Estate Planning and Probate

Estate planning is the area of law dealing with the distribution of a person's property after his death, taking into account Wills and Trusts which he has established, as well as the distribution of his assets (both real and personal) and insurance according to the person's wishes.

Probate law generally involves a court proceeding to appoint an executor for the estate of the deceased, and is also the forum for any later disputes which may arise. When a person has left a valid Will, most probate proceedings in Texas are simple and efficient from the standpoint of required court appearances and procedures.

In the estate planning area, we advise clients, and prepare the appropriate documents, on:

  • Lifetime transfers to minimize the various forms of taxes
  • Premarital and similar agreements, especially when one or both of the parties is bringing specialized property into the marriage or has a family from a prior marriage
  • Wills and various types of trust agreements (both revocable and irrevocable)
  • General Powers of Attorney for business affairs
  • Powers of Attorney relating to health care decisions
  • Directives to Physicians ("Living Wills")
  • HIPAA medical records authorizations
  • Charitable giving, including both lifetime arrangements and testamentary gifts

Our probate services include:

  • The offering for probate of the decedent's Will and the filing of other necessary court documents
  • If the decedent died without a Will, we can assist in winding up the decedent's affairs as simply as possible
  • Post-mortem income tax and estate tax planning, including the use of disclaimers
  • Preparation of all applicable federal and estate and/or gift tax returns
  • Income tax planning for the estate of the decedent and its effect on the estate's beneficiaries
  • Proper transfer of assets to beneficiaries
  • Establishment and administration of testamentary and lifetime trusts, as well as advising trustees and beneficiaries
  • Probate and related litigation and mediation arising from the administration of estates and trusts