Estate Planning

Estate Planning

Estate Planning

The Law Offices and Mediation Center of Susan M. Edmonson provides a range of estate planning services designed to meet the needs of everyone, regardless of the size of their estate. We understand the estate planning process is very personal and often misunderstood. While many people believe only those who have substantial wealth need estate plans, the fact is anyone who has any assets, including a home, car, or bank accounts, needs to have an estate plan in place.

Estate planning usually begins with the preparation of a will, and sometimes a revocable living trust. The firm’s estate planning lawyers work with our clients to put together plans to:

  • Transfer property to loved ones
  • Put the right people in charge of carrying out the client’s wishes
  • Maximize the amount going to loved ones by reducing taxes

It is important to understand what could occur if you die without an estate plan in place. The courts will make the decision about the disposition of your property. Most of us prefer to have control over these matters; this is why an estate plan is so important.

Wills and Trusts

To make sure your personal belongings are transferred in accordance with your wishes, you should have a will in place. Those with basic assets such as a home, car, and bank accounts may need only a will. Those with more complex assets, such as a business, extensive stock holdings, multiple pieces of property, or property located outside of the state of Texas may need to consider a stand-alone trust or to have trust language included in their Will.

A will provides direction to the executor of your estate. It provides them the necessary guidance to distribute any assets to your beneficiaries.

There are various types of trusts that may be used in Texas depending on your individual needs. We will review your assets and help you determine the most appropriate trust to meet your needs. A trust will typically name a successor trustee, a person who will take over the management of your assets in the event of your incapacity or death.

Powers of Attorney and Living Wills

Powers of attorney allow you to name a person whom you trust to manage your affairs in the event of your incapacity. Generally, a financial power of attorney will allow another person to handle your finances, while a medical power of attorney allows the person you designate to deal with your medical care. Even if you are incapacitated, you can control your medical care if you have prepared a living will.

A living will, per Texas statutes, allows you to specify any restrictions on what type of medical care you should receive if you are incapacitated. This document allows you to specify whether a doctor should take unusual means to keep you alive, your wishes pertaining to life support, and other important end-of-life decisions.

Contact our main office located in Galveston or our satellite office in Seabrook, Texas for your estate planning needs. We provide estate planning services in Galveston, Harris, Chambers, and Brazoria Counties.

Probate

Texas has a relatively simple probate process when you have a properly drafted and executed will. It can be a bit more complicated if there is no will or there are problems with the will, but we can guide you through these problems.

For most estates, whether there is a will or not, the court typically will approve administration of an estate without the executor or personal representative needing to post bond. This process is known as independent administration of an estate.

Even though the process is straightforward, it is helpful to work with an attorney who is familiar with the probate system. Contact The Law Offices and Mediation Center of Susan M. Edmonson if you need help settling the estate of a loved one.

Mediation

Divorce, child support matters, and child custody issues are typically contentious matters. However, in some cases, divorcing couples can find middle ground if they attempt to work together. Avoiding a long, drawn-out process that breeds additional animosity is possible through the mediation process. Mediation is typically a faster process that allows couples to resolve issues in a way that provides a win-win result.

If those who are seeking family law assistance agree on many parts of their divorce, it may be possible to resolve the remaining issues through mediation. This process is generally faster than going to court and allows couples, particularly those with children, to maintain a healthy relationship after divorce. This is very important since parents will have to be in regular contact for visitations and for making important decisions about their children.

Mediation is equally effective in probate and civil matters. The process is much the same as the process for family law mediations.

We are pleased to be able to offer this service, typically reserved for those who deal with larger law firms. If you are facing a matter and believe it is possible to resolve it through mediation, contact our office. We provide mediation services in both our Galveston and Seabrook locations.