Estate Planning, Probate & Elder Law Services.
Everyone needs an estate plan regardless of their age and assets. An estate plan protects you as well as your family and most often includes some form of asset protection and/or transfer. Without an estate plan, state probate laws dictate the distribution of your assets and don't take you and your family's unique situation into account.
Estate planning is not simply submitting a set of documents. It's an art and a science that requires specialized counsel. It's important to understand how your assets work together and how to best protect and transfer those assets to your loved ones. A good estate plan can transfer assets, but a great estate plan will pass-on your values and leave a lasting legacy.
A will is a legal document that tells the probate court who you want to get your assets when you die, and who you want in charge of distributing your assets. If you die without a will, state law determines who gets your assets. We can accomplish a lot within the four corners of a will, and it is a good estate planning device for many people.
Seniors and their families often face a myriad of legal and extralegal needs such as end-of-life decisions, unexpected incapacity, public benefit eligibility, or long-term care concerns. We strive to help our aging clients preserve their assets and maintain dignity and control as they grow older. This often requires a focus on planning for incapacity, asset protection and long-term care.
Another powerful estate planning tool is a trust, which is a contract between the Grantor, the trustee, and the beneficiaries. As the Grantor, you determine how the trust functions – to whom, how, and when your assets are distributed. The Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is often used as a mechanism for probate avoidance, and as a vehicle for control during times of disability or incapacity. The Grantor often chooses to serve as trustee during their lifetime, with control of and access to all of their assets. The RLT offers the Grantor the ability to provide their families with asset protection after the Grantor’s death. The Grantor may use the RLT to plan for the family business and for family members with special needs. Of course, there are other types of trusts, some more common than others. Many irrevocable trusts are used for lifetime asset protection, Medicaid and Veterans planning. Even in an irrevocable trust, the Grantor can maintain control of, and benefit from, their assets. There are also standalone special needs trusts to provide asset protection for your loved ones with special needs.
People with special needs and their families often have to plan for public benefit eligibility, and long-term care. With a focus on quality of life and personal circumstances, we help our clients accomplish their asset protection and special needs planning goals.
Financial Power of Attorney.
A Financial Power of Attorney is a legal document giving an Agent that you name authority to conduct your legal affairs. It can become effective at one of two times: i) immediately upon execution; or ii) “springing”, meaning when you are determined to be incapacitated and unable to make your own financial decisions. All of our Financial Powers of Attorney are drafted with specific instructions that come from your “VOICE” so that your Agent can plan and protect you. We call a Financial Power of Attorney a “living document” as it is no longer effective at your death.
Medical Directive (Living Will).
The Medical Directive, also known as The Living Will, is a precatory document, meaning that it has no legal effect, but merely sets forth your wishes as to whether you want life-sustaining treatment when you have one of two conditions: i) terminal illness, meaning you are expected to live for only around six months; or ii) irreversible condition, meaning you can be treated, but never cured. It is only applicable while you are in the hospital or other like facility. We call a Medical Directive a “living document” because it too applies only while you are living.
Medical Power of Attorney.
A Medical Power of Attorney is a legal document giving an Agent that you name authority to make your medical decisions for you when you are incapacitated, but not at the end of your life. It is effective when you are deemed to be incapacitated and can no longer make those decisions for yourself. We now include in all of our Medical Power of Attorneys the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) language. The Medical Power of Attorney is effective immediately upon a determination that you are incapacitated. All of our Medical Powers of Attorney are drafted with specific instructions that come from your “VOICE” so that your Agent knows clearly what you want to have done medically when you are no longer able to speak for yourself. It is designed to give specific instructions in situations not covered by a medical directive – we call it giving you a “second crack at the apple”. We call a Medical Power of Attorney a “living document” as well since it is no longer effective at your death.
The Out-of-Hospital DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) sets forth your wish that no life-sustaining treatment be given to you should your medical condition require it. It works like the Medical Directive, except that it applies out of the hospital.
Administering the estate of a friend or family member can be time consuming and emotionally draining. Handling the details of an estate can be particularly hard if you are grieving the loss of a loved one or if there is disagreement within the family. We represent clients who need to go through the probate process seeking admission of a will and appointment as an executor or an administrator or as a Muniment of Title, and, if you have not planned adequately, the more complicated and costly processes such as heirship determination and overcoming the running of limitations. We assist with the notices, reporting and any hearings or trials that may be required.
Schedule Your Estate Planning Consultation.
If you are looking for caring counsel, plain language and professional guidance, let's talk about estate planning. We want you to understand your options, and create your best plan. Call today and ask how you may receive a complimentary consultation!
Main Office & Mailing Address:
6110 FM 1488 Rd., Ste. 102
Magnolia, TX 77354
Satellite Office Woodlands/Conroe
525 Woodland Square Blvd., Ste 250
Conroe, TX 77384