Estate Planning Lawyers Wills & Estates
A probate attorney handles all aspects of wills and estate planning. When you need to write and file a last testament or will, you should seek the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney from Kelly Legal Group. Our probate experts can also represent you in case of disputes over the division of assets or other legal proceedings after a loved one has passed away.
Do you want to ensure that your spouse or partner, children, family, friends, and charities are all properly provided for after you are gone? Call Kelly Legal Group today to schedule an estate planning consultation at (512) 505-0053 or request an appointment online.
Probate Law Services
Probate is a court-supervised legal process through which a deceased person’s property is distributed according to state law. The executor (the individual whom the decedent has appointed) must complete the necessary paperwork within a specified time frame. If the executor fails to do so, the property may go into limbo until it is finally distributed. An experienced probate lawyer can help ensure that the probate process goes smoothly.
Kelly Legal Group is dedicated to providing excellent legal services to clients throughout Texas. We offer free initial consultations to learn about your situation and to help you decide if our firm is right for you. If you have questions regarding any aspect of probate law or other legal affairs, contact us today.
At Kelly Legal Group, we offer the following probate law services:
A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets and obligations will be handled after you pass away. Assets include real estate, stocks, bank accounts, and all of your belongings. Obligations could be guardianship of minor children, adult children with special needs, pets, or sole proprietorship businesses.
Your last will and testament allows you to control the decisions made about your estate. You don’t have to worry about arguments among relatives or misunderstandings about your intentions because your wishes are laid out in writing.
To die without a will is to die “intestate.” That means that the Texas law of intestacy decides who will inherit from you. The decisions made may not be what you would want to happen. In addition, there are costly and time-consuming formalities required in administering your estate after you die if you do not have a valid will or estate plan.
Another type of will we handle at Kelly Legal Group are living wills. A living will tells relatives, caretakers, and doctors what your wishes are in different medical circumstances. Also known as an advance directive, these documents let you take charge of decisions about organ donation, when to resuscitate, and when to end life support.
Standard Will Advisement and Drafting
Some important points to consider in a standard will consultation:
- The appointment of trusted people (known as executors) to administer your estate in accordance with your wishes in your will.
- The beneficiaries of your estate.
- Appointment of legal guardians for any children under 16.
- Provision for any pets to be cared for by a trusted individual.
- Specific legacies—you may wish to give certain articles and/or fixed cash legacies to specific persons or charities.
- Funeral requests—it can ease the burden on your loved ones if there is a will stating what you would wish to happen and who you would wish to organize your funeral. We can let the local undertakers know now what you want to happen when the time comes.
Enhanced Will and Estate Planning Services
Your situation might require more expert advice, such as:
- Consideration of future care home costs.
- Trust provision for young children.
- Trust provision for a disabled person or an older family member who cannot deal with their own affairs.
- Trust provision for the protection of assets—for example, in second marriages when you wish your assets to pass ultimately to your children, or for business assets where there may be succession issues in the next generation.
When a loved one passes away without a last will and testament, arguments may arise over the distribution of their assets. Even if a person’s wishes are laid out in a will, it may be contested due to ambiguity in wording. Legal battles over estates are unfortunate, but not uncommon. At Kelly Legal Group, we can represent you in all areas of probate litigation.
Sometimes instead of litigating a dispute in civil court, mediation or alternative dispute resolution is a way to iron out differences between the two parties. We can represent you in these situations as well.
We deal with two kinds of trusts as probate lawyers: revocable and irrevocable. An irrevocable trust is permanent; once your assets are in an irrevocable trust, they cannot be recovered. Because of this permanency, revocable trusts are far more common.
A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, can be changed or revoked altogether. They can be set up to distribute assets at a certain time, like when minors reach the age of 18 or in increments over a period of years.
A trust is similar to a will, but it includes different features. A trust appoints a trustee to carry out the terms. It can include specific stipulations on how and when funds are disbursed to beneficiaries. A trust is often used in situations where the beneficiary may not manage the money practically. One major benefit to a trust is that it bypasses probate, which is the legal process of carrying out the instructions in a will. Assets in a trust are not subject to probate, so transfer to beneficiaries is a more seamless process than with a traditional will.
Power of Attorney
When you give someone power of attorney, they are charged with carrying out decisions for you when you’re physically or mentally incapacitated. Powers of attorney can be given broadly, or they can apply to specific areas only, like finances and healthcare.
Estate and Gift Tax Planning
Whether you’re thinking of taxes for the recipients of your assets or you’re dealing with taxes for assets you’ve received after a loved one’s passing, it takes a skilled attorney to navigate the ins and outs of estate tax law. Although you cannot avoid estate taxes, an attorney can make sure you are not overpaying.
Other Probate Attorney Services
The services listed above are the most common reasons why you might need a probate attorney, but they are not the only reasons. Probate lawyers can handle healthcare and medicaid planning, guardianships, business succession, and marital property agreements.
Contact Us for a Consultation
Kelly Legal Group has the skilled probate attorneys you need to protect your interests in disputes and carry out your wishes for your estate. Consider us your partner throughout each and every legal process. Call Kelly Legal Group today at (512) 505-0053 to schedule a consultation, or contact us online to request an appointment.
Estate Planning FAQs
What is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?
A will is a document that tells the executor what happens to your assets after death. In contrast, a trust is a legal arrangement that gives someone else control over your assets.
How Does a Living Trust Work?
A living trust is a type of trust that allows you to keep ownership of your home, car, bank accounts, etc., without giving up any rights to those items. You retain full ownership and control of these assets during your lifetime. Then, after you die, the trustee distributes them according to your directions.
What Are Some of the Benefits of Using a Living Trust?
If you have children, a living trust can help ensure that their inheritance is distributed fairly among them. If you own real estate, a trust can make sure that the personal property value doesn’t decrease due to inflation. A revocable living trust can also allow you to leave gifts to charities and other organizations. This can reduce federal gift estate taxes.
Can I Use My Will to Create a Trust?
Yes! You can use your will to create trust. However, you must name yourself as the sole trustee if you do. This means that you alone will decide who gets what and when.
Can I Use a Power of Attorney to Set Up a Trust?
Yes. You can use a power of attorney to set up a trust. However, you should always consult with an experienced lawyer before doing this.
What Kind of Documents Should I Include in My Will?
Your will is probably the single most important legal document you’ll ever write. It’s the last testament you leave behind. Your will describes how your assets will be divided among your beneficiaries after you die.
Trusts are another way to distribute your assets after you pass away. Unlike wills, trusts don’t require the signatures of all of your beneficiaries. Instead, trustees manage the distribution of your assets on behalf of your beneficiaries.
Who Gets My Assets When I Die?
In Texas, your estate includes everything you own: your house, cars, bank account balances, retirement savings, stocks, bonds, jewelry, artwork, antiques, collectibles, and more. Under state law, your heirs get these things automatically.
How Can I Make Sure My Family Inherits What They’re Entitled to Receive?
There are two ways to make sure your family inherits what they’re entitled to receive. First, you can give instructions about how your estate is to be distributed in your will. Second, you can establish a trust.
Do I Need to Have a Will Prepared By A Lawyer?
No. There’s no requirement that your will be prepared by a lawyer. However, there are many benefits to having a lawyer draw one up. These include:
- Knowing exactly who gets what.
- Avoiding problems with taxes.
- Ensuring that your wishes are carried out.
- Protecting your privacy.
- Making sure that your will is valid.
When is the Best Time to Draft a Will?
You can draft a will at any time. However, if you want to change anything, such as adding or removing someone from your will, then you should wait until you have completed your estate planning.