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Houston Estate Planning Lawyer

Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys Serving Clients in Houston, Sugar Land, The Woodlands and Throughout the Houston Metro Area

Estate planning is an incredibly important process that can provide much-needed certainty, not only to the person creating the estate plan but also to their family. While most people think that estate planning only deals with what happens to your property after you die, in reality, estate planning is much broader. Essentially, estate planning involves identifying your long-term goals with regard to your health, finances, and decision-making and implementing a series of plans to accomplish them. At McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, our Houston estate planning lawyers have more than 35 years of experience helping individuals and families through the estate planning process. Over this time, we’ve come to understand how to make the process as efficient and straightforward as possible.

Fundamental Elements of an Estate Plan

Everyone’s situation is unique; thus, an estate plan must be custom-tailored to an individual’s or family’s specific needs. However, there are certain estate planning documents that serve as the basis for almost every estate plan. These include:

Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament is a legal document in which you determine how you want your property distributed upon your death. If you die without a will, the court will distribute your assets based on the Texas intestate laws. These rigid rules fail to consider an individual’s preferences. In a will, you can also name someone you trust to administer your estate, as well as someone to care for any minor children, pets, etc.

Trusts

Naming assets in a last will and testament ensures you have a say in where they end up. However, before the executor begins the distribution of these assets, the will must go through probate. Probate is the process in which a court recognizes a person’s death, validates their will, and ultimately blesses the distribution of their property. However, probate is often a lengthy and costly process, which can unnecessarily eat away at the value of your estate and delay the distribution of assets to your heirs and beneficiaries. A trust is a mechanism that allows you to bypass the probate requirement. By placing assets in a trust, they are not subject to probate and will pass directly to the intended beneficiaries. There are many types of trusts, which serve various purposes. For example, special needs trusts can provide for the care of family members with disabilities without jeopardizing their public-benefit eligibility.

Trusts 101: Why is Everyone Trying to Sell Me a Trust?

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document in which you give a trusted person the legal authority to make important financial and medical decisions on your behalf. There are many types of powers of attorney that can be customized to fit almost any situation. Most commonly, a power of attorney only becomes effective upon a finding that the drafter is unable to make decisions on their own.

Advance Directives

An advance directive is similar to a power of attorney, except that an advanced directive gives another person authority to make healthcare and end-of-life decisions on your behalf. You can also provide detailed instructions to medical providers outlining the situations in which you desire life-saving or life-sustaining treatment.

Estate planning is an extremely important process that can provide you and your family with valuable peace of mind for years to come. However, it is important to periodically revisit your estate plan to ensure that it comports with your needs as you move through different stages of life.

Contact the Houston Estate Planning Lawyers at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC Today

If you do not yet have an estate plan, or it’s been years since you last updated your plan, reach out to the Houston estate planning attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. For over 35 years, we’ve provided clients of all ages with friendly, personalized service designed to ensure their every need is met. When you call to schedule a free consultation, we will sit down with you for as long as it takes to gain a full understanding of your situation. From there, we will offer our honest advice about which estate planning products, and a flat fee plan that will help you meet your goals. To learn more, call McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, at 713-333-8900 today.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"In late February, 2020, I needed to file from out of state for successor Letters Testamentary in Harris County for my father's estate. The attorney I used, Ryan Cook, returned my call promptly, gave me the option of hourly or flat rate fee, explained what would be involved, then let his paralegal and other staff handle most of the contact with me. I worked with Crystal. She was very responsive and tech savvy. As the pandemic hit and communication everywhere was getting difficult and the probate court had limited access, these women continued to stay in touch and help me through the process, with us all working remotely. We were all experiencing a new way of being in the world and all three of them handled it with grace, humanity and efficiency." L.B.
★★★★★
"I would highly recommend this law firm because of their caring and professional staff. Mr. David Miller and Crystal Collins have gone above and beyond to help our family get all our elderly parents legal paperwork up to date. We are extremely appreciative for all they have done for us." A.B.
★★★★★
"I engaged the services of McCulloch & Miller to assist me with the difficult task of navigating Medicaid eligibility requirements for a close family member. I found them to be knowledgeable and thorough. Working with Darby was a pleasure. She took the worry and aggravation of dealing with a government entity off my shoulders. I highly recommend McCulloch and Miller for eldercare issues." B.S.
★★★★★
"We needed assistance with a Medicaid application and McCulloch & Miller were extremely helpful and expedited the paperwork promptly. We also greatly appreciated the professionalism, and caring manner in which Darby handled our case. If you need assistance, we highly recommend this firm!" P.M.
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