Dallas, TX Estate Planning Lawyer
Having an estate plan ensures that your final wishes will be carried through and protects your family from the challenges that inevitably arise when someone falls ill or dies without a plan in place. With more than a decade of estate planning experience, attorney Chris Parvin is a Board-Certified Estate Planning and Probate Law Specialist who serves clients in and around Dallas, TX.
While we all find it difficult to find time to think about the future, what happens to your family when you die or become incapacitated is not something to be left to chance. Everyone needs an estate plan, and unique personal circumstances will often require that a detailed and carefully structured plan be put into place.
But, this does not mean that your estate plan needs to be complicated. It also does not mean that your estate plan needs to be expensive. For most people – even those with special circumstances – estate planning is a straightforward process that can be completed quickly with the help of an experienced attorney. A well-crafted estate plan will also be flexible, allowing you to make updates as your personal, financial, and family circumstances change over time.
Attorney Chris Parvin provides comprehensive estate planning services to business owners, executives, professionals, and other individuals in the Dallas, TX area. He is a Board-Certified Estate Planning and Probate Law Specialist – a distinction held by only one percent of Texas attorneys. With years of experience in estate planning, estate administration, and probate litigation, Chris develops insightful and detail-oriented estate plans that are designed to help prevent disputes among family members down the line.
Our Comprehensive Estate Planning Services
Preparing Your Will
Whether used alone or in combination with one or more different types of trusts, a will is the foundation of almost any estate plan. Wills serve a variety of different purposes; for some people, a properly crafted will can be all the estate plan they need.
For professionals and other high-net-worth individuals, asset protection is a critical component of the estate planning process. Trusts, annuities, insurance, and corporations are just some of the tools that are available for mitigating risk in the event of a malpractice claim or other lawsuit resulting in personal liability.
Divorce Estate Planning
For those who are going through (or who have been through) a divorce, estate planning takes on heightened importance. Texas law gives certain rights to spouses, and not all of these rights terminate automatically upon divorce. Anyone preparing for a divorce should reconsider their estate plan, with post-divorce estate planning being critical, as well.
Special Needs Planning/Trusts
If you have a child or elderly family member with special needs, addressing those needs should be a central focus of your estate plan. There are a number of different ways to provide for loved ones’ long-term financial needs, and estate planning tools like the Miller Trust and Special Needs Trust allow individuals to retain their government benefit eligibility.
Philanthropic giving is a noble and worthy estate planning goal, and one that can offer significant tax advantages. For individuals seeking to include charitable gifts in their estate plans, we offer full-service representation which includes reviewing charities for financial soundness, suggesting compatible non-profit organizations, and planning charitable gifts for maximum philanthropic and tax benefits.
Many people are surprised to learn that the federal restrictions on gun transfers apply upon death just as they do during a gun owner’s lifetime. To protect your family from the onerous burdens of dealing with the government with regard to your firearms, you can include an NFA Trust (or “gun trust”) in your estate plan.
If you are preparing to take responsibility for the care of an elderly loved one, there are a number of legal steps you can take to make this transition as smooth and non-adversarial as possible. Our comprehensive elder law services include crisis planning, Medicare/Medicaid planning, preparation of trust documents and powers of attorney, and applying for Guardianships in Advance of Need.
FAQs: Building a Quality Estate Plan in Texas
What happens if a person becomes incapacitated or dies without an estate plan?
When a person dies without an estate plan in Texas, his or her entire estate will be distributed through the probate process. In addition, since there is no documentation to guide the distribution of estate assets, the assets must be distributed according to Texas’s “intestate succession” laws. These laws rarely reflect anyone’s true final wishes, and this is one of the primary reasons why everyone should at least have a basic estate plan
What types of issues are covered in a will?
While a will can govern the distribution of all or a portion a person’s assets after death, this is by no means the only function of a will. In Texas, wills are also used to:
- Name a personal representative or executor
- Name guardians for minor children
- Provide funeral and burial instructions
- Provide the ability for heirs to disclaim their inheritance rights for tax purposes
- Provide the ability for personal representatives and executors to make tax elections
What are some of the special considerations involved in the estate planning process?
Along with the more-common issues listed above, individuals will often need their estate plans to address a number of special circumstances, as well. These can include:
- Gun Ownership – With careful estate planning, you can help your loved ones avoid having to deal with the government in order to take possession of your firearms.
- Charitable Giving – There are special estate planning tools that allow those with philanthropic interests to make tax-advantageous charitable donations while also providing for their families.
- Elder Care – Who will make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated? What will you do if you need to take responsibility for an elderly loved one’s care? These are important questions that can be addressed in your estate plan.
- Personal Injury Planning – If you suffer a catastrophic injury in an accident, your estate plan can provide for your medical and financial needs as well.
If I am going through a divorce, is my spouse still entitled to a share of my estate?
Yes, as a general rule. Texas is a “community property” state, which means that each spouse is entitled to 50 percent ownership of any assets acquired during the marriage. In addition, under Texas’s intestate succession law, a spouse is entitled to a substantial share (if not 100 percent) of the other spouse’s estate upon death. This, however, is subject to any conflicting provisions in the deceased spouse’s estate plan.
How could getting sued impact my estate plan?
Yes, absolutely. When it comes to the distribution of your property, your estate plan only governs the assets that you own at the time of death. If you get sued, you may have to satisfy the judgment with assets that would have otherwise gone to your heirs or beneficiaries. Implementing an effective asset protection strategy can help you avoid this undesirable result.
Do I need an attorney to prepare my estate plan?
Technically, no. There is nothing in the law which says that you absolutely must hire an attorney to prepare your estate plan.
But, that does not mean that using a computer program or online “legal service provider” is a good idea. There are numerous factors that go into crafting a quality estate plan, and an algorithm or online form simply is not going to be able to extract the information necessary in order to arrive at the best solution for your estate planning needs. Then, of course, there is the matter of actually preparing your estate planning documents, making sure they satisfy the necessary legal requirements, and storing them securely for when you need them. With so much at stake – for you and your family – it is well worth the modest investment to hire an experienced estate planning attorney.
Choosing Your Estate Planning Attorney in Dallas, TX
Estate planning is a personal process. It requires you to make important decisions about the future, and it requires access to both your personal financial information and details about your family. In addition, as we mentioned above, your estate plan should also be a set of “living” documents that you can revisit and modify as necessary over time.
As a result, you need an estate planning attorney who you not only trust to apply the law, but with whom you feel comfortable sharing and discussing your confidential information. Many people develop lifelong relationships with their estate planning attorneys; and, the stronger the relationship, the better their estate plans often will be.
Attorney Chris Parvin provides compassionate, detail-oriented estate planning services in Dallas, TX. He emphasizes getting to know his clients personally, and he works closely with his clients to develop customized estate plans that serve their needs now and in the future. More than just a legal representative, Chris helps his clients explore their options and work through the difficult questions in order to create estate plans serve their interests regardless of what the future has in store.
If you are ready to speak with an attorney about your estate plan, contact the Dallas, TX law firm of Emmert & Parvin, L.L.P. for a free initial consultation. You can book an appointment online, or call (214) 974-8940 to speak with a member of the firm about your needs today.