Wills & Estate Planning
Texas Wills & Estate Law
It’s not always easy to contemplate what will happen to your property in the event of your incapacity or death. If you put your affairs in order, however, you will know that your loved ones will have a bit more certainty during a difficult time. Having the chance to answer these questions while you are healthy gives you the peace of mind that you have complete control over how decisions will be made about your estate.
CHA Law Group Will Help Ensure That Your Loved Ones Are Taken Care Of
A will is essential to answer the most important questions about what should happen to your property, assets and children when you die:
• Who will be in charge of carrying out your wishes?
• What will they be distributing to whom?
Comprehensive estate planning covers important questions that might arise during your life:
• Who will make medical decisions on your behalf?
• Who can make financial or property decisions on your behalf?
• Who will take care of your children?
LGBT-Friendly Family Law Attorney Christine Andresen Knows the Specific Legal Issues Same-Sex Couples in Texas Face… And How to Overcome Them
CHA Law Group welcomes Central Texas LGBT individuals, couples, and families—we will help you to establish legal protections and documents, like wills, advanced medical directives, and power of attorney, that apply to each individual situation. Christine knows the extra questions to ask same-sex couples taking care of these documents, which are particularly crucial in a state like Texas. (Check out LGBT/Queer for other same-sex couple related legal services the CHA Law Group offers.) Don't worry, non-LGBT folks, she also knows how to do straight people wills.
Estate planning and writing a will are the type of tasks people often put off. That’s why it’s helpful to have a seasoned professional like Austin-based family law attorney Christine Andresen take you through all of the will writing and estate planning steps, making the hard parts easier and the easy parts a breeze. Of course you’ll still have to make all of the decisions, but she’ll guide you through the process and help you think through common stumbling blocks.
Contact CHA Law Group to get started.
Areas of Wills & Estate Law
I’m young and I don’t own very much stuff—do I really, really have to write a will?
Well, yes. You might not have many assets now, but you might one day. And we promise that writing a will won’t bring you any closer to death.
A basic will appoints the person you want to serve as your independent executor, and details how your property should be distributed or not distributed. If you end up dying without one, it can be a big headache for your loved ones (not to mention contentious) (also, not to mention expensive) if they have to figure out what you might have wanted without any guidance. Also, the probate process for an estate without a will is comparable in cost to a will & estate planning package. So if you don’t pay now, your people pay later. Do everyone a favor: Get your will done now!
CHA Law Group Makes Will-Writing Fun. Or as Fun-ish as Writing Your Will Can Be.
In addition to your will, there are other legal documents Christine recommends her clients include as part of estate planning. These cover areas like who can access your medical information, power of attorney, and custody of your children.
Please also look at Medical Documents in Texas for information about other estate-planning features such as:
Advance Directive to Physicians
Medical Power of Attorney
CHA Law Group also highly recommends certain Non-Medical Estate Planning Documents for her Texas clients interested in estate-planning:
Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains
Durable Power of Attorney
Declaration of Guardian
For clients with children, Christine also highly recommends:
Appointment of Guardian for Children
Ready to feel like a grown up? Contact CHA Law Group to get started on the legal documents that will truly catapult you into real, live adult status. Let’s do your will! And estate planning!
- Medical Documents
If I suddenly become very ill, what documents do I need to make my wishes clear to my family?
Many families are stuck with heart-wrenching decisions after an accident or sudden illness incapacitates a loved one and they have no idea what medical decisions to make. The two most important aspects of potential medical decision-making on your behalf are who should make the decisions for you and what guidelines they should use. There are three legal documents that enable you to specify the answer to these questions. This kind of planning is particularly useful to same-sex LGBT couples that don’t have the benefit of a marriage certificate to assert partner rights.
CHA Law Group Highly Recommends Full Medical Preparation as a Part of Wills and Estate Planning
Christine and her staff at CHA Law Group will walk you through these essential medical-planning documents:
Advance Directive to Physicians—Also known as a Living Will, a Texas Statutory Advance Directive allows you to decide in advance the basics about whether you want extreme medical interventions keeping you alive by any means necessary when you are completely and permanently incapacitated. At CHA Law Group, we go beyond the basic Texas statutory directive, and give you a much more detailed supplemental directive that states what life-sustaining measures you want taken when you are in increasing degrees of incapacitation and so relieves your loved ones of the burden of making some heart-wrenching decisions.
Medical Power of Attorney—This document allows you to designate the person who will be your medical decision-maker in the event of your incapacitation.
HIPAA Release—This informs medical providers who has the right to receive your medical information. In the absence of other documents, hospitals often give a surprising amount of rights to a person designated in a HIPAA release.
Do want to be kept alive by any and all means necessary? Do you want them to pull the plug? Get it down in writing! Contact Austin-based CHA Law Group to schedule an appointment to get your medical directives in order.
- Non-Medical Estate Planning Documents
I already have a will and my family knows what to do if I end up in the hospital—should there be any other estate planning items on my to do list?
Yes! Just a few more, and then you’re all set. Austin-based family law attorney Christine Andresen recommends the following documents for all unmarried clients, and for married clients who would like to give their spouse a little guidance or would like to designate specific individuals as successors to their spouses:
Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains—This document allows for the appointment of a successor agent if the first-choice person is unavailable and—important to some of our clients—it allows for certain relatives to be excluded altogether. (Evil cousin, they’re talking to you.)
Durable Power of Attorney—You should also create a more general Power of Attorney to designate a person to make other, non-medical legal decisions for you, either in a limited capacity for a particular transaction or more globally.
Declaration of Guardian—You should designate the person you want to be your legal guardian in the event of your incapacity. A legal guardian is a legal role even more powerful than power of attorney.
CHA Law Group Wants You to Decide What Happens in Case of Emergency, Not the State of Texas. Or Your Weird Uncle.
Do you have kids? For clients with minor children, Christine always recommends:
Appointment of Guardian for Child—This estate-planning document designates the person you wish the court to appoint as your child’s guardian should you become incapacitated. This is probably the single most important document for a parent to complete and have on file.
As with Medical Documents, these legal devices offer important protections for LGBT and same-sex couples that want to establish their partners’ rights in the case of their illness or death.
It's time to write your will and do some estate planning. It really is. There is literally no downside. Please contact Christine to help you get your affairs in order so you can go back to being an irresponsible adult.