Estate Planning.

What is a Will?  Why have one?  Anyone who owns "titled property" should have a Will.  Titled property is property that has a sheet of paper associated with it that says who owns it (such as a home, bank account, or vehicle).  A Will is a legal document, which must be executed following certain legal formalities, that disposes of a deceased person's property while appointing someone to manage his estate.  Why hire a lawyer to draft a Will?  James Law Firm has seen self-prepared Wills from the internet create $20,000 court cases.   Do you get legal advice from an estate planning attorney with over 10 years of experience while using some form off the internet?

What are some of the surprises Texas law can provide your family beneficiaries when dying without a Will (called intestate)?

(1) For spouses without a Will who have children from a prior marriage, Texas law provides an interesting property disposition  upon death.  For these spouses, the deceased spouse's community property would be divided equally among all the deceased spouse's children--those of the prior spouse (or relationship) and those of the current marriage.  This result is true, even if the spouses were married 50 years!  For those who have stepchildren, can you imagine owning half of your house with a mortgage with your stepchildren owning the other half?

(2) For intestate estates, any beneficiary who is a minor will have his or her share of the estate held by the court in the court registry.  Plan your estate so that trusts can be setup for minors!

James Law Firm drafts Wills and other estate planning documents, such as gift trusts, powers of attorney, and revocable living trusts, for individuals, families, and same sex couples who have net worth from a little to the tens of millions.  No estate is too big or small.

Probate and Trust Administration

James Law Firm explores all options to avoid probate, if possible.  Often, real estate can be transferred by using affidavits of heirship  or by transfer on death deeds followed by the deed transfer by heirs of the property to a new owner (if selling the inherited property) or by using small estate affidavits.  We look for the most efficient, effective, and least costly manner to transfer assets of the deceased, without producing title problems later.  

When James Law Firm does probate estates, we advise clients in both testate and intestate estates.

We also appreciate the opportunity to serve families who have lost a loved one, and we like to say before going to a probate court hearing, that, "The hardest part will be the fact that you're there.  You do not have anything to worry about."

Often clients come to us with trusts setup during lifetime by their parents or other relatives, such as revocable living trusts, and they need help in administering and setting up beneficiary trusts.  We have extensive experience in creating and administering trusts in both Florida and Texas.

Business Organizations

We form all types of entities in Texas, Florida, and Delaware.  Why hire an attorney to create an entity when you can just "go online and form one with the Texas Secretary of State" or "use a self-help program"?   Do you get answers and advice regarding the startup and operation of a business via a DITY service, such as the following?

(1) What type of company do I form--LLC, series LLC, corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership?

(2) How is the entity to be taxed?  I often get the question, "Do I setup an LLC or S-corp?"  You will not get the answer by creating the entity yourself.  By seeking help from James Law Firm, you will learn that this question is the wrong question to ask.  You should ask, "Should the LLC make an S-corporation election?"

(3) When forming an LLC, should I have a manager-managed or member-managed LLC?

(4) What should I do with my existing leases, contracts, and insurance?

(5) Should I be an employee of my own company?

(6) What are the state Franchise tax implications of forming the entity?

(7) Do I get a partnership or operating agreement?  You do at James Law Firm.

(8) Can I setup voting and non-voting shares?  What about preferred profits?

(9) How do I transfer money from my new company to me?

(10) What happens to the company when someone dies, divorces, or wants to quit?

Estate Planning, Probate, and Business Attorney

Law Firm