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Estate Planning & Probate

Estate Planning

Comprehensive estate planning and effective use of wealth transfer vehicles, such as wills, trusts and ancillary documents, are some of the best investments you can make on behalf of your family to assure that their needs are met after you have passed away.

A will, also called a “Last Will and Testament,” is a legal instrument that allows you to specify how your property is to be distributed when you pass away. A trust is another estate planning vehicle allowing you to control your assets during life and after death. In a trust, property is held by one party (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary).

Having a valid will and/or trust avoids many problems your family could face when you pass away without a plan. Both wills and trusts not only allow you to leave your assets to the people you desire, but also allow you to designate an executor, the person who you want to manage your estate, and to name a trustee, the person to manage property you leave to your minor children.

When thinking about “estate planning,” many people do not take into account any of the supplemental legal documents needed for a comprehensive estate plan. During life, unexpected events can be costly and embarrassing if the appropriate “ancillary” documents are not in place. Some of those documents include the following: Statutory Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs, Power of Attorney for Medical Affairs, HIPAA Release, Healthcare Directive, Declaration of Guardian in Advance of Need, and Declaration of Guardian for Minor Children and Disposition of Remains. These ancillary documents, along with a valid will, and/or often a trust, complete an estate plan and achieve your objectives during your life, at your passing, and after death.

Let our estate planning attorneys ensure that you are taking appropriate steps to allow you and your family peace of mind when planning the disposition of assets and property that mean the most to you, including all appropriate ancillary documents for a complete comprehensive estate plan.

At The Strong Firm P.C., our estate planning attorneys will also ensure you have all the appropriate ancillary documents for a complete comprehensive estate plan.

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Probate

When someone you love passes away, the precious soul that touched your life and enhanced its sense of purpose and meaning is no more. Not only must you grieve, but you must readjust emotionally and financially. Eventually, with the passage of time, you may find yourself needing the assistance of a probate attorney to help you handle the probate of your loved one’s estate.

Probate is the process of winding up a loved one’s personal and business affairs. Probate may be necessary whether your loved one had a Last Will and Testament or not. A Last Will and Testament does not eliminate the need for probate, but becomes the primary document used in the probate process. Once the decision is made that probate is necessary, the next step in the probate process is the administration or management and settlement of the estate.

In Texas, there are several different methods of administering an estate. Which type of probate procedure to use depends upon the size of the estate, the type of property involved, and whether your loved one passes away with or without a will. Your probate attorney will be able to advise you regarding the best proceedings for your situation. The most common type of probate procedure used in Texas is called an Independent Administration. Some alternative types of probate procedures include a Dependent Administration, Muniment of Title, Small Estate Affidavit, and a Proceeding to Determine Heirship.

No matter what type of probate procedure is needed, probate can be a complicated process during a difficult time in many peoples’ lives, but it does not have to be. The Strong Firm’s probate attorneys can help you understand, prepare for, and work through the process of handling your loved one’s estate.

 

Related Articles

  • Probate Basics – Wendy Lambie provides all the basics on probate.
  • Help Wanted – The Strong Firm’s explains why it is necessary to retain counsel through the probate process.

 

The Strong Firm’s estate planning and probate attorneys provide full comprehensive estate planning and probate services, including the preparation of:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Trusts
  • Supplemental Estate Planning Ancillary Documents
  • Business and Corporate Succession Planning
  • Advise on Marital Property Issues
  • Will Contests
  • Estate Administration (Probate)
  • Family Settlement Agreements
  • Lifetime Charitable Giving
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Disability Planning
  • Gift, Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Minimization

To discuss your legal issues and to determine how we can best represent you, contact The Strong Firm today by calling 281-367-1222.

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