TRUSTS, ESTATES & PROBATE
DWMR counsels clients on matters in the following practice areas:
Whether a client desires a straightforward will that effectively controls the disposition of his assets or whether a client requires a complex estate plan combining wills and trust that control the disposition of his assets to successive generations in a creditor protected and tax efficient manner, our focus is to provide that particular client with the plan that accomplishes his personal objectives.
We counsel our clients on all aspects of estate planning process including planning for the disposition of property using wills and trusts, planning required to address potential estate and gift tax issues, and planning in the event of incapacity. This could include the drafting of wills, revocable living trusts, dynastic and tax efficient trusts, durable powers of attorney, health care directives, and related documents. The creation of a Living or Revocable Trust will allow an estate to be privately administered after death. The execution of a pour-over Will will further the effectiveness of a Living Trust. Additionally, traditional Wills can be prepared for those who do not wish to create a trust. Durable Powers of Attorney allow a person to appoint a person to assist them with financial matters if it becomes necessary. Health Care Directives allow a person to dictate their wishes regarding health care decisions should they become seriously ill or incapacitated.
Probate specifically refers to the process by which a court gives effect to a deceased person’s will, but it is generally used to refer to the orderly disposition of someone’s estate at his death whether he died testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will). Whether the probate of an estate is required depends entirely upon the nature and size of the decedent’s assets and the type of estate planning the Decedent has in place. Probate often involves the court supervised process of winding up a Decedent’s legal and financial affairs and distributing their assets in accordance with either their will or the Texas intestacy laws. However, small estates can sometimes be probated without the need for Court involvement. Obtaining legal assistance for probate matters can help to alleviate family conflicts and the burden of the required paperwork and court appearances.
Estate and Trust Administration:
No matter whether someone passed away with or without a will or used a trust as part of his estate plan, certain steps must be taken to ensure that the estate or trust is administered in compliance with state law and to change title to assets belonging to the estate or trust. Estate administration is part of a court proceeding whereby an executor or administrator ensures that all creditors and final expenses have been paid and the assets are ultimately distributed to the will beneficiaries or heirs at law. Trust administration allows the appointed trustee to privately administer and distribute the assets of the decedent to the trust beneficiaries.
A guardianship is a court supervised procedure by which an interested party, usually a family member, can assist an individual who is suffering from a legal incapacity. The incapacity could be that the person is a minor and does not have authority to act on his own behalf, or the incapacity could be that of an adult who is suffering from a medical condition.