Wills and Probate
They say that the two things are certain: Death and Taxes. None of us knows when, where or how we will pass away, but we know that one day, it will happen. When it does happen, it is important we are prepared. Being prepared and having the right legal documents in place can save our families and loved ones from uncertainty, stress, and bad financial and emotional consequences.
With the help of the knowledgeable and experienced probate attorneys at Kathleen M Vossler & Associates, you can prepare for the inevitable so that when the time comes, your family is protected.
Through competent estate planning, you are able to minimize the suffering of the loved ones you leave behind and you are more able to control what happens to your life’s work at your passing. Kathleen Vossler and Associates provides quality representation for anyone looking to take the steps necessary to protect their loved ones through estate planning, will preparation and other related estate planning tools.
Our Simple Will packages include a Will, a Living Will, Medical Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, Organ Donor Form, and potentially other documents that may be necessary. The lawyers at Kathleen M Vossler and Associates have the experience and dedication to help you ensure that your wishes are respected and that your family and loved ones are cared for after you pass away.
A valid will eases the suffering your death will have on your children and beneficiaries by allowing them to simply follow the directions of the will to distribute your estate according to your wishes instead of being forced to follow the laws of the state of Texas to determine how the estate will be distributed.
Valid wills help prevent fighting between family members and allows for you to better control how your estate will pass to your children and heirs. When a person dies without a will, there are often unintended consequences that occur because the state of Texas requires that people who pass away without a will must follow the rules of succession dictated by Texas state law. If you want a say in what happens to your estate after you pass, you need to have a valid Texas Will.
It is important to contact experienced probate and estate lawyers like the office of Kathleen Vossler and Associates to help you to create a valid and enforceable will. It is just as important to contact an experienced probate attorney rather than trying to draft your own will or using the cheap, common will form documents that are available at low costs.
The cheap, make-your-own-will document creator packs often create invalid wills that are not recognized by the courts. When the will-maker software doesn’t create a valid and enforceable will, the document that you created– that you thought was a Will– is ignored by the courts in Texas. You would then have to proceed through Heirship with your estate passing according to the laws of the state of Texas instead of your specific wishes. At Kathleen M Vossler & Associates, we follow recognized Texas law in drafting your Will Package, and follow the proper formalities in its execution.
A valid will also allows you to specify what will happen with your remains upon death and to dictate your burial wishes. It is vital to have a valid and enforceable will and to have an experienced probate attorney like those at Kathleen M Vossler & Associates prepare your will.
Heirships and Small Estate Affidavits
The State of Texas has created statutes that direct what will happen with an individuals estate when a person dies without a will. The State of Texas Estates Code and statutes determine who has a right to inherit an estate without the guidance of a valid and enforceable will. To determine who is able to inherit according to the state law, an attorney must be appointed to determine the heirs of the deceased person. Only after a hearing determining who the heirs are can the process of administering the estate begin. Hiring an experienced probate attorney is essential to help guide you through the Texas Estates Code and Harris County Probate Courts and to make as affordable to you as possible.
In some circumstances, smaller, intestate estates (where a person died without a will) may follow a simpler procedure by which a sworn document can be filed with the court stating general information such as assets, property, liabilities and family information. This document would allow for someone to transfer property from a smaller estate to the persons who survive them. There are some restrictions involved, so let the Law office of Kathleen Vossler and Associates evaluate your situation to determine if this option is available to you.
There are many types of trusts available, including revocable, irrevocable, and various special needs trusts. Trusts are created for various purposes, but many are designed to help you avoid probate or to minimize estate taxes that would be placed on your estate and paid by your beneficiaries and heirs.
Some Trusts are created to ensure that your children or heirs can inherit your estate and life’s work without bearing too much of a tax burden. Some Trusts are created with the intent that they protect the long term interests of your heirs by not giving them too much money and inheritance at one time (while they may be financially irresponsible, too young to understand the value of money or mentally unable to care for themselves or their estate.)
Some trusts can be created to administer your assets during your lifetime and after your eventual death. Trust assets usually pass according to the trust and do not pass through probate or the probate procedure- guaranteeing you a more privacy and less court supervision.
It is very important that you contact the Law Office of Kathleen Vossler and Associates to put into place any Trusts and trust documents you may need in the future for your loved ones and dependents.
When someone passes away with a valid and enforceable will, the person named in the will to act as executor will normally file to be officially named the executor of the estate of the decedent. After being named the Executor and appointed by the court, the Executor of the Estate will collect the estate property and distribute it to the beneficiaries. This process is formally known as Probate.
The Court determines whether any last will of the deceased is valid and will order the decedent’s estate to be distributed to the named beneficiaries. Texas has simplified this process through its use of independent administration, which can reduce the time and cost of probate procedures. Independent administration grants Executors a great deal of leniency allowing making the estate process more efficient and reducing the costs to administer the estate.
The Law office of Kathleen Vossler and Associates is able to perform all probate matters due to our experience in probate matters in Houston and Harris County. Our office is able to aid you in the probate procedure including all the legal court filings, requirements, and hearings. You can be assured that our years of experience in probate matters will make the process as streamlined and efficient as possible.
Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants a trusted individual the right to handle your financial matters. This document can grant those powers immediately or it can be specified for a time when you no longer have mental capacity and need someone to aid you in making those financial decisions.
A Medical Power of Attorney allows for you to name a trusted individual to make health decisions for you in the case you are not able to make those medical decisions.
These documents are incredibly valuable to have during any time of incapacity or if you are unavailable to execute necessary documents. You never know when you may need someone to handle your affairs, so our firm can make sure you have a legally binding documents to prepare you for whatever may come your way.
Living Will/Healthcare Directive
The Living Will dictates what health or medical care you wish or do not wish to have under certain conditions and situations. Under extreme circumstances, you are not able to make decisions such as whether or not you wish to be on feeding tubes, breathing machines or to ‘have the plug pulled. This directive will help dictate what you wish to happen to you upon dire circumstances and you are able to pre-determine your wishes should you experience coma, or other extreme injury. Our office regularly helps people to prepare for such dire circumstances and has the experience and knowledge to help you as well.
When an individual loses his or her mental ability, or if you have a child or adult with mental disability, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect that individual- including pursuing a Guardianship over that person.
Guardianship proceedings may be necessary to help an individual who is not able to care for his basic necessities, such as food, clothing or shelter to survive.
Kathleen Vossler and Associates have helped individuals who care about their loved ones become Guardians over those persons to protect them and to ensure that their loved ones are cared for. We have the experience and knowledge to make sure that your loved ones are properly taken care of through guardianship.
Persons seeking guardianship over their loved ones must not be disqualified from acting as a guardian under the Texas Estates Code and must follow strict rules regarding the estate and personal care of the potential ward. After becoming Guardian, the guardian will have to report to the court and keep track of all expenditures and updates regarding the ward.
If you believe that someone you love and care for may need a guardian to protect their health, safety and estate, please contact the Law office of Kathleen Vossler and Associates to discuss your potential issues.
Estate, Probate, or Guardianship Civil Litigation
Get an estate planning evaluation soon from a knowledgeable Houston probate, trust, and guardianship lawyer. We can discuss all related estate planning documents and advise you on the best course of action. Please contact the Estate Attorneys at Kathleen Vossler and Associates at (713) 861-9447, or go to our contact page and email us to request a consultation.