Wills, Trusts, Other Estate Planning & Probate

Wills, Trusts and Other Estate Planning Documents

A simple estate plan should include a valid last Will and Testament, a Medical Power of Attorney, a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, a Directive to Physicians, and a Designation of Adult Guardian. The Will sets out your wishes regarding who gets your property. The Medical Power of Attorney lets you designate one or more people to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to make those decisions. The Statutory Durable Power of Attorney lets you designate one or more people to make financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to. A Directive to Physicians (sometimes called a “Living Will”) is an advance directive that lets you specify what is to happen to you if you are in a terminal condition or an irreversible condition. Finally, a Designation of Adult Guardian lets you name one or more person to act as your guardian in the event you need one appointed for you. It also lets you exclude certain people who you do not want serving as your guardian.

If you have children under the age of 18, or if you have a child with special needs, your Will needs to include separate provisions that address those issues. With minor children, a Will needs to include a trust that is set up for the benefit of your children until they reach an age designated by you. For children with special needs, a Supplemental Needs Trust can be set up so that the child’s benefits, such as SSI and/or Medicaid, are not reduced or terminated. Estate planning can also involve setting up a Living Trust. A trust is particularly helpful in situations where you own property outside of Texas, or if you own a business that you want your heirs to continue operating. Finally, estate planning can be used to avoid probate by preparing documents such as a Transfer on Death Deed, which allows real property to transfer to the named heirs without going through the probate process. 


Contact us at 817-282-9050 or attorneys@joaquinduncan.com or request a consultation online.


Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s estate is settled, including collecting assets, settling claims and debts, and distributing the net estate as provided in the Will. The process starts with the filing of an application in the probate court. Along with the application, the original of the Will, if there is one, has to be filed. A copy can be used if the original cannot be located. After the statutory waiting period, a hearing is held before the probate judge. At that hearing, the court will determine the validity of the will and if the person named executor in the will is qualified to serve. If the will is admitted to probate, the court will appoint an executor and issue Letters Testamentary to the executor. The executor will identify and collect the estate property. The executor will also identify any creditors the deceased person owed. Within 90 days of the appointment of the executor, an inventory of the estate must be filed, unless it was waived by the court. After the creditors have been paid, the final step for the executor is to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

Contact us at 817-282-9050 or attorneys@joaquinduncan.com or request a consultation online.

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Disclaimer:  This site is advertising.  All information is provided without any guarantee of accuracy, and is not legal advice. Please consult a qualified attorney before making decisions about your case. No attorney client relationship is created by reading this site or by contacting the attorney. 

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