Texas Estate Planning Lawyers

Protecting your legacy and providing for your loved ones

No one can predict the future, but we can make reasonable efforts to prepare for it.

The Texas estate planning lawyers at the law firm of Shann M. Chaudhry, Esq., Attorney at Law PLLC provide thoughtful, individualized, and communicative services that allow clients and their families to plan ahead.

Grounded in many years of experience, we pride ourselves on listening carefully to our clients’ preferences and concerns across San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

If you’re considering creating an estate plan or have questions, contact us. We can guide you through the process.

Why Estate Planning Is Important

Estate planning is a comprehensive approach to how your medical decisions, finances, business, and assets will be managed should you become incapacitated or pass on.

Estate planning involves organizing in the face of some weighty topics—namely a severe decline in health or death—but it also reaffirms many of the things that make life meaningful, such as loved ones, legacy, and individual values.

This comprehensive plan allows you to:

  • Determine (and update) the people or organizations your assets will go to
  • Use careful legal strategy to enable your family to plan ahead and lower the burden of estate taxes
  • Name the people you want to make medical and/or financial decisions for you, should you become incapacitated
  • State your medical preferences legally and directly
  • Select guardians for minor children, yourself, or your estate

Once created, you can update your estate plan as needed. The documents in an estate plan allow for flexibility and help ensure an inheritance for your designated beneficiaries. In certain situations, it can allow your family greater privacy by avoiding probate, which is the reading of the Will in court and on the public record.

Ultimately, estate planning provides a level of control at vulnerable times in our lives and allows individuals to continue providing for their loved ones.

Estate planning also provides some relief to families and loved ones because it makes your intentions clear, instead of leaving your preferences open to questioning or interpretation. When emotions are running high, this can be especially helpful in allowing people to grieve and support one another, rather than succumbing to inter-familial stressors.

Our TX estate planning attorneys at the law firm of Shann M. Chaudhry Esq., Attorney at Law PLLC combine creative strategy with compassionate and consistent communication. We listen carefully to our clients’ preferences in order to create an effective and individualized plan that meets their needs.

Ultimately, estate planning provides a level of control at vulnerable times in our lives and allows individuals to continue providing for their loved ones.

Estate planning also provides some relief to families and loved ones because it makes your intentions clear, instead of leaving your preferences open to questioning or interpretation. When emotions are running high, this can be especially helpful in allowing people to grieve and support one another, rather than succumbing to inter-familial stressors.

The Texas estate planning lawyers at the law firm of Shann M. Chaudhry Esq., Attorney at Law PLLC combine creative strategy with compassionate and consistent communication. We listen carefully to our clients’ preferences in order to create an effective and individualized plan that meets their needs.

How We Can Help You

It’s never too early—or late—to create a comprehensive estate plan. At our SMC ESQ PLLC, our experienced trust and estate attorneys seek to build long-term, lasting relationships with our clients.

Not only will we assist you in creating and designing the right estate plan for you, but we’ll also help update your plan once it’s in place.

Estate planning is about saying who you are, what you believe, and how you want to be treated. It’s about protecting your assets and providing for your loved ones. It also helps you protect your business, your employees, and your legacy.

Every estate plan is unique. At SMC ESQ PLLC, we pride ourselves on listening carefully to our clients and communicating clearly. It’s important to us that our clients truly understand what their estate plan provides.

Our Texas estate planning attorneys can work with you to create a plan that:

  • Expresses and enforces your values
  • Provides for your loved ones
  • Helps ensure that future medical and financial decisions will be made in accordance with your wishes.

What It’s Like to Work with Our Firm

Estate planning is a process, not a transaction. What documents you’ll need varies on a case-by-case basis. We learn about you and your goals, then identify what makes the most sense for your situation.

We take a holistic approach to planning for your goals. We proceed in phases, as needed, in order to take the burden out of feeling like you need to have it all figured out from the beginning. It’s our job to make your life easier.

Your estate planning needs are as individual as your family life and financial situation. Our priority is understanding your goals—that’s why we evaluate each client as an individual before making any recommendations.

Our San Antonio and Austin estate planning law firm offers several packages to provide you with critical documents and counsel for your estate planning. If you need more advanced planning, we often start with the basic treatment plan and then move on to the other, more complex issues.

You don’t need to know which plan is best for you right from the start. We can work together to figure out what makes sense for you.

Your estate planning needs are as individual as your family life and financial situation. Our priority is understanding your goals—that’s why we evaluate each client as an individual before making any recommendations.

Our firm offers several packages to provide you with critical documents and counsel for your estate planning. If you need more advanced planning, we often start with the basic treatment plan and then move on to the other, more complex issues.

You don’t need to know which plan is best for you right from the start. We can work together to figure out what makes sense for you.

The Essentials Plan:

  • Orderly passing of your assets through probate
  • Guidance for distribution of things that are important to you
  • Control over who will make financial and healthcare decisions when you cannot
  • Nomination of guardians for minor children

The Privacy and Ease Plan includes the services from the Essentials Plan and adds:

  • Probate avoidance
  • Protection for beneficiaries of IRA’s, 401k’s, and life insurance
  • Business protection for passing your business interest without court interference

The Family Protection Plan includes everything from the Privacy and Ease Plan and adds:

  • Asset protection in case of remarriage
  • Protection for descendants from themselves, creditors, predators, and divorcing spouses
  • Protection for your spouse by providing lifetime income
  • Protection from loss of governmental benefits
  • Minimization of inheritance taxes, if necessary

The final cost for your estate planning process will be based on several factors including, time and complexity.

Our Estate Planning Services

Our Texas estate planning law firm provides comprehensive services for individuals seeking to prepare for the future. We offer a firm commitment to communicate promptly, and our legal practice is guided by our core values of empathy, service, and authenticity.

We’ve shared descriptions of services below to help interested parties educate themselves on what options are out there—but we know everyone’s situation is different. Don’t feel like you need to have it all figured out right now. Part of our role is to guide you through the process.

Last Will and Testament

A Last Will and Testament is an estate planning document that legally states who you wish to inherit your property after you pass on and who will manage the property until it’s distributed.

A Last Will and Testament is a foundational aspect of an estate plan.

Our estate planning attorneys can answer questions, find individual solutions, and guide you through the process.

Last Will and Testament

A Last Will and Testament is an estate planning document that legally states who you wish to inherit your property after you pass on and who will manage the property until it’s distributed.

A Last Will and Testament is a foundational aspect of an estate plan.

Our estate planning attorneys can answer questions, find individual solutions, and guide you through the process.

Revocable living trust

Revocable living trusts reduce tax burdens and protect your privacy by preventing assets from going through probate, or the public reading of the will.

Revocable living trusts can also be changed by you at any time.

Trusts need a trustee to administer them. The trustee can be a person or organization, such as a bank or law firm. Or, in the case of a living trust, the trustee can be you.

Once you place assets in the trust, they belong to the trust—not you. However, you still control the assets and they won’t transfer over to your beneficiaries until you die. Income that these assets earn is yours—and taxable.

You can also limit the withdrawals allowed from a living trust after your death. This provides a level of ongoing control in how inheritors or guardians of your minor children spend the money.

Revocable living trusts are a flexible tool to retain control and avoid probate. Our Texas estate planning law firm can assist you in creating a living trust that is aligned with your long-term goals.

Medical power of attorney

Medical power of attorney (POA) allows you to designate a legal healthcare proxy should you become incapacitated.

The person you designate can make medical decisions for you, following any guidelines or preferences you’ve noted, when you aren’t able to do so yourself.

Also known as an “advanced directive,” Medical POA provides you with a level of choice and control in a wide range of possible health scenarios, including something as temporary as being under anesthesia or as long-term as hiring a personal care assistant or determining a course of medical treatment.

Our Texas estate planning lawyers have extensive experience in working with clients to designate powers of attorney and craft advanced directives that address their specific concerns and preferences.

Medical power of attorney

Medical power of attorney (POA) allows you to designate a legal healthcare proxy should you become incapacitated.

The person you designate can make medical decisions for you, following any guidelines or preferences you’ve noted, when you aren’t able to do so yourself.

Also known as an “advanced directive,” Medical POA provides you with a level of choice and control in a wide range of possible health scenarios, including something as temporary as being under anesthesia or as long-term as hiring a personal care assistant or determining a course of medical treatment.

Our Texas estate planning lawyers have extensive experience in working with clients to designate powers of attorney and craft advanced directives that address their specific concerns and preferences.

Durable power of attorney

An advanced directive for durable power of attorney (POA) designates a person to manage your financial decisions, property, and certain legal or business decisions, should you become incapacitated.

Durable power of attorney is limited to legal, business, and financial matters.

For example, your proxy could pay your medical bills but they couldn’t make decisions about the course of your medical treatment, unless they also had Medical POA.

Granting someone durable power of attorney requires careful consideration but can also be immensely helpful down the road. At SMC ESQ PLLC, we guide clients through the process of making a decision that best reflects their preferences.

HIPAA Release

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that established national standards for the privacy of a patient’s medical information. HIPAA is the reason why it’s not legal for your spouse who’s a doctor to tell you the diagnosis of a mutual friend’s illness.

A HIPAA Release Form authorizes the release of your medical information to the individuals named in the form. For instance, if you grant your spouse or adult child Medical Power of Attorney, you’ll also want to complete a HIPAA release so that your health providers can share your medical information with them, such as your condition, diagnosis, or treatment options.

HIPAA Release

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that established national standards for the privacy of a patient’s medical information. HIPAA is the reason why it’s not legal for your spouse who’s a doctor to tell you the diagnosis of a mutual friend’s illness.

A HIPAA Release Form authorizes the release of your medical information to the individuals named in the form. For instance, if you grant your spouse or adult child Medical Power of Attorney, you’ll also want to complete a HIPAA release so that your health providers can share your medical information with them, such as your condition, diagnosis, or treatment options.

Directive to Physicians

Also known as a living will, a Directive to Physicians specifies your preferences for the kind of medical treatment—or lack thereof—you wish to receive should you be diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible condition.

For instance, this form can allow you to specify that you wouldn’t want to be kept alive on life support in the face of a terminal illness. In addition to ensuring your treatment adheres to your preferences, it can also provide peace of mind for any loved ones who may wonder which decision you’d prefer.

Selective of Guardian for Self and Estate

Powers of Attorney cover most situations but not all of them. Nominating a guardian fills in the gaps.

A guardian for self has the right to make legal decisions for an incapacitated person and a guardian for estate makes legal decisions for the estate. Both are monitored by the court.

Selective of Guardian for Self and Estate

Powers of Attorney cover most situations but not all of them. Nominating a guardian fills in the gaps.

A guardian for self has the right to make legal decisions for an incapacitated person and a guardian for estate makes legal decisions for the estate. Both are monitored by the court.

Selective of Guardian for Minor Children

Selecting a guardian for minor children requires careful consideration. It allows you to name who you would want to care for your children should you be unable to do so, rather than having a court appoint a guardian with no knowledge of your preferences.

Elder Law Planning

Elder law planning seeks to preserve some of your assets to support your care while you’re alive. Specifically, it helps plan for any needs around long-term care, either at home or at a nursing facility.

It also addresses Medicaid planning—for which far more older adults are eligible than they realize, special needs, veterans’ benefits, and guardianships.

Elder Law Planning

Elder law planning seeks to preserve some of your assets to support your care while you’re alive. Specifically, it helps plan for any needs around long-term care, either at home or at a nursing facility.

It also addresses Medicaid planning—for which far more older adults are eligible than they realize, special needs, veterans’ benefits, and guardianships.

Non-probate asset planning

Non-probate assets aren’t subject to a Will, and as the name applies, they aren’t subject to probate, either. Ultimately, these assets can grant a family greater privacy.

Non-probate assets include assets that are:

  • Owned with someone else, such as property
  • Payable upon the person’s death, such as life insurance
  • Assets in a revocable living trust

When planned for, non-probate assets can create a more private way to pass inheritance onto one’s beneficiaries.

Implementing Your Estate Plan

Having the legal documents that provide structure to an estate plan isn’t all that’s involved. Your estate plan also needs to be implemented.

As part of our holistic approach, we provide trust administration services, including estate tax compliance and lifetime and post-mortem trust administration. We also help with probate. We can guide your executor and beneficiaries through the probate process and assist with the distribution of assets.

Additionally, our Client Care Program provides ongoing estate plan support free of charge or at significantly reduced rates. It includes our dedicated staff monitoring your estate plan and law changes to make sure it works the way you want as well as the ability to make basic revisions—such as changing beneficiary names or percentages—free of charge.

We also coordinate with your other professional advisors and offer family meetings to explain your estate plan to your loved ones so that everyone is fully informed and can move forward in harmony.

Work with Our Trusted Estate Planning Law Firm

The Austin and San Antonio estate planning lawyers at the law firm of Shann M. Chaudhry Esq., Attorney at Law PLLC provide comprehensive services for clients seeking to plan for the future. Drawing on many years of experience, our law practice is grounded in a commitment to consistent communication.

We take pride in working with our clients to create an individualized estate plan that meets their needs and preferences.

Ready to get started? Contact us. Our skilled and empathetic estate attorneys can guide you through the process.

Texas Estate Planning FAQs

What is the process for estate planning in Texas?

The estate planning process varies by individual. That said, a Will is usually the first step. This ensures that your property is distributed in the way you want—and not by the Texas court, which will distribute your property according to how closely related people are to you by blood.

If you have children and no Will, your spouse won’t automatically inherit everything when you die.

Typically, people also strategize with their attorney as to what to put into a revocable living trust—which isn’t subject to probate and reduces tax burdens. Likewise, choosing power of attorney requires introspection and careful consideration.

Ultimately, the estate planning process varies according to assets, potential surviving family members, and individual tastes and preferences.

What estate planning documents do I need?

At our Texas estate planning law firm, we believe that estate planning is an individualized process.

That said, everyone would benefit from having a:

  • Will and Testament
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Medical power of attorney
  • HIPAA Release Form
  • Directive to Physicians
  • Selective of Guardian for Self & Estate

Many people would also benefit from having a revocable living trust and other trusts, according to their preferences and planned beneficiaries. Likewise, those with minor children would want a Selective of Guardian for Minor Children.

What is the cost of an estate planning attorney in Texas?

The cost of estate planning varies slightly according to the complexity of the estate and individual preferences. Generally, the more time needed to prepare your estate documents, the more it costs.

However, once prepared, legally sound documents only need to be updated as your preferences or life circumstances change to create a solid, lasting estate plan.