Probate Attorneys in Kingwood
Will, Trusts, and Estate Planning
Estate planning is about making difficult decisions now so that your loved ones are not forced to make them later. It is about protecting your family and your hard-earned assets. It is about preserving what you value in life. It is about peace of mind.
Whatever the size of your estate, our attorneys can provide you with the guidance and services required to meet your individual needs and goals.
Our estate planning services are fully integrated with other important areas of our practice. We consider the big picture – your business needs, your family situation, your estate planning needs, your personal goals and more – so that we may provide you with the right kind of service required for the unique individual you are.
Comprehensive Estate Planning Services
At Currin, Wuest, Mielke, Paul & Knapp, P.L.L.C., our estate planning practice encompasses everything from the drafting of simple wills to the development of sophisticated asset protection plans.
Some of the specific estate planning services we provide include:
Probate and Estate Administration
When a loved one dies, handling his or her affairs can be overwhelming, exhausting, and emotional. The probate process is often complex, but the attorneys at Currin, Wuest, Mielke, Paul & Knapp, P.L.L.C. are experienced and knowledgeable and will make the process as smooth as possible.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process of proving a Will, collecting assets, resolving claims and distributing property after a person’s death.
The probate process is much simpler when a loved one dies with a valid Will. Our attorneys will review the Will and advise the client (typically the person named as the Independent Executor in the Will) of the options available, whether it be an Independent Administration, Muniment of Title, or an Affidavit of Heirship.
When a person dies without a Will, the law determines who the heirs are and the decedent’s property is distributed according to the intestate succession laws. This process can be a bit more complicated. In some cases, the courts will be involved in almost every step and the administrator will need to seek court approval for almost every transaction.
If a Will is contested, the lawyers at Currin, Wuest, Mielke, Paul & Knapp, P.L.L.C. can help.
“Guardianship is a legal process designed to protect vulnerable persons from abuse, neglect (including self-neglect), and exploitation.” –Texas Guardianship Association
When a person becomes incapacitated, it is sometimes necessary to ask the Courts to appoint a guardian to make decisions for him or her. The person who is incapacitated is the “ward” and the person appointed by the Courts to manage the ward’s affairs is the “guardian.” A ward may need a guardian of the person who will take care of the ward’s physical needs, which includes making personal, medical, and welfare decisions on behalf of the ward. A ward may need a guardian of the estate who will take care of the ward’s financial needs. Sometimes a ward needs both a guardian of the person and estate.
Simple and Complex Wills
A Will is the most essential and fundamental tool of estate planning. Simply put, it is a document that expresses how you want your property to pass at death. Without a Will, your property will pass according to the intestate succession laws, which may or may not be how you want your estate to be distributed. A Will incorporates your distribution desires, whether it be outright to the beneficiaries or in trusts for minors, aging parents, or family members with disabilities. A Will can also be used to minimize estate taxes.
In addition to property distribution, your Will should also designate an executor, trustee, and guardian for minor children (and alternates), where applicable.
There are many advantages to creating a trust, including, asset protection from creditors, tax advantages, protection of assets during incapacitation, and asset management. Trusts can be designed and crafted to meet your specific goals and needs. Our estate planning attorneys are experienced in handling all different kinds of circumstances. We will create an estate plan that is just right for you.
Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
Also called a financial power of attorney, a durable power of attorney gives a person, whom you designate in the document, the power to make financial decisions and participate in financial transactions on your behalf. A power of attorney can be used for a specific purpose, such as the sale of a home, or it can be used for all general financial transactions listed on the document. It may become effective on the day it is signed, or it may become effective upon your disability and incapacity. Our estate planning attorneys can help you in any and all circumstances.
Living Will / Directive to Physician
An advanced directive to physicians is a legal document designed to help you communicate your wishes to medical personnel about medical treatment and life-sustaining procedures if you are diagnosed with a terminal condition or an irreversible condition.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney gives a person, whom you designate in the document, the authority to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself.
Our estate planning attorneys can also provide for you a Medical Power of Attorney and Designation of Health Care Agent for a Minor Child. This document is helpful when other family members or close friends care for your minor child(ren) and need to make health care decisions on their behalf. This may come about because you are out of town or unable to make health care decisions for your child(ren) for another reason.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) ensures privacy of your personal and private health care information. Since its enactment, doctors are unable and unwilling to share any of your medical or personal information with anyone, including your spouse. Our estate planning attorneys can draft a release, sometimes called a waiver, in which your designated agent can have full access to your medical records and may discuss your condition with your doctors.
Designation of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains
Another document of interest to many clients is the Designation of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains. You may give your agent special instructions limiting their power with respect to the disposition of your remains, including cremation. Such instructions from you can deter conflict between family members regarding your burial arrangements.
Declaration of Guardian
In the event of incapacity or if the need for a guardian arises, this document allows you to declare who you want to be your guardian. This document also allows you to specifically exclude anyone who you would NOT want to serve as your guardian in the later event of incapacity.