OUR SERVICES. We prepare all types of wills, trusts and powers of attorney from the very simple to the very complex. What Planning is Right for You? Most people need simple planning with wills and powers of attorney. Sometimes, people have more complex needs. We will listen to your story and help you decide what type of estate planning is right for you and your family.
ELDER LAW IN FOCUS. THE ELDER LAW ADVANTAGE FOR SENIORS. We focus on elder law which is an area of law entirely dedicated to seniors. We believe that estate planning for seniors should always be focused around a discussion of elder law and long term care planning. That allows us to identify planning opportunities and pitfalls and to best meet the estate planning needs of our senior clients. We don’t charge more for estate planning services because of our extra attention to elder law; however, we do offer elder law options for estate planning that go beyond typical estate planning. Those options could end up saving assets for you and your family that you might otherwise lose. ***Visit Our Page on Elder Law to Learn More. ***
SPECIAL NEEDS IN FOCUS FOR LOVED ONES WITH DISABILITIES. Families who have a family member with a disability must plan for the future very carefully. How assets are left after your death can have a tremendous impact on the quality of life for that person. No planning or poor planning can have devastating effects on your child or loved one. A well designed estate plan can make a world of difference in the lives of your child or loved one and those who will care for him or her after you are gone. You can make the difference. ***Visit Our Page on Special Needs Planning to Learn More. ***
WHY EVERYONE NEEDS WILLS AND POWERS OF ATTORNEY. Whether you are rich, poor, young or old; done properly, they save you money, headaches and heartaches. They are not just for the wealthy or the elderly. Often times, poor, middle class and young people benefit the most. Not having them when you need it can cause hardship and even be disastrous.
- IT IS AFFORDABLE. Most estate planning is not very expensive or difficult. The cost of not having estate planning when you need it exceeds the cost of estate planning by far.
- NOT PLANNING CAN CAUSE MANY PROBLEMS. Oftentimes, not having a plan can be very expensive for you and your loved ones. For some people, it is disastrous. Your spouse could lose rights in the home and other assets, your spouse or loved ones could be disqualified from government aid like Medicaid or SSI, lose assets to the government, or be forced into expensive guardianship or probate proceedings. See the sections on CAUTIONARY TALES to learn more on how not planning hurts.
People Especially In Need of Estate Planning Are:
- Older Americans and Their Families
- Blended Families
- Families with Minor Children or Young Adults
- Families with Persons with Disabilities or Receiving Public Assistance
- Families with Closely Held Family Business
- Persons Whose Estate May Be Taxable
- Persons with Complicated Family Situations
- Persons with Complicated Assets
- See the sections below on CAUTIONARY TALES, MERP and Guardianships for real life examples of how estate planning changes lives.
- Avoid Losing the Family Home to the Government. Consider the widower who worked hard his entire life to pay off his family home and who wants to pass it on to his children. If he needed Medicaid nursing home care at the end of his life, the government will seek to take the home after his death so that nothing is left to pass on the children. The MEDICAID ESTATE RECOVERY PROGRAM (MERP) is the program by which the federal government seeks to take the assets of some deceased persons, including their homes, to reimburse Medicaid for expenses expended on the deceased person, leaving nothing for their families. THERE IS HELP IN TEXAS! Texas law gives Texans tools to avoid MERP claims before they begin. A Lady Bird Deed also known as Enhanced Life Estate Deed or a Transfer on Death Deed can save your home. Other planning can also help you save more. Advance Planning is key! DON’T LET MERP GET THE HOUSE! CALL US to see how to protect your home from MERP. If you have already received a MERP claim letter in the mail, we still may be able to stop MERP. We can help many people avoid or reduce MERP claims.
- STEP PARENTS – Avoid Losing a Piece of Your Home and Retirement Dreams. Consider the stepmom who has lost her husband of 30 years. If her husband did not have a will, she will find that she does not own her home outright because her husband’s share has passed to his children. She will have the right to live in the house for the rest of her life and will still own her share of it (unless it was her husband’s separate property), but a myriad of problems await her with regard to selling, refinancing or passing the house on upon her death. This can be avoided with a simple will. If financial accounts, including retirement accounts, are not coordinated with your or your estate plan, then they may pass in large part to the children instead of your spouse which may not the intended outcome.
- Stop Loved Ones Who are Elderly or Disabled From Losing Public Benefits. Without estate planning, an elderly persons or persons with a disability may lose very valuable public benefits such a Medicaid and SSI if they receive an inheritance that gives them over $2,000 in assets or even a small amount of income. With proper planning, we can help you leave assets to your loved ones and allow them to keep their public benefits.***Visit Our Page on Elder Law to Learn More.***
- Avoid Expensive Guardianships for Loved Ones Under 18 or Incapacitated. Without estate planning, if a minor or incapacitated person inherits assets, they and their loved ones may be forced to enter into a lengthy, burdensome and expensive guardianship administration to manage assets they inherited. For smaller inheritances, the costs of the guardianship administration can greatly deplete the amount of assets inherited. Then, at 18, a new adult would take over full control of those assets. With proper planning, we can avoid the need for a guardianship and be sure the assets you leave to minors or persons with disabilities are protected. ***Visit Our Page on Elder Law and Guardianship to Learn More.***
- Avoid Expensive Guardianships for Older Adults. A guardianship may become necessary when a person is unable to manage his or her health or financial matters or needs to be protected from themselves or others. It is an expensive, complicated and lengthy process which can usually be avoided with advance planning. Please see our section on Guardianships on the Probate and Guardianship page. PLAN NOW TO AVOID GUARDIANSHIP. The need for a guardianship can often be entirely avoided with proper advance planning. You can use powers of attorney, wills and trusts to plan ahead to avoid guardianships for yourself and your loved ones. ***Visit Our Page on Elder Law and Guardianship to Learn More.***
- Avoid Losing A Big Portion of Your Taxable Estate to the Federal Government. For people wealthy enough to have taxable estates, without estate planning, your family can lose a significant portion of your estate to the federal government through the estate tax. With proper estate planning, we can protect many of your assets from the estate tax. ***Visit Our Page on Elder Law to Learn More.***
- These are just a few situations which estate planners see on a regular basis that could be avoided with estate planning, much of which is very simple and inexpensive.
* Elder law and special needs planning are vast practice areas with many different specialties. In some cases, we may refer your case to a lawyer who we feel may better meet your needs such as a certified elder law attorney who is certified by the National Elder Law Foundation, which is approved to grant this certification by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization**The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. *