Wills & Estate Plan Attorney

Nobody Dies Without An Estate Plan

About half of all people die without a Will, but nobody dies without an estate plan.  Texas law determines who gets your property if you die without a Will.  If that outcome makes you uneasy, then it's time to do some estate planning of your own. 

How A Will Fits Into Your Estate Plan

Many people think of a Will as the only component of their estate plan.  A Will expresses your intent for handling final affairs, which centers on distribution of property after death.  A Will "speaks" only after your death.  It does not help manage your affairs during your lifetime.   

An estate plan includes a Will, but also other documents that assist in managing your affairs during life, whether you are in good health or experiencing a loss of mental or physical capacity.  Collectively, these other documents are referred to as “associated directives,” which includes the following:

  • Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Directive to Physicians (sometimes referred to as a “Living Will”)
  • Declaration of Guardian for Self in the Event of Later Incapacity
  • Declaration of Guardian for Minor Children

For more information about how these associated directives operate, click here.

What Else Should I Know About A Will?

A Will only controls “probate assets.”  Normally, a Will normally does not control “non-probate assets.” 

Non-probate assets are things where ownership passes by contract, such as a jointly owned bank account that contains a right of survivorship provision.  If not jointly owned, a bank account might include a pay on death designation (e.g. naming a relative or friend as the beneficiary).  Life insurance is another example of a non-probate asset—the face amount is paid to the named beneficiary after death of the insured.

At the start of estate planning, we'll help identify your probate and non-probate assets.  We'll also discuss ways in which you can bring what's normally a non-probate assets into your probate estate, as briefly discussed next.

When Does A Will Control Something “Normally” A Non-Probate Asset?

Your Will controls what’s normally a non-probate asset in three circumstances, as follows:

  1. No right of survivorship or pay on death designee exists (i.e. the bank has no contractual instructions about what to do with your money after you pass);
  2. All persons named in a survivorship agreement, pay on death or beneficiary designation have pre-deceased you (i.e. the contractual arrangements fail); or,
  3. Your estate is named as the beneficiary.

Our Firm’s Services

Our firm provides estate planning services on a flat fee basis.  We will patiently advise and guide you through the process to help achieve your goals.  Call today to speak with our Wills and Estates attorney.

The Cramp Law Firm is located in San Antonio, Texas and assists clients throughout Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe and Kendall counties.

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Alamo Towers West, 901 NE Loop 410, Suite 800, San Antonio, TX 78209
| Phone: (210) 819-5052

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