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Recent Blog Posts

Understanding the Purpose and Benefits of a Living Will

 Posted on April 05,2023 in Estate Planning

Flower Mound Elder Law AttorneyIf you pass away, would you want your organs to be donated to another individual? If you were in a coma and there was no chance of recovery, would you want doctors to keep you alive through artificial ventilation and feeding tubes? These are not easy questions. However, these are questions that you alone can answer.

A living will is an estate planning document that allows an individual to decide on what types of medical care they will receive if they are incapacitated. For example, if you were terminally ill and could not speak or otherwise express your wishes regarding medical treatment, doctors would follow the directions provided in your living will. A living will is a legal tool that often gets overlooked. However, it is essential to include it in your estate plans.

Why Should I Draft a Living Will?

A living will is an advanced directive that addresses medical decision making. The document instructs health care providers in the event that you cannot instruct them yourself. One of the greatest benefits of a living will is that it puts you in control of the medical care you receive regardless of whether you are conscious and aware. Another crucial benefit of a living will is that it shields your loved ones from having to make extremely difficult decisions on your behalf. Too many families end up in huge disagreements or even legal battles over whether to take a loved one off life support. When you describe your wishes in a living will, you save your loved ones the burden of making these decisions on your behalf.

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An Irrevocable Trust Can Protect Your Assets from Lawsuits

 Posted on March 27,2023 in Estate Planning

Flower Mound Estate Planning LawyerWe live in a litigious society, and for certain individuals, the threat of a lawsuit is ever-present. For example, doctors and other medical professionals are at significant risk of being sued at some point in their careers. Research conducted by the American Medical Association found that one in three physicians has had a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against them.

Business owners, real estate developers, and individuals in high-profile careers may also worry about the risk of being sued at some point. If this is a concern for you, one option you may want to consider is an irrevocable trust.

Irrevocable Trust Benefits

There are many different types of trusts that serve a variety of purposes. As the name implies, irrevocable trusts cannot be easily terminated or modified once they are established. When property is placed in an irrevocable trust, it becomes the property of the trust. The person who created the trust, the grantor, no longer owns the property. This means that if a grantor is sued, the assets in the trust cannot be touched – they are safe from creditors and plaintiffs. Furthermore, because the assets are removed from the grantor's estate, an irrevocable trust relieves the grantor of the tax liability generated by the assets.

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What Should I Do If Medicare Denies a Claim?

 Posted on March 09,2023 in Elder Law

Flower Mound Elder Law AttorneyMedicare is a crucial healthcare benefit for many older adults, but unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to get Medicare to pay for your medical treatment or services. If you have received a denial from Medicare on a claim you submitted, there are some steps you can take to try and appeal the decision.

If you feel that you have been unfairly denied a claim, your first step should be to consult an elder law attorney. Your attorney will help you understand the details of the denial and advise you on how to proceed with an appeal.

Responding to a Medicare Denial

Dealing with health concerns is difficult enough. When Medicare denies you coverage of a medical service, supply, or medication, it can exacerbate the stress immensely.

If you have received a denial from Medicare, you should review the denial notice carefully. It will let you know why your claim was denied and provide instructions on how to submit an appeal if you choose to do so. You should also contact your healthcare provider or supplier for additional information about the denial.

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Selecting a Power of Attorney

 Posted on February 21,2023 in Estate Planning

Denton County Estate Planning LawyerLife is anything but predictable - which is why estate planning is important for individuals of any age. A power of attorney (POA) document allows you to designate a trusted individual to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.

When selecting an individual to serve as your power of attorney, it is essential to choose someone you can trust with the responsibility and authority that comes with the role. To help ensure you make an informed decision, consider the following five questions.

Can This Person Handle the Responsibilities that Come With Being a Power of Attorney?

Serving as a power of attorney means making significant decisions and taking on important financial responsibilities. The person you select should be able to handle the potential challenges that come with the role. Ask yourself if this person has the skills to make sound decisions and handle the legal and financial aspects of managing your affairs.

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How Can I Incorporate Charitable Giving into My Texas Estate Plan?

 Posted on February 08,2023 in Estate Planning

Flower Mound Wills and Trusts LawyerGiving money to charity is a great way to leave a legacy and help others in need. Incorporating charitable giving into your Texas estate plan can have several significant benefits, both for you and the organizations that will receive your support. In some cases, thoughtful philanthropic planning can also reduce the amount of tax due on your estate.

When it comes to estate planning in Texas, there are several ways to incorporate charitable giving into your plan. Some of the most common methods include creating a charitable trust, donating through an estate plan beneficiary designation, and making a bequest in your will.

Exploring the Benefits of Charitable Trusts

A charitable trust is a legal document that establishes an account funded by your assets and held for the benefit of one or more charities. Charitable trusts allow you to donate a large sum of money to the organization(s) of your choice and receive significant tax benefits, as well as the satisfaction that comes with supporting the causes you believe in.

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Should I Seek Guardianship of My Aging Parent?

 Posted on January 16,2023 in Elder Law

Denton County adult guardianship lawyerTexas law allows an individual to become another person's guardian under certain circumstances. A guardian is someone who is legally responsible for taking care of another person's physical or financial wellbeing. In the case of an aging parent, a guardian may be needed if they are no longer able to make sound decisions on their own or manage their own property.

If your parent is getting older and struggling with cognitive decline or physical health concerns, you may be interested in exploring your legal options. Guardianship is a serious decision, and it is important to understand exactly what the process involves before making any decisions.

Basics of Adult Guardianship in Texas

There are two main types of guardianship in Texas. "Guardianship of the person" gives an individual authority over another person's healthcare. A guardian of the person is responsible for making decisions about medical care and living arrangements.

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Using a Special Needs Trust to Provide for a Child With Autism

 Posted on January 09,2023 in Estate Planning

Texas estate planning lawyerAs the term "Autism Spectrum Disorder" implies, autism exists on a spectrum. Some individuals with autism may require minimal support, while others require substantial assistance with decision-making and everyday life activities. If you have a child with autism, a special needs trust (SNT) is an important tool that can help ensure their financial security into adulthood.

A special needs trust allows you to set aside funds that are used exclusively for the benefit of your child without impacting his or her eligibility for government benefits. This blog will explain the fundamentals of a special needs trust as well as the unique benefits it may provide to families with autistic children. 

Basics of a Special Needs Trust 

A trust is a legal document that defines how assets are to be managed and distributed. A special needs trust is specifically designed for individuals with disabilities, such as autism, who receive government benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

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Estate Planning for Texas Snowbirds

 Posted on December 16,2022 in Elder Law

Texas estate planning attorneyFor many people, after working all their adult life and saving for retirement, the satisfaction when that last day of work finally arrives can be exhilarating. Once they retire, many people choose to split their time between states, depending on the seasons and weather. For example, some Denton County retirees split their time between North Texas in the warmer months and heading to warmer climates during the winter months. But just how does this splitting of residences impact a “snowbird’s” estate plan and which state laws should be followed? The following is a brief overview. For more detailed information about your particular situation, an estate planning attorney from our firm can help.

Establishing Residency

Each state sets its own estate laws, so where you live will determine which laws will apply to your estate it needs to be determined which state you actually live in. In some cases, this can be fairly easy. If you only own real estate property in one location, do your banking with one financial institution, and register your vehicle in one state, this would likely be your state of residence.

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When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

 Posted on December 01,2022 in Estate Planning

flower mound estate planning lawyerExecuting a will or creating a trust is not the end of estate planning. You may have created these documents years ago, or even decades ago. You may not even know where your original copies are anymore. If it has been a long time since you visited your estate plans, it may be time to dust them off and review them to make sure the plan you have on paper is still the plan you want. Additionally, laws change over time. A higher court ruling could have affected the way your documents will be interpreted since you made them. It is wise to have your estate plans periodically reviewed by a lawyer - and to periodically look over them yourself. 

When to Revisit Your Estate Plans

If you have experienced any of these life changes, you may want to review and possibly edit your estate plans: 

  • Moving - If you changed apartments across town, you probably do not need to worry. However, if you sold your house and bought a new one, or you moved across state lines, then you will definitely want to take a look. Your old plan may specifically reference the address of a house you no longer own. Plus, state laws regarding estate planning can vary wildly. 

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Should I Use a Will or a Trust?

 Posted on November 03,2022 in Estate Planning

flower mound estate planning lawyerIn a previous blog, we discussed incapacity planning. Incapacity planning is an important part of estate planning that involves planning for your own future care. The other part of estate planning - testamentary planning - is exactly what people think of when they hear the term “estate planning.” Testamentary planning is deciding during your lifetime who will receive your property when you pass away. 

The two main ways to accomplish this are through trusts and wills. Some people choose one or the other, and others use both. Which one will work better for you depends on a number of factors, such as the size of your estate and who your beneficiaries are. Our attorneys can work with you and help you determine which documents you need in your testamentary estate plan. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Will or a Trust

Each estate, each family, and each testator are unique. You will need to think about what your personal priorities are in estate planning. A few things to think about include: 

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