Probate Attorney in Denton| The Peugh Law Firm

Probating Wills & Estates
in Denton and Surrounding Counties

Probate Attorney in Denton | Phone Icon (888) 857-2367
Find Us

Writing a Will and Estate Planning in Denton | The Peugh Law Firm | Legacy, Next Generation


Wills and Estate Planning in Denton

Estate Lawyer specializing in Writing Wills and Estate Planning

DISCLAIMER:  Because of tax consequences, your estate must total less than $5.49 million for an individual or $10.9 million for couples for The Peugh Law Firm to prepare Wills and assist with Estate Planning in Denton for you.  Larger Estates should seek the help of both Estate planning and Tax planning attorneys.

Why You Need a Will

A Will is a legal document that is written to ensure that upon your death, your assets are given to the people that you specify. Without a Will, your estate will be distributed according to state law not according to your wishes or your family’s needs.  Worse yet, it is possible under state law for your estate to end up going to the state. This is why it is important to seek help in writing a Will in Denton.

If you do not write a will, your heirs will still have to go through probate in order to gain title to and control of your property.  This is the process of admitting an intestate estate to probate.  Because there will be no will (probating without a Will in Denton), more legal work and legal expense will be involved.  Without a written expression of your wishes, fighting is more likely to break out.  Recent changes in the law have added requirements to probating an intestate estate.  These new requirements add to the complexity and cost of these actions.

For your will to have effect it must be admitted to Probate. This requires filing with a court of proper jurisdiction.  However, a good probate lawyer in Denton can make the process seem routine.         

Clearly, the primary function of a Will is to leave instructions on how to distribute your property after your death. A lesser known function of a Will is to appoint the executor who will carry out your wishes. It is while appointing this executor that you have an opportunity to save your heirs significant amounts of money in legal fees.

In Texas, the executor can be authorized to conduct either a dependent or an independent administration. In a dependent administration, the Probate Court must supervise the administration of the estate. Under this supervision, each step of the probate process must be presented to the Probate Court for approval. This means that the probate lawyer, your executor hires, may have to prepare several motions and make several trips to the courthouse, all costing the estate time and money.

In contrast, the executor in an independent administration is given wide latitude to administer the estate without obtaining court approval of each step of the process. In fact, in an independent administration, Texas law provides that no action shall be had in the courts in relation to the settlement of the estate other than 1) the probating and recording of the Will, and 2) the filing of an inventory, appraisement, and list of claims of the estate. Think about it: after the offering up of the Will and the filing of an inventory, it is possible that your executor (and his or her probate lawyer) will not have to make any more trips to the courthouse!

Because the powers granted to an independent executor are very broad, it is imperative that you have the highest level of confidence in the diligence and integrity of the executor you appoint. There have been cases where a poor choice for executor has led to disastrous results. Thus, an independent executor should be chosen carefully and should be someone in whom you have complete trust.

A second procedure that can significantly reduce the legal fees incurred by your estate is the use of a “self-proved” Will. In a self-proved Will, the testator and the witnesses sign the Will. The testator and witnesses then sign a separate self-proving affidavit which is attached to the Will. The affidavit is later used when the Will is offered for probate, providing proof of the necessary execution requirements. This eliminates the need to locate the witnesses and will work even if the witnesses are deceased.

Before rushing out to buy a Will kit that features a personal representative and an attached notarized affidavit, please realize that the language in many Will kits does not substantially comply with the Texas requirements for independent administration or for a self-proved Will.  

Also, a Will must also be executed with certain formalities in order to be considered valid under the Texas Probate Code.  The instructions in the kits are not always clear, resulting in the use of the wrong form or incorrect completion of the document.  This could lead to the execution of a defective Will, forcing both your estate and your beneficiaries to pay money to attorneys to litigate the correct meaning and validity of your Will.   This amount will easily surpass any amount you would have paid to have a Will correctly drafted in the first place. 

In conclusion, probate in Texas is not difficult if you have an up-to-date, self-proved Will with an independent executor. By having a skilled probate lawyer in Denton write a Will today, you may save your family great expense and hours of worry at a time when they can least afford it.


One Simple Will.         .         .         .         .         .         $500
A Simple Will leaves all your belongings to your surviving spouse or other beneficiary.  A Simple Will is sufficient to prevent you from dying intestate.  They do not include setting up trusts or guardianships for minor children or drafting language for specific bequests or funeral arrangements.  If you have minor children, a Simple Will prevents you from dying intestate and might due in an emergency situation.  However, subject to the disclaimer above, The Peugh Law Firm recommends wills that provide guardians, trusts, and trustees for the care of minor children.

A Will Providing for Minor Children    .         .         .         $1,000
A Will Providing for Minor Children transfers your estate to your surviving spouse or named beneficiary.  In addition, it allows the testator to name in the Will who cares for minor children in the event of the death of the testator.  These caretakers are known as Guardians and it is typical to name a primary Guardian and two alternates.  A Will Providing for Minor Children also provides for the creation of a Trust as well as naming a Trustee and two alternate Trustees to manage the Trust for the benefit of the minor children.  The assets of the decedent’s estate go into the Trust and are invested and managed for the benefit of the minor children.

 

Additional Items for Wills

Letter to the Executor  .         .         .         .      .            $200
With your help, we can draft a Letter to the Executor of your Estate.  This letter is useful for providing your Executor with helpful information as well as instructions for carrying out your wishes.

Specific Bequests        .         .         .         .         .         .         $200/6 items
We can help you add specific gifts intended for specific people to your will.  These instructions are to be carried out by your executor at the time of your death.  Our charge is $200 to draft up to 6 specific bequests with an additional charge of $200 for every additional group of up to 6 specific bequests.  One revision to Specific Bequests is included.  Additional revisions can be made for $50 per change.

Specific Funeral Arrangements     .         .         .         .         $200/6 notes
We can help you add specific instructions for your funeral arrangements to your will.  These instructions are to be carried out by your executor at the time of your death.  Our charge is $200 to draft up to 6 specific funeral arrangement notes with an additional charge of $200 for every additional group of up to 6 specific funeral arrangement notes.  One revision of Specific Funeral Arrangements is included.  Additional revisions can be made for $50 per change.

 

Estate Planning Documents

A General Power of Attorney        .         .         .         .         $250
A Power of Attorney gives the person named in the document the authority to take charge of your personal business if you become incapacitated.  A Power of Attorney can be drafted to become effective immediately, as when a person goes overseas and cannot tend to his or her own affairs.  Or, a Power of Attorney can be drafted to only have effect when a doctor has found the person incapacitated.  Please note an incapacitated person cannot execute a Power of Attorney or other estate planning documents.  Such a person lacks the legal capacity to make these documents effective.

A Medical Power of Attorney       .         .         .         .         $250
A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an agent to make health care decisions for you in accordance with your wishes if a time comes when you cannot make such decisions for yourself.

A Physician’s Directive (or Living Will).       .         .         $250
A Physician’s Directive, also known as an "Advance Directive" or “Living Will,” is a document that will communicate your wishes about medical treatment or the withholding of medical treatment at some time in the future when you are unable to make your wishes known because of illness or injury.  It is not a “Do Not Resuscitate Order” or “DNR.”

Election of Guardian   .         .         .         .         .         .         $250
An Election of Guardian makes who you want to care for you in the event of your incapacitation known.  It provides additional authority to your chosen guardian to manage your affairs for your your benefit.  And it makes it easier for your guardian to care for you.

 

Single Estate Planning Packages

Single Estate Planning Package One      .         .         .         $1,500
Includes one Simple Will, one General Power of Attorney, one Medical Power of Attorney, one Physician’s Directive, and one Election of Guardian.  (See above for details.)

Single Estate Planning Package Two     .         .         .         $2,000
Includes one Will providing for Minor Children, one General Power of Attorney, one Medical Power of Attorney, one Physician’s Directive, and one Election of Guardian.  (See above for details.)

 

Couples Pricing

Two Simple Wills       .         .         .         .         .         .         $800
A Simple Will leaves all your belongings to your surviving spouse or other beneficiary.  A Simple Will is sufficient to prevent you from dying intestate.  They do not include setting up trusts or guardianships for minor children or drafting language for specific bequests or funeral arrangements.  If you have minor children, a Simple Will prevents you from dying intestate and might due in an emergency situation.  However, subject to the disclaimer above, The Peugh Law Firm recommends wills that provide guardians, trusts, and trustees for the care of minor children.

Two Wills Providing for Minor Children       .         .         $1,600
A Will Providing for Minor Children transfers your estate to your surviving spouse or named beneficiary.  In addition, it allows the testator to name in the Will who cares for minor children in the event of the death of the testator.  These caretakers are known as Guardians and it is typical to name a primary Guardian and two alternates.  A Will Providing for Minor Children also provides for the creation of a Trust as well as naming a Trustee and two alternate Trustees to manage the Trust for the benefit of the minor children.  The assets of the decedent’s estate go into the Trust and are invested and managed for the benefit of the minor children.

Two General Powers of Attorney .         .         .         .         $400
A Power of Attorney gives the person named in the document the authority to take charge of your personal business if you become incapacitated.  A Power of Attorney can be drafted to become effective immediately, as when a person goes overseas and cannot tend to his or her own affairs.  Or, a Power of Attorney can be drafted to only have effect when a doctor has found the person incapacitated.  Please note an incapacitated person cannot execute a Power of Attorney or other estate planning documents.  Such a person lacks the legal capacity to make these documents effective.

Two Medical Powers of Attorney .         .         .         .         $400
A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an agent to make health care decisions for you in accordance with your wishes if a time comes when you cannot make such decisions for yourself.

Two Physician’s Directives (or Living Wills).         .         $400
A Physician’s Directive, also known as an "Advance Directive" or “Living Will,” is a document that will communicate your wishes about medical treatment or the withholding of medical treatment at some time in the future when you are unable to make your wishes known because of illness or injury.  It is not a “Do Not Resuscitate Order” or “DNR.”

Two Elections of Guardian  .         .         .         .         .         .         $400
An Election of Guardian makes who you want to care for you in the event of your incapacitation known.  It provides additional authority to your chosen guardian to manage your affairs for your your benefit.  And it makes it easier for your guardian to care for you.

 

Couples Estate Planning Packages

Couples Estate Planning Package One   .         .         .         $2,400
Includes two Simple Wills, two General Powers of Attorney, two Medical Powers of Attorney, two Physician’s Directives, and two Elections of Guardian.  (See above for details.)

Couples Estate Planning Package Two  .         .         .         $3,200
Includes two Wills providing for Minor Children, two General Powers of Attorney, two Medical Powers of Attorney, two Physician’s Directives, and two Elections of Guardian. (See above for details.)