Houston Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning can be uncomfortable since it necessitates facing your own mortality. Working with a compassionate, honest, well-informed estate planning attorney can make the task go smoothly and address all of your concerns about your future and the future of your loved ones. If you are looking to protect your accumulated assets while preparing for contingencies, Hegwood Law Group is the estate planning law firm to contact.
We have convenient offices throughout the Houston area. Our clients are successful individuals who have reached an age when they realize it’s necessary to take action in order to protect their families, plan for their retirement and prepare for possible incapacity in the future. We realize that you may be overwhelmed by the prospect and the decisions involved in the estate planning process, but rest assured — we have helped hundreds of people meet their goals efficiently and effectively and will help you do the same.
Specializing Makes Us Strong
Unlike many other practices, Hegwood Law Practice focuses only on estate planning and related issues, so not only are our skills in this area finely tuned, but our attorneys have fulsome experience in this aspect of the law. We are acutely aware that we are working with you to construct documents and make crucial decisions that will affect you and your family for a long time, so we treat you as we would like to be treated — with respect and personal concern. In fact, many of our clients become our friends.
You can count on us to make sure every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted in any document we prepare. Also, we regularly review your documents to make sure they are current and available for immediate use. Knowing the stress that can result from an unknown financial obligation, we most often work for a flat fee.
Documents Our Texas Clients Need
The following documents are essential for Texans. We will listen carefully to your needs and then prepare these documents accordingly:
- Will to designate your beneficiaries, name your executor, and choose a guardian for your children if you and your spouse have both passed away or are incapacitated
- Durable power of attorney for finances to designate someone to take care over your financial matters if you die or become incapacitated
- Living will (advance directive) to spell out your end-of-life wishes
- Medical power of attorney to name someone who will ensure that your healthcare wishes are honored
As you describe your particular situation to us, we will pay careful attention so that we can word each document precisely as you wish and can help you make wise (and legal) decisions about who to name for power of attorney positions.
Avoiding Probate in Texas
In spite of the fact that Texas is known to have a rather simple probate process compared to such processes in other states, Texas residents are often eager to avoid probate court proceedings that may, even so, be costly and time-consuming. If you want to save your family the hassle of probate after you die, Hegwood Law Group can help you to do so.
The Importance of Trusts in Estate Planning
Usually, the best way to avoid probate is to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries by establishing a revocable living trust. Because once you put your assets into a living trust, they are managed by your appointed trustee and are not liable to probate or to estate tax. You should remember, however, that according to the recent revisions to the tax code, only those with assets over $11.2 million are subject to inheritance tax.
A living trust also has the advantage of protecting your privacy since, unlike a will, the trust is not a matter of public record. In your living trust you name a trustee and a surrogate trustee in case the first named individual dies or becomes unable to perform the necessary duties. At the time of your death, the trust becomes irrevocable and the trustee in charge (now know as a successor trustee) will transfer your assets to your beneficiaries. As the name implies, a revocable trust has the advantage of being able to be changed at any time.
While most people do not opt for irrevocable trusts because of their permanence, such trusts do have tax advantages for those with extremely high assets. Irrevocable trusts will also do a good job of protecting your assets from creditors.
Other Aspects of Estate Planning in Texas
Once you commit to working with our highly qualified, compassionate attorneys in the Hegwood Law Group, you will be pleased to find that we are comprehensive as well as attentive to detail. We are fully capable of helping you to deal with any and all of the following matters:
- Elder law
- Medicaid preparation
- Special needs trusts
- Spendthrift trusts
- Pet trusts
- Gun trusts
- Asset protection
- Long-term care
No matter what your estate planning needs are, the attorneys at Hegwood Law Group are eager to meet them. You will find us accessible, frank, and responsive. Why not call us or fill out one of the contact forms on our website today? You’ll be glad you did.