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4.6 stars | 77 reviews

Estate Planning

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Estate Planning

Our team of estate planning attorneys goes above and beyond to help you safeguard your assets and prepare your family for the next chapter in life.

HOW WE CAN HELP YOU

Establishing Your Texas Legacy

We believe in flexible estate planning and will work with you to create plans built to withstand the test of time. Estate plans typically include wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. No matter what circumstances we're presented with, if something is important to you and your family, we'll work tirelessly to make sure you're protected.

Why estate planning?

We believe that every adult, regardless of age, wealth, or marital status can benefit from speaking with an estate planning attorney. Contrary to popular belief, estate planning can be very affordable and can be worth every penny when it comes to protecting your family.

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Things To Consider

  • Do you have children who are dependent on you?
  • If an unforeseen incident debilitated you, could they have the life they have now?
  • What is the likelihood that one of your beneficiaries gets a divorce?
  • To whom would you like your real estate to go?
  • Do you know how to ensure they get all of it?

How much does estate planning cost?

The cost of estate planning varies greatly from one situation to the next, and our attorneys will give you an estimate during your initial consultation. Some estates are more complicated than others, and you are paying for our expertise and guidance. By the end of your consultation, you can rest assured that you will know exactly how much preparing your estate with our team will cost.
 
We offer a single, flat-rate plan during your estate planning process. This gives you access to our estate planning attorneys at any time, without being surprised by a large bill for each conversation, as is the unfortunate norm with many firms that charge by the hour. Additionally, we offer affordable plans should you need to change your estate plans at a later date, and will be there to help your family with your estate after you pass away.

Starting Your Journey

Call any of our office locations and we'll gladly schedule a free initial consultation.
During that consultation, we will present you with all of your options based on the specifics of your situation. These options will include a full, comprehensive estate plan tailored to your individual needs, and at the end of our meeting, we will give you a flat fee quote for your plan. Whether or not you want to move forward is your decision, and we will never put pressure on you. Hiring an estate planning attorney is a very important and personal decision, and you must ensure that your attorney is a good fit for you and your family.
 
After your consultation, if you choose to proceed, we will work to gather all pertinent information and create the plans you need to give you peace of mind.
 
If you do not already have an estate plan, it is very important that you begin working on it immediately, and we would love to partner with you to help you secure your Texas legacy.

Estate Planning Tools

Estate planning utilizes many different vehicles to ensure that your assets are entrusted to the appropriate person(s) in the event of your incapacitation or passing. With the guidance of our attorneys, getting your affairs in order will have never been easier.

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Various Elements of Estate Planning

As is true for any type of planning, there are many means by which to achieve an end.  During your free estate planning consultation, our attorneys will listen, educate, and ultimately discern which tools might best serve your objectives.

Last Will and Testament

Many people believe that if you have a will, then you do not need any more estate planning. They also believe that having a will avoids probate, but that is not the case. A will simply informs the probate court to whom and how you want to leave your property. A will is simply a starting point for your estate plan and our Davidson Law Group estate planning attorneys can advise you where to go from there.

"Lady Bird" Deeds

A Lady Bird Deed is typically only used when the main concern in the estate planning process is avoiding probate. Lady Bird Deeds are used for pieces of real estate that you want your beneficiaries to receive very quickly and without going through probate.

Trusts

A trust is simply a container for all of your assets. Assets within a trust avoid probate after your passing. There are three parts to every trust: a trustmaker, a beneficiary, and a trustee. Typically, the client serves in all three capacities while they are still alive and able to manage the assets inside the trust. If the client becomes unable to be the trustee due to disability or illness, the client will have already appointed another person to be the trustee. Beneficiaries become an active part of the trust after the client has passed. There are many different types of trusts, and we may recommend different ones to different clients depending on the objectives the client is trying to accomplish. Your Davidson Law Group estate planning attorney will advise you on whether you need a trust, and if you do, what type of trust would work best for your situation.

Powers of Attorney

Powers of attorney gives another person the power to make decisions for you should you become unable to do so yourself. People who are appointed as your agent under powers of attorney have the ability to handle important decisions, like those regarding your health care and financial assets. A power of attorney ensures that the person you want in charge of practical decisions on your behalf is the person you choose. In Texas, a Durable Financial Power of Attorney gives someone the authority to engage in business, financial, and legal transactions on behalf of another. Alternatively, a Medical Power of Attorney gives someone the authority to make healthcare decisions for another in the case of mental incapacitation.

Advanced Medical Directives to Physicians

A living will informs physicians what you want to happen if you are disabled and not expected to recover from your illness. Typically, a living will documents how you want your end of life decisions to be made. For example, the document will include whether or not you want to use artificial methods to extend your life in the event you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. After making the decisions for your living will, you should sit down with your family, inform them of your wishes, and then give a copy to all of your health care providers to be placed in your medical file.

HIPAA Authorization

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law created to protect the privacy of healthcare information. Even with a Medical Power of Attorney document, there can still be some difficulty navigating around HIPAA to ensure that the person designated to act under your Medical Power of Attorney is allowed to access your medical records and information. The HIPAA Authorization document ensures that your healthcare provider and insurance company have no reservations about sharing your protected medical information with those who will be making medical decisions for you if you become disabled.

Declaration of Appointment of Guardian

A Declaration of Appointment of Guardian is a document allowing you to decide who you want to take care of your children if you become disabled or pass away. Without this document, there is a complicated legal procedure and the probate court decides who will care for your children. You may designate one single person to physically care for the children and to be responsible for the children’s money, or you may designate two separate people for these responsibilities. There are also two different methods for designating a guardian for minor children and for adults.

Does a will or trust make sense to me?

When making plans for your golden years, you'll encounter many different options for how to manage your estate and your finances. We break down the difference between wills and trusts and help you decide which is best for you and your family.

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Understanding the Contributing Factors

Deciding between a will or a trust-based plan is a very important decision that should be made in consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney, and will ultimately depend on the clients’ objectives in structuring their estate plan.  Simply put, there are many things a trust can do that a will cannot.  The following are some common factors and considerations that may aid in the determination of whether a will or a trust is right for you:

  • Probate Avoidance
  • Simplicity of Administration
  • Remarriage Protection
  • Asset Protection
  • Age of Beneficiaries
  • Beneficiary’s Ability to Manage Finances
  • Taxation
  • Family Dynamics
  • Net Worth
  • Types of Assets

If you are trying to decide whether a will or a trust is the right planning tool for you and your family, the experienced estate planning attorneys at Davidson Law Group will gladly assist you in making an educated decision based on your circumstances and your objectives.

 What is a will?

A will (or last will and testament) is a signed legal document that distributes assets according to the wishes of a decedent after his or her death. A will does not have any legal authority until the person passes away and is presented in Probate Court. We advise everyone with minor children or any assets to have a will in place, even though the probate process is still involved when a person passes away. You can further protect your property and family arrangements with testamentary trusts created within the will itself.

How do I plan for minor children or those with special needs?

If you have a beneficiary with special needs, it's up to you to ensure that they will continue to receive benefits and the care they need after you pass away. Davidson Law Group's estate planning attorneys will guide you through this process.

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Ensure the Best Possible Care

In legal terms, special needs is a fairly broad term, including physical and mental disabilities, chronic illness, and even emotional difficulties. Special needs estate planning helps give parents and caregivers information about programs that allow their beneficiary to still receive public benefits while also receiving supplemental benefits from your estate. This area of the law requires a great level of expertise to navigate, making Davidson Law Group an invaluable asset to your family while preparing your estate.

Benefits available to those with special needs include:

  • Medicaid
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

I want to leave a legacy, but I'm worried about taxes.

We know that taxes are a major concern for our clients during the estate planning phase. Our attorneys will walk you through all of your options to help you navigate the complex topic of estate taxes.

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What is an estate tax?

According to the IRS, the federal estate tax is a tax on your right to transfer property when you pass away. The amount your gross estate had to total before the estate tax was triggered up until recently was less than one million dollars, so many Americans who had worked their whole lives to accumulate some wealth would instantly lose much of it when they pass away and are unable to transfer it to their children.
 
Fortunately, in 2012, the unified lifetime gift and estate tax exemption was increased to five million dollars and the tax rate continues to be at forty percent. The exemption number has also been adjusted for inflation for the coming years after 2012. So, unless you and your spouse have a gross estate of over $11,000,000 when you both pass away, at this point in time, estate tax is no longer a grave concern.
 
However, because of these and other legislative changes, your estate plan that was completed years ago might need some major revisions, and without them, your beneficiaries could be severely limited. With the right legal guidance from your estate planning attorney, you can avoid or minimize federal estate taxes and adjust your estate plan to current legislation, allowing you to leave more assets to your loved ones and other beneficiaries after your death.

What is Portability?

The American Tax Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) was enacted into law in January of 2013. The ATRA permanently implemented an element from the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 called “portability.” Essentially, “portability” means that the spouse of the deceased can inherit the unused estate tax exemption and can then use it for gift or estate tax purposes.
 
While the concept of “portability” seems simple, there are a lot of details that need to be taken care of in a timely manner to take advantage of this new law. Be sure to discuss your options with your estate planning attorney while going through the estate planning process to ensure that you and your spouse do everything that needs to be done to qualify for the advantage of “portability.”

What else should I know?

You may be able to take advantage of salary reduction contributions by using a tax-favored employee benefits account. You should also consider using gifting strategies to transfer assets to your children or your favorite charity to reduce your taxes. Gifting strategies and salary reduction contributions should be discussed with your estate planning attorney during your free consultation.

Can you work with my tax professional?

Absolutely. We've found that the best planning occurs when respective experts are all around the same proverbial table. At your direction, we're happy to include your tax professional(s) to increase the holistic effectiveness of your plan.

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Service Area

Serving the Fort Worth & Dallas areas.

Business Hours

Monday8:30AM-5:00PM
Tuesday8:30AM-5:00PM
Wednesday8:30AM-5:00PM
Thursday8:30AM-5:00PM
Friday8:30AM-4:00PM

Holiday / Temporary Hours

May 27thClosed

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4.6 stars | 77 reviews
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