co-owner’s creditors — all while you are still alive and planning on using the assets yourself.
Texas allows Transfer on Death (TOD) or Pay on Death (POD) beneficiary designations to be added to bank accounts. Beneficiary designations like these are preferable to joint tenancy in that they allow you to transfer property only upon your death without giving away current ownership. One of the drawbacks, however, is that it can be difficult to obtain an equitable distribution of property among your heirs by utilizing beneficiary designations. Additionally, understand that if you have beneficiaries listed on your assets, those assets will be distributed upon your death to the listed beneficiaries, even if your last will and testament states otherwise. It is possible to designate a Revocable Living Trust as a TOD and POD beneficiary.
A Revocable Living Trust is a legal document that allows you to establish a separate entity (the trust) to “hold” legal title to your assets while you are alive, and to name trustees to manage those assets according to the trust terms. Typically, you serve as the trustee while you are alive, managing your assets for your own benefit. Upon your disability or death, the trust terms appoint your successor trustee who then continues to manage — or distribute — the assets held in trust. A properly drafted trust can accomplish many goals, including guardianship and probate avoidance for your estate, and bloodline, marital and creditor protection for your children.
A properly drafted and funded trust will generally avoid probate. The trust need not be filed with the probate court, maintaining your privacy. Nonetheless, there are still steps necessary to administer the trust: beneficiaries must be contacted; assets must be gathered, valued and managed; potential creditors must be notified; debts, taxes and final expenses must be paid; and, ultimately, any remaining income and assets must be distributed in compliance with the trust terms. Successor trustees often lack the time, resources or knowledge to personally administer the trust, and therefore may call upon legal, accounting and investment professionals for assistance. Read more about What Does a Successor Trustee Do?
Oftentimes, a corporate fiduciary (e.g., a trust company) is an excellent alternative to relying solely on busy family members or friends to serve as trustee. McCammon Law, P.C. can help your successor trustee(s) deal with the complexities of administering your trust or settling a Texas estate. Please call our office at (830) 217-1511 and we will be happy to schedule a free consultation appointment, whether or not our office has drafted the original trust.
As the executor under a will or the successor trustee of a trust there are many legal and fiduciary obligations that you are required to fulfill. Our job, as the attorney for the estate representative, is to keep you in compliance with the law and help you settle the estate in a timely and straightforward manner.
Although similar to probate administration, there are some key differences involved in estate administration. The parts of an estate that do not go through probate, such as a trust, are left to the Texas estate administrator.
When choosing your administrator, it is important to select someone you can trust implicitly. Family members or attorneys are often appointed for this duty. Our lawyers have served many families in the Texas Hill Country as trusted estate administrators.
Higher amounts of wealth can often lead to a more complicated estate administration process and the administrator must be able to act as impartially as possible.
An estate administrator may be responsible for all of the following:
Boerne/San Antonio Office
138 Old San Antonio Rd.
Boerne, TX 78006