Southlake Estate Planning Attorneys
Comprehensive Services Including Wills, Trusts & Probate Administration
No one knows what the future holds. We do not know if we will become incapacitated by illness or injury. We do not know if we’ll face a lawsuit that threatens to take our property. We never have an advance warning that we’ll leave minor children unexpectedly parentless.
While the scenarios are difficult to think about, facing them without being prepared is far more painful for everyone involved.
At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, our Southlake attorneys help clients build an estate plan based on their identified goals.
The Need for Estate Planning in Southlake
Some Texans think an estate plan is only needed by millionaires with multiple homes and tremendous property to pass down to heirs. The wealthy certainly need a strong estate plan, but they are not alone. Most people would benefit from having one or more estate planning documents to protect their interests and those of their loved ones.
Your estate includes everything you own:
- Checking accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Furniture, jewelry, and other personal possessions
We approach each estate plan client with inventorying the estate and analyzing how to best insulate your possessions from possible creditors or lawsuits. In addition, we evaluate how to minimize any taxes or other burdens that would befall your heirs when you pass away. We aim to streamline how quickly your beneficiaries receive what you have designated for them.
Common Estate Planning Tools
Our skilled attorneys can determine which tools will meet your goals. There are many legal documents that can provide peace of mind about the future.
- Wills: If you die without a will, the state’s intestate succession laws determine how your property will be distributed. Have a voice in what happens with your property by creating a will. Having this legal document can also help reduce if not eliminate fights over your things among heirs. If you have minor children, a will enables you can designate a guardian you trust to continue raising your children.
- Trusts: A trust offers more protection than a will alone. Different types of trusts are available, depending on the client’s goals. A living trust allows heirs to receive their inheritance without having to through probate. The assets are also generally protected from many creditors. The trust creator names someone to be the trustee – the person tasked with distributing the estate upon the trust creator’s death. Special trusts can be created to care for disabled children and even pets. Other trusts serve the purpose of keeping the creator eligible for Medicaid long-term care benefits. Revocable trusts can be changed. Irrevocable trusts cannot be altered.
- Powers of Attorney: Like trusts, different powers of attorney serve specific purposes. A medical power of attorney gives the named agent the authority to make decisions about your medical treatment if you become incapacitated. A financial or statutory power of attorney can handle your financial affairs when you cannot do so. This person has the power to pay your bills, make bank deposits, and sell your real estate. You can revoke the power of attorney. If you have no power of attorney and become incapacitated, a guardian (possibly someone you don’t even know) might be assigned by the court.
Probate and Trust Administration
A trustee (named in a trust) or an executor (named in a will) has tremendous responsibilities after the death of their loved one. Trustees and executors have legal obligations that must be fulfilled or face lawsuits and even possible criminal penalties.
Our estate planning attorneys in Southlake will ensure legal requirements are satisfied:
- File the will in probate court
- Identify beneficiaries of a trust/will
- Inventory assets
- Protect trust property
- Transfer property titles
- Pay taxes
- Settle debts
Most trustees and executors have jobs and families that still require their attention. At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, our administration services make it possible for these responsible parties to focus on healing from their loss and managing everyday duties.
Effective Estate Planning for Southlake
It is never too soon to create an estate plan that works for you and your family. As your life changes over the years – the birth of children, divorce, new job – you can adjust your plan for your updated needs. If you have an estate plan but have not reviewed it in several years, it is time to evaluate whether adjustments should be made. We can help.
Schedule a consultation to discuss your estate planning needs. Reach us online or call (817) 497-8148.
My questions were heard and answered without having to ask twice.
“Value a capable team with experienced staff. For the past 9 months, the folks at the Law Offices of Mark Childress handled my case with class and empathy. My questions were heard and answered without having to ask twice. I felt like I was kept in the loop and always briefed properly. As I move forward with other ventures I wouldn't be surprised if we crossed paths again. And hats off to Konner, THANK YOU!”
Mark was there to answer every question, every phone call and did it in a way that I felt as if I were his only client.
“I needed an attorney who would stand up for me and my child during a very hard time. Mark was there to answer every question, every phone call and did it in a way that I felt as if I were his only client. He was very knowledgeable not only about the law but about the opposing attorney and the judge. He prepared me well and we won our case. I would recommend Mark Childress to anyone who is fighting for custody or in need of child support.”
I highly recommend him and his staff. They are courteous, prompt and they care.
“I called in inquiring about a divorce and how it all happens. I had 2 people call me back within an hour and in an hour maybe 2 I was talking with the lawyer. I highly recommend him and his staff. They are courteous, prompt and they care. Divorce is the hardest thing we will go through minus losing a kid and his team will be retained. He even called me back himself the next day to see how I was. Great service.”
This guy is amazing. In a matter of minutes, he accomplished what no other attorney could in 6 years.
“This guy is amazing. In a matter of minutes, he accomplished what no other attorney could in 6 years. He had my case figured out in 1short conversation and had what he called "a convoluted mess" fixed. I'm pretty sure my ex felt like he'd been hit by a bus. My family is finally in tact and everyone is finally happy.”
Direct Access To Your Attorney
Our Attorneys personally handle each case themselves. You will have direct access to your attorney to be able to get the answers that you need.
TransparencyHonesty and transparency are critical in building trust with your attorney. You will always know what is going on with your case every step of the way.
At our firm you're not just a case number, our staff will always know the status of your case and help to make your situation more manageable.
Personalized ApproachOur team understands that no two cases are the same. Your strategy will be tailored specifically to you and your family's goals.