Should You Help Your Parents Get Wills?
Wills for Mom and Dad…
Why is it important for you to help your parents get wills? It might seem counterintuitive at first, but your parents’ wills actually matter more to YOU than they do to them. Why? Because a last will and testament matters most after the will-signer is deceased–it’s the survivors who deal with the will and estate.
With that, here are some of the great reasons to encourage your parents (or other loved ones) to have a lawyer make their wills sooner rather than later:
#1) They will feel better. Many of our estate planning clients put off getting their wills prepared for decades. They all have their own reasons for procrastinating, but they all share one thing in common: after they make their last will and testament, they wonder why they waited so long. Mom and Dad will rest easier at night knowing there’s a plan for their family if something happens to them. That alone is worth the price of making wills.
#2) Having wills saves families money. As a probate attorney practicing in the Dallas and Collin County area, I can assure you that probate court costs are much lower when there’s a good, valid Texas Last Will & Testament. This is because there are fewer legal steps required to transfer property to heirs when there’s a will. Without a valid Texas will, your family could face thousands more dollars in legal fees.
#3) Your parents want a say. If your parents die without a legal will, they don’t get to pick who inherits their property in Texas. Dying without a will is called “dying intestate.” If your parents die intestate, then Texas intestacy laws state who the legal heirs are. In other words, if your parents die without a will, the State of Texas has a will for them! Most people don’t want politicians deciding who will inherit their hard-earned assets.
#4) Having wills saves hassle and stress. If your parents have valid Texas wills prepared by an attorney, their wills glide in and out of probate court in less than a month (depending on the probate court–some are faster than others). In fact, many of Shutt Law Firm’s probate cases are completely finished in 2-3 weeks. However, if your parents die without wills, the legal probate process will take at least 6 weeks, even if everything goes smoothly. The reason it takes longer is because there is much more legal work to do. Without a will, the probate process (called a “determination of heirship”) can take six months or more. This makes sense when you consider that the State of Texas needs to verify who all the heirs are, if there is no will.
#5) Having a valid will prevents legal estate disputes. If your parents go to a Texas estate planning attorney to prepare their wills, you’ll notice that the wills are longer than you might have expected. What are all those provisions the attorney added to the wills? Most of the added length comes from provisions designed to minimize hassle, expense, and fighting over the estate. For example, there are “no contest clauses,” there are provisions to help save taxes, there are provisions to minimize the amount of interaction with the probate court.