Estate planning & probate
Safeguard Your Assets & Your Legacy
Prepare For The Unexpected
Humility requires us all to accept that there will be a day when we are no longer here. We spend so much time providing for our loved ones during our lifetime but must realize that our efforts should not end there. Siekierski Law can help ensure that your estate is distributed how you see fit, and done so in a way that promotes family harmony and unity in a difficult time.
Plan For The Future
Proactive Estate Planning protects your loved ones and your legacy should the unexpected happen. It also helps make an obviously difficult time easier on your family.
Help In Difficult Times
After a loved one passes, most estates have to go through a process called Probate. Texas law often requires the estate to be represented by an attorney in Probate Court.
As we (or our loved ones) age, new challenges arise and advanced planning becomes critical to ensure we (and our spouses) are taken care of and that our estate is preserved as much as possible.
Always Here to Help!
Wills vs. Trust Packages
Clients frequently ask whether they should get a will or a trust. The answer is that it depends. Because Texas has an efficient probate system, you simply do not have the same need for a trust as you might in another state. The main consideration is whether you want to put in the work and incur the cost now to avoid probate later (by setting up a trust), or take a more simple and less costly approach now (a will) knowing that you will likely have to engage an attorney again after you pass.
Additional considerations to help in this decision are noted below.
All package prices are quoted for Married Couples. All packages include ancillary estate planning documents, including pour over wills, powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, advanced directives, HIPAA waivers, and Instructions for Disposition of Remains.
In Texas, many clients opt for a will to accomplish their estate planning objectives. The downside of a will is that it must be probated after death, a process that typically requires an attorney (and time) to go through. So while there is less upfront legal cost than there is with a trust, there are additional costs down the road. However, the truth is that Texas has a very efficient probate process, so many clients choose to deal with probate when the time comes.
revocable LIVING trust package
Revocable Trusts are set up during one’s lifetime and assets are transferred to the trustee. When done correctly, the revocable trust can eliminate the need for probate, since the trust, and not the individual that passed, owns the property. Revocable Trusts are often a good fit for those owning real estate outside of Texas (including mineral interests), anticipating future issues with incapacity or disability, desiring to make everything as easy as possible for the survivor, or couples wishing to eliminate the double cost of probate (once for each spouse).
fully funded trust package
The problem with revocable trusts is that they avoid probate only if they are “funded” correctly. In other words, if probate assets are not put into the trust, probate may still be required, frustrating the purpose of the trust.
Siekierski Law’s highest level of service, The Fully Funded Trust Package, not only sets up the trust, but ensures that every necessary asset is correctly titled, or designated, as trust property. The cost of this service is dependent on the assets to be placed in the trust, as some assets (like interests in closely held businesses, mineral rights) can be complicated and time consuming to properly transfer.
Estate Planning & Probate
No matter who you are or what your financial situation is, you have an estate. Should something unexpected happen to you, it is wise to plan ahead and ensure your possessions are properly maintained and distributed. Most basic estate planning services are offered at a flat fee rate, according to your unique situation. The firm also offers advanced estate planning at an affordable hourly rate.
Proactive Estate Planning protects your loved ones and your legacy should the unexpected happen. It also helps make an obviously difficult time easier on your family. After a holistic evaluation of your estate, attorney Scott Siekierski will work to implement a plan that promotes family harmony while carrying out your final wishes. While it is true that you can draft your own will or download forms from the internet, the real value of an experienced attorney is answering all your questions, suggesting things that may not have occurred to you, and making sure that the documents actually work as you intend. The firm offers flat-fee pricing for basic estate planning situations and an hourly rate for the more complex scenarios.
Siekierski Law PLLC’s offers a number of Estate Planning Packages, including the Wills Package, the Trust Package, and the Fully Funded Trust package (click here for additional details). All packages including ancillary estate planning documents, including powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, advanced directives, HIPAA waivers, and Instructions for Disposition of Remains.
Siekierski Law PLLC can also assist more complex estate planning as well, including business succession planning, IRA beneficiary trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts (including Crummey trusts), special needs trusts, and more. These services are available on an hourly rate basis.
After a loved one passes, most estates have to go through a process called Probate. Texas law generally requires representation by an attorney in Probate Court. Probate is the process by which assets are marshaled, debts are settled, and distributions of remaining assets are made to beneficiaries. Texas has a number of procedures to accomplish this, including probating of the will, intestacy proceedings (i.e. no will), small estate affidavits, affidavits of heirship, and muniments of title. Siekierski Law can help determine which type of proceeding is appropriate for the estate of your loved one and then assist you with the winding up of affairs.
• Small Estate Affidavits
• Affidavits of Heirship
• Muniments of Title
• Assisting Executors and Trustees
As we (or our loved ones) age, new challenges arise and advanced planning becomes critical to ensure we (and our spouses) are taken care of and that our estate is preserved as much as possible. It surprises some clients when they hear that many Medicaid strategies must be implemented more than five years before the need arises to be effective. The firm can help with this planning to preserve assets for your spouse, preserve the estate for the future, and arrange affairs to promote dignity in later stages of life.
• Powers of Attorney and Supported Decision Making Agreements
• Medicaid Asset Preservation and Gifting Strategies
• Medicaid Resource Exemptions and Medicaid/Miller Trusts