Wills Attorney in Southlake, Texas

Determining how you would like your estate, assets, and property to be handled upon your death can save time, money, and stress for your loved ones. According to a 2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study by Caring.com, about one out of three American adults (32.9%) have a will or estate plan. Regardless of how large or small your estate may be, drafting a last will and testament allows you to provide detailed instructions about how your estate and assets should be handled when you become unavailable.

If you need detailed guidance creating your will or want to understand the estate planning process, it is important that you speak with a knowledgeable Texas estate planning attorney. Redding Law Office is committed to offering outstanding legal services and handling estate planning legal matters, including wills, trusts, probate, guardianships, and powers of attorney. Attorney Chelsea Redding is available to discuss your unique situation and explore your estate planning options. She can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel and reliable advocacy you need to draft or update your will and help you navigate crucial decisions.

Redding Law Office is proud to serve clients across Southlake, Tarrant County, and Denton County, as well as the surrounding cities of Flower Mound, Keller, and Colleyville, Texas.

Overview of Wills

A will, also referred to as last will and testament, is a legally binding document that provides specific instructions regarding how an individual wants their estate, including assets, property, business investments, and interests to be handled – distributed to beneficiaries or disposed of – upon their death. The person who makes a will is known as the testator.

Specifically, a last will and testament allow you to:

  • Determine how your estate should be handled upon your death
  • Provide detailed instructions about how your estate should be administered
  • Decide who receives certain property or assets when you're gone
  • Choose a personal representative who will administer your estate according to the provisions of your will
  • Give assets to a spouse, heirs, family member, dependents, and other close relatives
  • Leave an inheritance for minor children
  • Name a trusted person (guardian) to help care for and manage assets left for minors
  • Give gifts to schools, charity organizations, and non-profits
  • Gift personal belongings for your family members and close relatives
  • Choose a caretaker for your pets

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Types of Wills

There are two kinds of wills recognized under Texas laws – holographic and attested wills.

Holographic Will 

In a holographic will, the content of the last will and testament is completely written in the handwriting of the testator. The testator must sign the will but there are no witnesses required for holographic wills to be considered valid.

Attested Will

The attested will or formal will is a last will and testament that is prepared by an attorney on the testator's behalf. Unlike holographic wills, formal wills are only valid when it is:

  • Signed by the testator, and
  • Witnessed by at least two persons without any interest in the will

Attested wills are the most effective type of wills in Texas. Oral or nuncupative wills are no longer valid in the state.

Commonly Inherited Assets

Some commonly inherited assets in a Texas will include:

  • House or any other real estate property
  • Land
  • Motor vehicles or cars
  • Money in a bank account
  • Family heirlooms
  • Personal belongings and household items
  • Trusts and shares
  • Pension or life insurance payout

Why Having a Will is Important

Whether you have a small or large estate, creating a will is essential to protect your assets, business investments, family's future, and best interests and prepare for future uncertainties. Reasons it’s important to have a last will and testament include:

  • To protect your assets, loved ones, life investments, and interests
  • To determine how your estate and assets will be administered or distributed
  • To determine who will take care of your minor children and pets
  • To mitigate or eliminate family disputes and conflict during asset distribution
  • To make gifts and donations to charities and nonprofits
  • Help reduce inheritance, estate, and state taxes
  • To avoid possible lawsuits and creditor issues
  • To avoid a lengthy probate process
  • To prevent intestate succession (dying without a will).

The Difference Between a Will and a Trust

Wills and trusts are among the available estate planning options to help you protect your assets and loved ones. Notable differences between a will and a trust including:

  • Wills provide detailed instructions about your true wishes upon your death. In contrast, a trust allows you to appoint a trustee to intervene and handle your affairs upon your death or sudden incapacitation.
  • A will is only effective upon the testator's death. Conversely, a revocable living trust is effective once the trust has been signed and funded.
  • Creating a will is simpler and cheaper upfront. In contrast, trusts are costlier upfront. Also, setting up a trust may be tedious.
  • A will allows you to appoint a guardian for your minor kids and pets, and specify your final arrangements using your last will and testament.
  • A will has to go through the probate process to ensure that the documents are valid. In contrast, you can bypass the probate process using a trust.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Preparing for an uncertain future is something everyone needs to consider. Should you become incapacitated or otherwise unavailable to voice your opinion, your surviving loved ones can benefit from knowing your true wishes. An experienced estate planning attorney can review your available options and help you decide the ideal estate plan that best fits you and your family's needs.

Attorney Chelsea Redding has the experience and resources to guide and assist individuals and families in estate planning-related matters. As your legal counsel, she will evaluate your unique needs and explain your possible estate planning options. She will guide you through every step involved in drafting your will or updating an existing estate plan. Attorney Chelsea Redding can outline a detailed plan to protect your assets and property, address your concerns diligently, and help you make informed decisions.

Wills Attorney Serving Southlake, Texas

If you need proper guidance drawing up your will or estate plan, contact Redding Law Office today to schedule a case assessment. Attorney Chelsea Redding can offer you the experienced legal counsel and strong advocacy you need to establish your estate plan and navigate key decisions. She proudly serves clients across Southlake, Tarrant County, and Denton County, as well as the surrounding cities of Flower Mound, Keller, and Colleyville, Texas.