The creation of a will (a vital testamentary document) is very important to most members of today’s society. Even when a married couple is under the impression that when one of them passes, the surviving spouse will inherit their whole marital estate, or if a single individual believes that his child, or life partner, will acquire their possessions, these assumptions fail to take into consideration the fact that without a will the State of Texas, through its legal system, can divide the assets and debts left behind by the deceased through a probate process. Creditors and other persons claiming a stake in the departed individual’s estate have the legal right to do so as well and often do.

Although some assets, such as a bank account held in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, or the proceeds of a life insurance policy designated to be paid to a specific beneficiary, will generally pass outside of probate, many types of assets and debts must be processed through what could become a lengthy and expensive probate process, again, unless the deceased individual had a properly drafted will. In this event, the State of Texas will generally attempt to follow the deceased individual’s wishes, so long as the will is drafted properly. Another very important consideration is the impact that poor estate planning can have on those we leave behind. One mistake often tragically made is to think that dashing off a quick will using the Internet will satisfy legal requirements. Quite often, such forms are either not Texas-specific, or they fail to address necessary legal areas and potential probate pitfalls.

Izzo & Associates makes this process simple and affordable. More than two decades ago, John Izzo teamed up with a top estate planner in Austin and a large probate law firm in Houston to develop an all-inclusive testamentary document that would cover just about anyone’s needs, from individuals that possessed some simple assets to others that needed to pass on a multi-million-dollar estate. Each of these three entities had good ideas for such a product, and together, they forged an affordable will that took into consideration a variety of legal pitfalls that numerous other documents fail to provide.

How we can help

Most civil attorneys handle drafting on an hourly basis, but Izzo & Associates creates wills and associated testamentary documents on a flat-fee basis. While this process exists as a service to our community, it also makes brilliant business sense too, since the beneficiaries of a will quite often return to the law firm that initially drafted the testamentary documentation to navigate the probate process as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, which is precisely what John Izzo intended decades ago. It should also be noted that Izzo & Associates also has created several other documents available to our clients, which can be utilized by loved ones in the event of incapacity or a major medical event.

Give us a free call anytime for a further explanation of what we can provide for you in this area

What is a Probate?

When an individual dies in Texas, many of their assets and debts must either pass through the probate of their will or via intestate succession. The intestate succession process is generally more time-consuming and costly than a probate of a will. The only two scenarios eliminating the necessity of an intestacy proceeding occur when the departed had absolutely no worldly goods or only owned assets in a few finite categories, such as funds in a joint account with another person with the right of survivorship or a life insurance policy naming a specific beneficiary, for example. Generally speaking, it is very risky to neglect to draft a solid will directing the division of your assets and debts upon your death if you own a home or a vehicle or have other possessions or financial accounts which other parties can later squabble about. With the benefit of a properly drafted will, the necessity of opening probate will generally only require the drafting and filing of a petition to open the probate along with a few other documents, including the Oath of Executor and the other A Proof of Death and Other Facts. In most cases, a very brief hearing is scheduled to establish the credentials of your selected executor, who will represent your interests in court to have them officially appointed by the court in this capacity.

Final Thoughts

Your Izzo & Associates attorney will then see to it that the executor is administered their oath and letters of testamentary are provided for the executor. Letters testamentary are basically very inexpensive powers of an attorney which will allow your executor to dispose of your property, such as changing the title to vehicles, etc.

Our team also handles the publishing and receipt of the publisher’s affidavit, which is the legal notice of a death and provides your executor with an inventory and appraisement, which we file with the court to complete the probate process without the need for another court appearance. It should be noted that in the case of a complex
estate or where a contest of the estate is filed, the existence of a well-drafted will is even more invaluable. In such cases, Izzo & Associates has the knowledge and experience to guide your executor through such matters.

Every case is different, so please feel free to call our experienced attorneys at Izzo & Associates with questions about your unique situation.