Wills and Probate

Protect Your Assets & Your Loved Ones in Texas Probate

When you pass away, the people you leave behind will have much to deal with. If you do not leave a written Will, they may be faced with an expensive administration of your estate with a judge deciding how to divide your estate. By creating a valid Will you can save them the frustration of sorting out your estate in the midst of their grief. In probating Wills for my clients, there are several considerations to address. Who will inherit your estate? Who will be the guardians of your minor children? What will happen to your real estate or your bank accounts? How will your family move forward if your assets are locked in probate? People that do not provide for these contingencies before their death leave a major problem for those they leave behind. Once you are deceased, many of your assets can be frozen and the easiest way to get those assets is to probate a Will.

I, Houston probate attorney Michael L. Holland, have more than 25 years of experience helping my clients take care of these types of legal matters. I will work with you to draft a Will that outlines your wishes and assist your loved ones during the probate process when that day arrives. I also probate Wills in the probate court for those loved ones left behind.

Call 713-970-1300 to schedule a free consultation at my Houston probate law firm office.

Now Is the Time to Create Your Will

At least once a week I hear someone say “I’ll make a Will next month.” But as one month leads into the next, they never make the time to create this important document. All of us hope that we will have some warning before we pass away and will be able to dash to the probate attorney’s office to make the arrangements, but the reality is that none of us know what the future holds and when our time is up. Most people assume they will grow old and die of natural causes at an advanced age. However, the reality of the situation is that many people die prematurely as the result of any number of reasons.

By having a Will prepared you are taking the opportunity for reflective asset protection before and after your death.

Putting together a Will or a Physician’s Directive or a Living Will or Powers of Attorney are not as time-consuming and expensive as you might expect. Now is the time to protect the people you love and make your wishes known.

Do you want to be kept alive on life support if you are just being kept alive by machines?
If you were unable to make medical decisions for yourself, wouldn’t it be good if you had already designated someone that loves you to make those medical decisions in your best interests according to your wishes?
What about your minor children? If something happened to you and your spouse, what is to become of your minor children? With a Will you can designate who will be their legal guardians and also who is to be the trustee of the trust to be set up to provide for their financial well being.
If you are no longer married to your children’s other parent, you can designate someone else (not your ex-spouse) to be the trustee of the children’s trust account and to manager their inheritance until they reach a certain age that you determine.
Do you own real estate, a motor vehicle, anything with a deed or a title? What about bank accounts? C.D.’s? Brokerage accounts? These are all things that will need to pass through probate. Not having a Last Will and Testament causes your loved ones real problems because they need a Will to obtain “Letters Testamentary” which is the document authorizing the transfer of titles and deeds and such out of your name and into theirs.

Personalized Estate Planning

Making a Will is a very personal matter. As your probate lawyer, I will work directly with you every step of the way to make sure that your wishes are followed. To see that your children are provided for and the documents provide for your wishes in such a manner that they will be legally
carried out. A Texas Will is extremely important if you wish to have a say in how your estate is distributed.

Together, we will draft a Last Will and Testament that addresses everything. We will name your “executor” (the person who will be responsible for administering your Will) and decide who will receive your estate. If you own property at the time of your death, your Will can give the executor
the ability to sell the home if necessary (or transfer title to your beneficiaries). Your Will can give the necessary people access to your bank accounts. Your Will can name the guardians for your minor children and provide trusts for those children. We can also make special provisions in
your Will for special bequests in order to give specific mementos to those friends or distant relatives to let them know how you felt about them. Texas probate law provides for a multitude of scenarios following someone’s demise.

You may have a situation where a loved one has already passed away and left no Will. There are other ways of dealing with these situations such as a Small Estate Affidavit, Determination of Hiership, and Independent Administrations.

My clients appreciate my hands-on, personalized approach to estate planning and probate. Although it may sound trite, I care about my clients, their families and their long-range goals. I pride myself on placing my client’s priorities first. At my law offices, you will talk with your
attorney – me – not support staff or associates. I listen to your concerns and I personally draft your Will and other supporting documents. I am the attorney that will go to the court hearing with you.

Can I plan ahead and avoid probate?
Yes. Some of my clients elect to have us help them position their assets in a way that allows them to continue to enjoy the benefits of all they have, but in such a manner that avoids the need for probate. Probate usually costs your loved ones money and time – and usually at a time when they are overcome from the grief of losing you. Some of our clients, approach us asking for help in setting up their estate in order to save their loved ones the necessity of probate. It makes perfect sense. Factors in determining whether to plan to avoid probate depends on a number of factors – such as health, age, and the assets you own. If you are 40 years old or more, you may want to do some planning to avoid probate. Call me at 713-970-1300 for your free probate assessment.

Call me at 713-970-1300 if you have questions, I will be happy to answer them at no charge. If you need me to help you create a Will or to probate a Will or help with any type of probate matter, I will schedule a free initial consultation with you to begin the process.

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