Houston Trust and Estates Lawyer

Life happens unexpectedly, but proactively discussing your after-death wishes with your family and a dedicated attorney can help protect everything you have worked so hard to earn. Effective estate planning could even save you money on taxes and probate costs so that you can leave your assets in the best way possible.

Do not wait until disputes arise to sort through your assets. From drafting a will to providing for your elderly parents, an experienced Houston trust and estates lawyer from Romano & Sumner can help you prevent probate litigation and obtain peace of mind.

Wills, Medical Powers of Attorney, and Powers of Attorney in Houston

Many people delay estate planning until it is too late. While this can be an uncomfortable topic for some, it could eventually benefit and reduce the stress of your loved ones. Preparing the following common estate planning documents now could help your family avoid costly probate disputes later:

  • Last Will and Testament – Properly drafted wills express the testators’ desires after their passing. These legally binding documents instruct an elected executor about distributing assets, including money and property, and can outline funeral arrangements and any special requests upon the death of the testator.
  • Medical Power of Attorney and Advanced Directive – A medical power of attorney appoints a representative to make healthcare decisions in the event of the settlor’s medical or mental incapacitation. Medical powers of attorney can also contain instructions for attending doctors regarding the settlor’s instructions for receiving artificial life support.
  • Power of Attorney (POA) – A power of attorney gives one or more persons the authority to conduct certain financial and business transactions in the name of the principal.

An experienced estate planning attorney can tailor each of these documents to your specific needs. A Romano & Sumner trust and estate attorney can draft documents according to your unique legal concerns.

Trust and Estate Planning for Elderly Family Members

Generally, trusts function as holding accounts for family assets. One or more parties transfer assets, such as a home or money, to a trust account managed by another family member or a professional trustee. Upon a specific date or triggering event, the assets immediately transfer to the designated beneficiaries of the trust.

Trusts may also protect an elderly parent’s home and money from medical and tax liabilities. Further, assets placed in trust do not enter probate or pass through a will. If an individual is considering setting up an account for holding assets, discussing the benefits of a properly executed trust with an experienced estate planning attorney in the area is the right first step.

Understanding Texas Intestate Succession Law

Texas’s Estates Code § 101.001 specifics that, upon death, a person’s estate immediately vests according to a valid will. If you die without a will, your assets will pass under the intestate laws, Texas Estate Code § 201.011, in the following order:

  • To the living spouse
  • If no spouse, equally to living children, grandchildren, and/or great-grandchildren
  • If no children/grandchildren, equally between a living father and mother
  • If no living parents, equally between the deceased’s siblings, nieces, and nephews
  • If no living siblings, nieces, or nephews, equally between living grandparents
  • If no living grandparents, equally between the nearest paternal and maternal kindred

Different distribution rules may apply depending on if your assets are separate or community property.

Be Proactive by Contacting a Houston Trust and Estates Attorney Today

No matter the size of your estate, protect what you have. Effectively planning your estate now can save your family time and money after you pass, and you can rest knowing that there are protections in place should anything happen.

Live in the present but prepare for the future with the help of a knowledgeable Houston trust and estates lawyer. Speak with Romano & Sumner’s qualified estate planning team to discuss your needs today.

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    Romano & Sumner, PLLC

    Romano & Sumner, PLLC