At the heart of all probate litigation is the quest to uncover the intentions of the deceased. That person is no longer around to answer any questions or clear up any confusion, and so probate courts rely on a written will. This is why courts are so strict about making sure a will meets all the formal requirements before they will accept it as valid. It's also why some of the trickiest issues involve wills that are not entirely clear about the person's intentions.
May 2019 Archives
Estate plans often use complex trusts to avoid probate, but avoiding probate doesn't always have to be complicated. For example, one way to have real estate avoid probate is sometimes to simply name a beneficiary to a transfer-on-death deed.
When people pass away, all their assets and liabilities become known as the person's estate. Someone has to be in charge of settling the estate's affairs and transferring assets to the heirs and beneficiaries. Under Texas law, this person is known as the executor or estate administrator.
Before your divorce got fully underway, you likely knew that you would need to make many changes in life. You undoubtedly considered the arrangements you would need to make for the children, what you should fight for during property division and numerous other factors directly related to the marriage dissolution process. What you may not have as closely considered, however, is how your divorce will affect your estate plan.
Disputes over inheritance can be very ugly. These fights can turn sibling against sibling, or even children against a parent.
Your will is meant to be the last statement of your intentions about how to distribute your property after you are gone. However, a lot can happen in your life after you sign your name on your finished will. If you don't update your will to reflect these changes, you may end up leaving a plan that does not reflect your wishes. In the worst cases, an out-of-date will can lead to confusion, disputes and even litigation.