Testamentary Trust vs Revocable Living Trust

Testamentary Trust vs Revocable Living Trust

Testamentary Trust vs Revocable Living Trust

The terminology related to estate planning can be confusing to those unfamiliar with this area of law. However, estate planning amounts to addressing your financial legacy, and putting the time and effort in up front helps to ensure that all the hard work you have put into providing for your loved ones will be carried out according to your wishes as effectively and efficiently as possible. Toward this end, it is important to gain a working knowledge of some of these estate planning terms. One important place to start is with the distinction between testamentary trust vs. revocable living trust. The experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law recognize how difficult it can be to begin the estate planning journey, and we make it our mission to make the process as informative, helpful, and painless as possible. Contact our experienced attorneys at 512-505-2753 to learn which types of estate planning documents would be right for your unique circumstance.

Understanding Trusts

The State of Texas addresses the matter of trusts in general as follows:

  • Trusts are legal tools, which serve as accounts that hold assets for a beneficiary or beneficiaries – for any number of reasons that can include reducing the tax burden involved.
  • The elements of a trust are the same across all trusts, including the trustor (also known as the settlor or grantor) who creates the trust, the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) to whom the assets flow, and the trustee (also known as the grantee) who is the third-party assigned to carry out the trustor’s instructions.
  • The trustee can be anyone chosen by the trustor, including a spouse, a guardian, a financial institution, or someone who has been granted power of attorney.

Testamentary Trusts

A testamentary trust, however, is established through a Last Will and Testament (will), which means that it is not a separate estate planning tool – the way most trusts are. In fact, a testamentary trust is sometimes called a trust under will. With a testamentary trust, there is no chance of avoiding probate.

A will has no legal power until it passes through the often-complicated, expensive, and lengthy process of probate. After all the assets in your will are probated, they pass into the testamentary trust established by and laid out in your will. In other words, your testamentary trust is established after your death (by the court) and not during your lifetime the way a revocable living trust is, and this is one of the primary distinctions in the matter of testamentary trust vs. revocable living trust.

While testamentary trusts do go through the probate process, they also have many advantages. The accomplished Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC can help you determine if a testamentary trust is right for your specific situation.

Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable living trust – as the name implies – is during a person’s lifetime and is revocable – or can be changed – at their discretion. In fact, all of the following apply to revocable living trusts:

  • Your revocable living trust can be changed – or even revoked – at any time (at your discretion).
  • You, as the trust’s grantor, can also act as the trust’s grantee.
  • Assets can be set up for transfer to the beneficiary or beneficiaries upon a triggering event that you specify in the revocable living trust.
  • The assets in your revocable living trust belong to you – as the grantor – until they are transferred via the triggering event specified in the trust.
  • The assets in your revocable living trust are not shielded from lawsuits brought against you by your debtors (the way they would be in an irrevocable living trust).
  • When carefully and correctly constructed, a revocable living trust helps to ensure that your loved ones will not be subjected to probate in relation to your estate (for all those assets included in the trust).
  • Your revocable living trust converts to an irrevocable living trust upon your death, which makes all the terms contained therein legally binding at that time.
  • A revocable living trust protects you and your family’s privacy in relation to your estate (in a testamentary trust, which is implemented through your will and which goes through probate as a result, the outcome is a matter of court record, making the information public).

With a revocable living trust, you can change your mind on the matter at any given moment, and making changes according to your intentions remains your legal prerogative. In fact, you can cancel your entire revocable living trust if you make that decision at a later point. Additionally, the assets in your revocable living trust remain your own property – due to the control you maintain over them.

Choosing Between a Testamentary Trust vs. Revocable Living Trust

The question of testamentary trust vs. revocable living trust is a challenging one, and each person will have their own unique financial and legal interest to protect. Your well-considered revocable living trust can afford you all the following (that a testamentary trust cannot):

  • Allowing your family to bypass probate
  • Minimizing the tax burden your family experiences
  • Keeping the transfer of your estate a private matter

One point, however, that must be made about your revocable living trust is that any assets that are not addressed within the legal document (and that do not assign a beneficiary) will need to proceed through probate.

Reach out to an Experienced Texas Estate Planning Attorney Today

Each type of trust has its own advantages and disadvantages. The skilled Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law can help you find the best path forward for you and your loved ones. Our compassionate attorneys want to ensure that your assets remain protected and that your wishes are carried out to your beneficiaries. To learn more, please do not wait to contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.

 

How to Fund a Trust

How to Fund a Trust

How to Fund a Trust

A trust can play an important part in your estate planning. However, many people are unsure of the process that it takes and unclear exactly how to fund a trust. These are important estate planning basics that can help you make the right financial decisions for you and your family. In the end, a trust can eliminate the lengthy probate process and can keep more of your hard-earned assets with your loved ones, instead of being taxed by the Internal Revenue Service. If you are interested in how trusts could be advantageous to your estate plan and how to fund those trusts, consider visiting with the experienced estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC at 512-505-2753 to learn more.

Understanding Trusts

There are many different types of trusts, including revocable and irrevocable trusts. However, at the most basic level, a trust is a financial tool that allows a person to establish a legal arrangement in which their assets will flow to the people they identify as their beneficiaries when the time comes – to be administered by a third party of their choosing.

Some of the parties that are involved in a trust creation or execution may include the following:

  • The settlor – The person that creates the trust is the settlor (or grantor).
  • The beneficiaries – The people (or person) that are determined to benefit from the assets in the trust are called the beneficiaries.
  • The trustee – The trustee is the third party chosen to distribute the assets included in the trust.

There are many different types of trusts, and each will be appropriate for different purposes and life circumstances. Consider visiting with the experienced estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC to learn more about which types of trust (or trusts) might be right for your specific needs.

Different Types of Trusts

Not all trusts are established the same way, and all have different purposes. Consider for example the following different types of trusts:

  • Marital Trusts – This type of trust transfers assets between spouses without tax consequences following one spouse’s death.
  • Charitable Trusts – If a person is interested in passing on assets or payments over a period of time after their death, they may be interested in establishing a charitable trust.
  • Special Needs Trusts – If a person has a child or family member with special needs, they may want to consider a special needs trust, which would allow them to transfer assets without hindering their beneficiary’s ability to obtain governmental benefits.
  • Generation-skipping trusts – If a person wants to transfer assets to their grandchildren, they can do so through this trust without paying estate taxes twice (first to the children, and then again to the grandchildren).
  • Insurance Trusts – This specific type of irrevocable trust is the designation of a primary beneficiary of the decedent’s life insurance policy. This type of trust allows a beneficiary to receive the life insurance benefits in increments throughout their lifetime following the policyholder’s death.
  • Spendthrift Trust – This trust allows a person to provide for their beneficiaries in such a way that they will not squander the totality of the assets with imprudent or improper spending habits.

Visiting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand which of these types of trusts (or others that exist) may be right for you.

How To Fund a Trust

The assets that a person includes in a trust can come in a variety of forms.

Bank Accounts and Other Accounts

The majority of bank accounts and other kinds of financial accounts can be transferred directly to a trust, but it is important to check with the bank or financial institution in question to ensure you proceed according to its policies. There are certain circumstances where these transfers are not allowed.

Properties Without Deeds or Titles

While real estate and many major purchases, such as vehicles, come with deeds and titles attached, the majority of personal property likely does not. Examples include:

  • The furnishings in your home
  • Your clothing
  • Any collections you have, including art, jewelry, and/or watch collections
  • Any items of particular value you own

Addressing your personal possessions in your trust can be done in general terms, such as home furnishings and clothing, but if the possession is of significant value, such as a piece of art, a piece of jewelry, or a family heirloom of particular sentimental value, it is important to address the item specifically (to help ensure that it goes to whomever you want to have it and to help decrease the risk of confusion or ambiguity regarding the matter).

Real Estate

If a person makes the decision to include real estate in their trust, it generally requires that they sign a deed transferring the interest in the real estate property in question and then to record this deed with the appropriate state entity. Different counties employ different rules and regulations, so it is important to specifically check with the County Recorder in the county in which you will be recording the deed.

Maintaining Your Trust

While it is important to establish a trust accurately, there may be life circumstances that change your estate planning needs or goals. Specifically, any assets that a person accumulates after the initial creation or funding of a trust will need to be addressed. Depending on the type of trust created, it may be possible to include these additional assets in the trust. In some cases, this is not possible, however. It is important to consider visiting with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that assets are included comprehensively within an estate plan. The failure to include or address property from an estate within a legal estate planning document will mean that the property will need to go through the state’s probate process.

Consider Consulting with an Experienced Texas Estate Planning Attorney

If you are ready to consider establishing a trust and are curious about how to fund a trust, the experienced estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC can help answer your questions and ensure your legal and financial wishes remain protected. Our compassionate attorneys look forward to visiting with you about how to protect the assets you have spent a lifetime building. Contact our experienced legal team at 512-505-2753 for more information today.

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

How does a revocable living trust work? This question is an important matter that you can discuss with the experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC, as soon as a potential need arises. If the question of how living trusts work in Texas is on your mind, you may feel overwhelmed. A revocable living trust, or living trust, is a legal document created during a person’s lifetime that permits a chosen trustee to manage that individual’s assets to benefit the current and future beneficiaries.

The dedicated Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC (512-505-2753) recognize just how serious questions related to living trusts are. Our team is committed to finding answers that work for you or your loved one who may need a living trust.

How Does a Revocable Living Trust Work?

Most people think of a last will and testament as the most common way to pass an estate on to beneficiaries. Another way is to create a revocable living trust. Depending on your particular circumstances, a revocable living trust may be the best choice for your estate plan.

To create a revocable living trust, a person (the grantor) signs a trust agreement naming a person(s), a corporation, or both as trustee to manage the trust. In Texas, the grantor and the trustee can be the same person. If you name a trust company or bank as trustee–instead of an individual, it ensures that a professional trustee will always be available to act in the best interest of a grantor.

A revocable living trust usually allows property to be managed for the grantor’s benefit. Usually, the grantor retains certain rights over the trust during their lifetime, including:

  • the ability to direct the trustee to give away all or any portion of the trust property;
  • the ability to revoke or change the living trust whenever they want;
  • the ability to make discretionary distributions of income and principal to the grantor and/or the grantor’s family

A revocable living trust acts as a last will and testament when a grantor dies, and property is distributed to beneficiaries following the trust document.

Generally, it’s best to fund the trust while the grantor is living, rather than when the grantor dies; that ensures continuity of asset management and financial support, should the grantor face a disability.

To fund a trust during a grantor’s lifetime, you must title real property, securities, and other assets in the name of the trust. Retitling property is not required for trusts funded at death when the probate estate is “poured over” into the trust. However, funding a trust at death may not avoid the necessity of probate.

Benefits of Revocable Living Trusts

1. Continuity of Management During a Disability

A revocable living trust is a great way to plan for your property to be used for your benefit– if you become mentally or physically incapable of managing your affairs.

The continuity of management is possible when a financial power of attorney is signed. Still, third parties (banks, brokers, and transfer agents) often have more trouble dealing with a power of attorney than a trust agreement. And, if the designated agent cannot act, a financial power of attorney will not be helpful.

Suppose you become disabled and don’t have a revocable living trust or a power of attorney. In that case, you may face a lengthy and expensive court proceeding to appoint a guardian for you before your property can be used for you (or your family).

Even after a guardian is named, ongoing court supervision for managing investments and disbursements is usually required.

2.  Flexibility

With a revocable living trust, out-of-state individuals or trust companies can administer your property at death if you choose. Also, it is usually easier to make changes to a revocable living trust than to a will.

3.  Avoiding probate

Probate is the court process required to determine whether a last will and testament are valid. Because probate can be costly and time-consuming, avoiding probate is one of the benefits of a revocable living trust. For example, if you have homes in more than one state, avoiding probate may be a significant benefit because you can avoid more than one probate proceeding. However, every state has a different probate process, so consult a local attorney.

4.  Immediate Availability of Assets at Death

Revocable living trust assets are available immediately after death to pay estate taxes, administration expenses, and debts without waiting for a probate court decree. If the trust is funded before death, the property in the trust remains in the trustee’s name before and after the death. It is immediately available for liquidation should the need arise.

5.  No Issue with Missing or Destroyed Originals

Original wills must be provided in court to avoid the suspicion that the will was revoked. Usually, one original must be produced at death. Because revocable living trusts avoid probate, many originals may be signed, and one original can validate property held in the trust at death. A revocable living trust can simplify property transfer at death if the original will cannot be found or is destroyed.

6.  No Interference with Investment Management

A primary benefit of revocable living trusts is providing uninterrupted investment management should the grantor become disabled and after the grantor dies. If you previously transferred assets to the trust, you don’t need to retitle securities after death. Additionally, depending on the grantor’s estate’s cash needs and investment objectives, there may be no need to create a new investment strategy.

Disadvantages of Revocable Living Trusts

A few disadvantages to revocable living trusts arise from the different treatment of trusts and wills under specific property laws.

1.  Funding Your Trust

In addition to creating your trust, you must take action to fund it. You must change beneficiary designations on accounts owned by the grantor. You must change your property to a trust’s name to include it in a revocable living trust, which may be difficult and involve costs like filing fees. As part of your estate plan, using a pour-over will transfer all additional assets into your revocable trust, so no assets have to go through probate.

2.  Adapting to Changed Circumstances

The grantor must be sure to update the provisions of a revocable living trust as things change.

SEEK THE PROFESSIONAL LEGAL GUIDANCE OF AN EXPERIENCED ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY

Trusts are very complex. If you have concerns about how trusts work, seeking professional legal counsel is well-advised. The experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC understand your cares and are dedicated to helping you find the most suitable path forward, given your circumstances. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.

How to Ask Someone to Be the Guardian of Your Child

How to Ask Someone to Be the Guardian of Your Child

How to Ask Someone to Be the Guardian of Your Child

According to the United States Department of Health & Human Services Children’s Bureau, addressing guardianship for your child is challenging. After all, it is one of life’s least pleasant topics. However, it is essential to point out that it is doubtful your child will be left with neither parent in their life. Nevertheless, the idea is to plan for every eventuality, and the peace of mind that your efforts afford you can be invaluable. Suppose you are gearing up to ask someone to be the guardian of your child. In that case, there are some critical steps to take and some critical points to consider, and the experienced estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC (512-505-2753)–proudly serving both Texas and Arkansas –are on your side and here to offer their professional guidance.

Making the Choice

Choosing the person or couple you would like to become your child’s guardian if the need should ever arise is one of the most profound decisions you will ever make. For you, there may only be one option –an obvious choice –and if this is the case, you should count yourself lucky. However, many people have to do a bit more soul-searching, and coming to a consensus with your child’s other parent may make the decision much more difficult. Ultimately, you are looking for someone who checks all the following boxes:

  • Someone who will nurture, love, and accept your child the way you do;
  • Someone who has the maturity and stability to be there for your child through thick and thin;
  • Someone who shares your values and who is invested in raising your child according to your wishes;
  • Someone whose home environment is safe and enriching and would ultimately benefit your child;
  • Someone who makes healthy life choices that will prove beneficial to your child.

It may be an overwhelming challenge, but when you land on the right person or couple, you should come away with an overall sense that you have made the right choice. If you are not quite there, trust that you will know when you arrive at the right candidate. Now, it is time to ask someone to be the guardian of your child.

This Is Big

If you are preparing to ask someone to be your child’s guardian, it is essential to remember that this is an important and monumental decision. There are important reasons you feel all these feelings, but getting things in perspective can help.

Bestow an Honor

While becoming a guardian is a lot of work and one of life’s most serious responsibilities, there is so much more to it than that. When you ask someone to be the guardian of your child, you bestow the person (or couple) with an immense honor –and there is no sincere form of flattery. When you ask the question, keep this in mind and let your candidate know exactly how heartfelt your decision is. Consider the following:

  • If you pop the guardianship question over a dinner out–or another relaxing break–it helps to ensure that you both have the space you need to address the matter seriously.
  • Let the person know that you are asking this somber question in response to your estate planning goals –and not because the need is imminent. Make it clear that it is improbable this guardianship will ever be instigated. You are not trying to alarm anyone.
  • If the person you ask is overwhelmed, do not take it as a bad sign. As mentioned, this is big, and the fact that your candidate recognizes the enormity of the matter is a good thing.
  • If the person you ask ultimately declines, which is unlikely –you have done the soul-searching, after all –do not be discouraged. It is simply time to get back to the drawing board.

The candidate you have chosen may need time to process this immense responsibility, and that is a perfectly natural response. You want a guardian for your child who takes the matter seriously and taking time to reflect on it only shows how well you have chosen.

Talk Finances

Becoming a child’s guardian is an immense financial responsibility. You will want to address this aspect of the arrangement when you ask someone to be your child’s guardian. Your skilled financial planning attorney can help you present the necessary financials to your child’s potential guardian in a way that makes sense to them, and that helps bolster everyone’s peace of mind.

Update Your Will

You have addressed the matter of your child’s guardian in the present, and while it is unlikely that your decision will change, life has a way of throwing us curve balls. Consider the following:

  • As your child grows up and their needs evolve, it may affect your choice.
  • The person you have chosen may experience health concerns (or anything else) that make becoming your child’s guardian problematic.
  • If your candidate has moved to a different part of the country, it may interfere with your child’s ability to retain close relationships with members of their extended family and may color your decision.
  • If you and the person you have chosen have grown apart, it may be time to reconsider.

Keeping your will updated is critical, and this includes regularly addressing the matter of your child’s guardianship.

An Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Ask Someone to Be the Guardian of Your Child

Your child is your world, and thinking of unexpectedly leaving them without a parent is not an easy matter to address. Doing so, however, can provide you with the ease of spirit that comes from facing your parental responsibilities head-on. The compassionate estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC–proudly serving both Texas and Arkansas –recognize the gravity of the task before you are well prepared and well-positioned to help. When you ask someone to be the guardian of your child, it in no way increases the chances that the need for a guardian will come to pass, but it can provide you with the serenity you seek. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.

How Much Does A Will Cost?

How Much Does A Will Cost?

How Much Does A Will Cost?

If you have a family –whether yours is a family of two or many –creating a Last Will and Testament (will) is one of the most caring things you can do for them. With your will, you can help protect your loved ones financially, mitigate the Internal Revenue Service tax implications of your estate (or assets) in general, address issues regarding your health care in the event you are incapacitated, and assign a guardian for your minor children should the need arise. Creating an estate plan demonstrates your commitment towards your family and to their ongoing well-being. Many people shy away from creating a will because they are intimidated by the legal expense, but you may be surprised to learn that the answer to –how much does a will cost?–is that it is likely more affordable than you think. If you are interested in learning more about what a will could mean for you and your family, the skilled estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC (512-505-2753) have the experience and legal insight to help.

Your Legal Costs

A will that addresses your unique needs and intentions will be unlike anyone else’s, and there is no way to pinpoint exactly how much it will cost you to execute a will that suits your needs. While it is possible to create your own will for free, the fact is that without the skilled legal guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney on your side it can be overwhelming and legally challenging to cover all your legal bases and to achieve your exact legal and financial wishes.

Ultimately, the cost of having a reliable will executed for you that accomplishes all the goals you want it to accomplish will depend upon the size and complexity of your estate, the legal goals you have in mind, and the level of specificity you would like to include. While there are ways to help keep your legal expenses low, the benefits of having a will in place that inspires your confidence can prove invaluable.

Doing It Yourself

There are DIY options out there for nearly everything, and wills are no exception. Yes, it is possible to search through Google, find a template for your will, and attempt estate planning yourself. The results, however, will not be discovered until it is too late to override any unintended effects. When creating estate planning documents, they are final after your death, and therefore, doing it yourself may be a less-than-ideal choice. Consider the following:

  • Every state has its own administrative requirements for wills, and when these are not followed exactly, it can render yours null and void.
  • If the template you employ does not cover the issues you want to cover, inserting them yourself can prove to be problematic.
  • Using a DIY will template requires you to jam your legal needs into a prearranged form that may leave you at a legal disadvantage from the outset.

A will is a critical legal tool, and –just like you would not dabble with electrical work in your home –tackling professional legal work of this magnitude yourself may not provide your family the results you wish after you pass away. In the end, the matter of how much a will costs is less important than the matter of what are your legal needs as they relate to your will. Your questions regarding what you actually need to accomplish through your estate planning, and how that can be achieved, are questions you can ask an experienced estate planning attorney at Ibekwe Law, PLLC.

The Elements of Your Will

When you think of your will, you likely think about how your estate, which amounts to your assets, will flow to your loved ones, but a will can be far more comprehensive than this. For example:

  • Your will can address exactly who gets what upon your death (within the boundaries of the law regarding your spouse and your minor children’s inheritance rights).
  • Your will can specify your wishes regarding your own health care in the event you are incapacitated.
  • Your will can address the issues related to your child’s guardianship in the unlikely event that you and his or her other parent both pass away before the child becomes an adult.
  • Your will can address your intentions regarding important financial decisions in the event you become incapacitated.

Your Will and Your Budget

When it comes to the budget for your will, keep the following basics in mind:

  • Your will is one of the most important elements of your estate plan.
  • A DIY will can save you time and money, but because it foregoes the careful legal guidance of a dedicated estate planning attorney, you have no way of knowing if your will can stand up to the legal rigors it will face when the time comes (and this is the reason for executing a will in the first place).
  • The matters outlined in your will are likely to be far more complicated than you recognize and getting the details right is critical.

How Much Does a Will Cost? Reach out to an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Today

While creating your own DIY will can save you money, it may be ineffective to meet your specific and individual financial and legal needs. At Ibekwe Law, PLLC, our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys are fully invested in helping you execute a will that addresses your estate planning needs in their entirety and that inspires the level of confidence you are looking for to safeguard your assets and your peace of mind. For more information about how we can help you, please do not wait to contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.

How to Obtain Letters Testamentary

How to Obtain Letters Testamentary

How to Obtain Letters Testamentary

If you are designated as the executor or administrator of someone’s estate, the deceased person trusts you with the responsibility to execute their final wishes related to their estate. Suppose this is your first experience serving as an estate executor or administrator. In that case, there can be a reasonably steep learning curve that includes various important and legally exacting steps that you will need to perform.

One of the questions you will likely find yourself asking is how to obtain letters testamentary, which is a critical first step in the process. As you proceed toward fulfilling the significant responsibility entrusted to you, you should consider visiting with a professional with expertise in these areas. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC in Texas are well prepared to help effectively and efficiently guide you forward and help you understand all of your legal rights and options. Consider giving our legal team a call at 512-505-2753 today.

What Are Letters Testamentary?

As the executor or administrator of someone else’s estate, you will be responsible for seeing the person’s financial matters moving forward. However, before you can get started, you need letters testamentary, which is a document that the probate court issues providing proof that you are the executor or administrator of an estate and have the legal authority to act on behalf of the estate in question. Letters testamentary are a court order, and it is elemental to initiating the process of executing an estate. Better understanding the basics of letters testamentary and being the executor or administrator of an estate can help you move forward on this journey with increased confidence and focus.

What is the Difference Between Letters Testamentary vs. Letter of Administration?

While the terms “letters testamentary” and “letter of administration” are often used interchangeably, there is an important distinction. If the person whose estate you will be executing died without a Last Will and Testament (will), it means that they died intestate. In this situation, an heir must apply for a letter of administration (and declaration of heirship) to execute their relative’s estate. On the other hand, letters testamentary are only issued when the decedent has a will in place. The letters testamentary you obtain identifies you as the executor of that will.

What Can I Do With Letters Testamentary?

The letters testamentary you obtain demonstrates that you have the legal right to act as the executor or administrator of the estate in questions and grants you permission to perform all the following tasks on behalf of the estate:

  • Pay the estate’s pending debts
  • Take inventory of the estate’s assets
  • Distribute assets following the decedent’s wishes (as outlined in their will)
  • Attend to real estate transactions related to the estate
  • Engage in banking endeavors related to the estate
  • Focus on other financial matters related to the estate

Your primary function as the executor or administrator of an estate is financial, which makes having professional legal counsel in your corner essential to consider.

How Do I Get Letters Testamentary?

A Texas probate court will issue you letters testamentary, but to begin the process, you will need to provide the court with basic documentation that includes:

  • A certified copy of the decedent’s Last Will and Testament
  • The decedent’s certified death certificate
  • Identifying information about yourself that demonstrates you are the person named as the executor of the will

This documentation will be filed with the probate court in addition to the requisite letters testamentary forms in the application process. Once you have filed the necessary documentation and forms, the probate court will schedule your hearing date. Ultimately, you will be issued a certified copy of your letters testamentary, and because every financial institution you deal with moving forward is likely to request its own copy, obtaining multiples is well advised.

It is important to note that the process of obtaining letters testamentary can be complicated, and any missteps can set you back considerably. You are not, however, alone in this process. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC in Texas are on your side, ready to help, and are well acquainted with this important process.

Why Are Letters Testamentary Important?

Before obtaining your letters testamentary, you are powerless to move forward on behalf of the decedent’s estate. Once you receive the letters testamentary, you have the legal right to act on behalf of the decedent’s estate; this means that you will be guiding their legacy into the future, which is a meaningful and essential responsibility.

With your letters testamentary, you have the authority required to do everything necessary to carry out the decedent’s final wishes related to their estate, including closing out the estate and distributing all assets within to their heirs and beneficiaries (per their wishes). These are the final acts of the person whose estate you are executing, and your contributions in this effort are both powerful and essential.

Proceed with Confidence by Consulting with an Experienced Texas Estate Planning Attorney Today

If you are the executor or administrator of an estate—whether it is for a loved one or for someone who trusted you enough to bestow you with this weighty responsibility—you very likely have questions about how best to proceed, including about how to obtain letters testamentary. The compassionate and trusted estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC in Texas are here to help you every step of the way. For more information, please do not hesitate to reach out by contacting or calling us at 512-505-2753 today.