Areas of Practice
Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning
A Will is the most common document that comes to mind when you think of death and estate planning. A Will is a document that takes effect after a person’s death. After you pass away, the Independent Executor named in your Will applies to be appointed by the court to obtain Letters Testamentary and officially act as the personal representative of your estate. Probating a will can be a fairly simple process in Texas compared to other states, but it is important to have not only a valid will but one with the appropriate language allowing for an independent administration.
A trust is a type of document which directs the distribution of your assets during your life and after your death. Perhaps the most common type of trust is the revocable trust, which is a flexible tool we use for maintaining the privacy of our clients and avoiding probate. It is the only alternative to a Will based plan (except, of course, you elect to go with the State of Texas plan for your assets). A revocable trust is also a reliable means of owning out-of-state property and avoiding conflict when a family has complicated or unique family dynamics. These trusts are sometimes called a “living trust” or a “loving trust”.
There are many additional types of irrevocable trusts in our “toolbox” that can be created and used as a solution for a variety of issues including asset protection, legacy wealth and estate tax avoidance, deferral or protection. Irrevocable trusts can also be an effective income tax and liability planning device.
Special needs trusts can protect the family members who rely on governmental assistance either keeping or protecting the benefits.
Powers of Attorney
A Will or trust is not the only document you need when preparing your estate plan. In addition to these documents, which are in place to handle affairs upon your passing, our attorneys prepare several other “core” documents that will help facilitate your care and financial affairs should you become incapacitated or need someone to act on your behalf temporarily or permanently. These documents include a financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, HIPAA authorization, directive to physicians, and declaration to appoint guardians for yourself or for your minor children. These are critical documents for anyone over the age of 18, which is the age a child becomes legally recognized as an adult, and a parent loses the right to act on the child’s behalf.