Estates | Probate

ESTATE PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION/PROBATE/GUARDIANSHIPS

Aric J. Garza Law PLLC offers legal counsel and assistance to clients in all stages of the probate process, providing compassionate and experienced representation during a time that is often very emotional and stressful. We deal with many issues related to the probate process, including:

Probate Administration: Probate is the process by which a person’s estate is administered after they die, including locating assets, paying debts, and distributing property to heirs. A probate lawyer often walks family members through the process of administering an estate after the death of a loved one, ensuring that legal paperwork is filed correctly and in a timely fashion, representing loved ones in probate court, and answering questions about a process that can sometimes be confusing.

Probate Litigation. Disputes over wills and trusts are, unfortunately, very common. A probate litigation lawyer can help with contesting wills, determining heirship when a person dies without a will, helping trustees pursue legal action against a negligent executor/administrator or trustee, and other issues. The types of litigation involving estates, guardianships and trusts include:

  • will contests
  • contested guardianships
  • lawsuits requiring executors and trustees to account
  • breach of fiduciary duty litigation
  • lawsuits to recover property lost by incompetent or dishonest executors and trustees
  • lawsuits seeking the removal and replacement of executors and trustees
  • litigation to construe the terms of a will or trust
  • defending executors and trustees against claims by beneficiaries
  • actions to modify or terminate trusts

Guardianships. A guardian is someone who is given legal authority to care for and make decisions for another person. Sometimes a guardian is needed for a minor because the child’s parents are deceased. Other times a parent may be found unfit. Adults who are incapacitated by an injury or illness may also need a guardian to provide day-to-day care and make financial and medical decisions. No matter what the circumstances, Aric J. Garza Law PLLC can provide valuable assistance in this legal process.

Estate Planning. By having your affairs in order, from drafting a will to setting up trusts and drawing up power of attorney documents, you can rest easy knowing that your wishes will be honored. For families with simpler, smaller estates, we provide a complete and versatile plan at a reasonable fee. These plans are likely to include most or all of the following:

  • A will
  • A revocable inter vivos trust (a “living trust”)
  • A statutory durable power of attorney for property
  • A medical power of attorney
  • A directive to physicians and family or surrogates (a “living will”)
  • A declaration of guardian if the need later arises
  • A declaration of guardian for minor children
  • A HIPAA (medical information) authorization
  • A funeral directive
  • Instructions on coordinating non-probate assets like life insurance and retirement plans with the rest of the estate plan

For more complex, larger estates, Aric J. Garza Law PLLC can help with more sophisticated options, including but not limited to:

  • Bypass/credit shelter trust planning
  • Marital trust/qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust
  • Life insurance trust
  • Irrevocable trust for gifting and business ownership
  • Family limited partnerships and LLCs

We also work with clients whose circumstances present special planning challenges, including:

  • Prenuptial/premarital property agreements
  • Post-marital property agreements
  • Blended families/second marriages
  • Same sex couples
  • Special needs trusts/planning for disabled or challenged beneficiaries
  • Planning for the terminally ill

Whether you need help litigating issues in the probate process, helping set up guardianship, or developing an estate plan, contact Aric J. Garza Law PLLC today and schedule a consultation or find out more about our services.