Get Your Legal House in Order
Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday. – Don Marquis
(This article is a follow-up to our Shacking Up / Not Married & Owning Property in TX article. We consider this a must-read topic for 2 non-married TX peeps buying or owning property together.)
It has been a month since the 11th annual legal seminar, Protecting Your Partner and Your Assets. Whether you attended or not, we are following up with the promised procrastination outreach. Hopefully the topic has generated valuable conversation with your partner and friends as to how you wish to handle your affairs. We know, such a happy topic … death and divorce. Keep this goal in mind: executed legal documents that protect you, your partner and your assets, in place prior to needing them.
First step is a conversation with your partner; second, an appointment with an attorney.
Per lawyers.com (http://research.lawyers.com/Texas/Estate-Planning-In-Texas.html), you can write a handwritten will – called “holographic” – take note:
- It is entirely in your own handwriting
- There are no typewritten additions
- You express your intent to dispose of your property at your death, such as with the words “This is my last will and testament”
It is in your best interest to make your will bullet-proof, limiting the possibility that some estranged family member would contest the will (handwritten can be risky). A lawyer who does estate planning can explain the consequences of some of the most basic choices you must make, such as how your property and assets may or may not convey to your partner upon your death.
Remember, if you and your partner own property together and you do not have a will, you may compromise your partner’s ability to maintain the home, legally and/or financially. For that reason, it makes sense to consult with a Texas estate planning lawyer and have him or her draft your will so that you don’t make costly mistakes or accidentally not accomplish what you intended.
We will be running another seminar on the topic this fall … stay tuned.
A note on the BUDDY SYSTEM … we recommend teaming up with 2 or 3 couples, discussing these issues and holding each other accountable for making an appointment with an attorney and getting your legal houses in order. Here is a blog article to help drive the conversation: https://smartrealestate.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/shackingup/
Here’s to a well-informed and legally-sound Austin LGBT community.
(ps … As a licensed realtor, I cannot give legal advice. Please consult your attorney on these matters.)