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Best Estate Planning Attorneys
2022

The Best Estate Planning Attorneys
Here Are The Top Estate Planning Attorneys
Law Office of Keith D. Peterson CPA, J.D.

Law Office of Keith D. Peterson CPA, J.D.

Founded in 1998, the Law Office of Keith D. Peterson CPA, J.D. serves individuals and businesses in the Houston and surrounding areas. They focus on providing quality representation for small to medium-sized businesses. The company offers legal services for matters that include estate planning, taxation, construction and collection, business formations and contract law, and more. They are rated by AVVO as a Featured Attorney in Construction.

Houston, TX 77065

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Hegwood Law Group

Hegwood Law Group

Owned by Kimberly Hegwood, Hegwood Law Group focuses on bringing each client skilled and professional services to meet all their needs. The firm was founded after Kimberly witnessed her grandparents struggle with the aging legal processes in their lives and focuses on helping ease those processes for each family and client. The company provides legal services for matters that include estate planning, special needs planning, Medicaid, elder law, asset protection, family law, and more. Kimberly is a member of the College State Bar, the State Bar of Texas, the Harris County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys in the Texas and National Chapters.

Houston, TX 77058

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The Dean Law Firm, PLLC

The Dean Law Firm, PLLC

Founded in 2007 and located in the heart of Sugar Land, The Dean Law Firm, PLLC is a boutique firm originally founded by Julia Dean who holds over 29 years of experience working with highly respected law firms and for her own firm. They focus on serving each client with a high standard of integrity and ethics. The company provides legal services for matters that include estate planning, civil appeals, probate and estate administration, elder law, and more. The firm abides by the Texas Lawyer’s Creed.

Sugar Land, TX 77479

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Romano & Sumner, PLLC

Romano & Sumner, PLLC

Located in Sugar Land since 2012, Romano & Sumner, PLLC focuses on offering effective and efficient legal solutions for each client with high-quality service and attention. The firm promises each client individual consideration and attention to detail, prompt responses to emails and calls, clear answers to questions rather than “legal speak,” completing each case promptly, and urgent legal services. The company provides legal services for matters that include estate planning, asset protection, estate taxes, gift taxes, probate, guardianships and contested guardianships, business law, will contests, estate litigation, trust litigation, and more. They are rated by AVVO, are rated by SuperLawyers, and are members of the Texas Bar College.

Sugar Land, TX 77479

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Orlando & Orlando, LLP

Orlando & Orlando, LLP

Serving Houston and the state of Texas with over 50 years of experience, Orlando & Orlando, LLP focuses on serving clients and protecting their interests in even complex cases. The company offers legal services for matters that include real estate law, consumer litigation, taxation law, family law, probate and estate planning, and more. They are AV® Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell® Lawyer Rated and are a member of the American Bar Association.

Houston, TX 77002

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The Mendel Law Firm, L.P.

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P.

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a Medicaid and estate planning firm serving the Houston and surrounding areas. They focus on making each client feel comfortable discussing important issues and offering enough information in each case to make informed decisions in regards to the family’s future. The company provides legal services for matters that include estate planning, financial planning, trust administration and probate, special needs planning, asset protection, business planning, legacy planning, and more.

Houston, TX 77079

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W. Timothy Weaver

W. Timothy Weaver

W. Timothy Weaver takes a hands-on approach to working directly with clients in the Houston and surrounding areas. The firm focuses on taking the mystery out of legal matters with clear and understandable terms, advising clients of the most cost-effective and least intrusive route, listening carefully to each client’s needs and wants, a personalized approach, and attention to detail. The company provides legal services for matters that include estate administration, elder law issues, will contests, trust issues, estate planning, wills, guardianship litigation, and more. The firm is Lead Counsel Rated, and W. Timothy Weaver is a member of the Houston Bar Association, State Bar of Texas, and the Houston Bar Association.

Houston, TX 77056

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The Stone Law Firm

The Stone Law Firm

Specializing in elder law, estate planning, and Medicaid planning, The Stone Law Firm serves the state of Texas. They focus on helping clients navigate the confusing eligibility and legal issues to receive access to long-term and medical care for services they can’t afford on their own without assistance. The company also provides legal services for matters that include health insurance, social security, disability and special needs planning, veteran’s benefits, and more. They are accredited by the Better Business Bureau, are a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, and are a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.

Sugar Land, TX 77479

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Stephenson Fournier

Stephenson Fournier

Based in Houston, Stephenson Fournier serves individuals, business owners, and corporate clients throughout the state of Texas. They focus on working collaboratively and individually to achieve timely results that value each client’s case. The company provides legal services for matters that include estate planning, probate, business law, commercial real estate, business transactions, trusts and wills, and more.

Houston, TX 77098

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The Law Office of Kristin Kline

The Law Office of Kristin Kline

Since 2005, The Law Office of Kristin Kline focuses on giving each client personalized attention for each case with highly-skilled representation. The firm holds convenient evening and weekend hours to accommodate clients throughout the Houston and surrounding communities. The company provides legal services for matters that include estate planning, probate, family law, prenuptial agreements, wills, child custody and visitation, and more. They are a member of the American Bar Association, Katy Bar Association, Fort Bend County Bar Association, Houston Bar Association, Texas State Bar, U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Texas.

Houston, TX 77079

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Expert Answers To Common Questions:

  1. What does an estate planning attorney do?
  2. What are valuable estate planning services an attorney can provide?
  3. Can estate planning attorneys help create trusts/wills?
  4. Is estate planning the same as drafting a will?
  5. What are the steps involved in estate planning?
  6. How long does the estate planning process last?
  7. What is a trust?
  8. How does a trust fund work?
  9. How does a living trust work?
  10. Do I need a lawyer for a will?
  11. Can you have both a will and a living trust?
  12. How much does it cost to set up a trust?
Q: What does an estate planning attorney do?
A:
An estate consists of the total assets that form an individual’s net worth, no matter how large or small. Estate planning attorneys use their in-depth knowledge of state and federal laws to help people best manage what will happen with their estates after they die or become incapacitated. Estate planning attorneys can prepare wills, form trusts, reduce estate tax burdens, and decrease or eliminate the need for probate court.
Q: What are valuable estate planning services an attorney can provide?
A:

With the many intricacies of assets, taxes, and state and federal laws that can affect a person’s estate, an estate planning lawyer can be a valuable professional asset, no matter how large or small a person’s estate may be. An estate planning attorney can:

  • Create a comprehensive plan to protect a client's legacy, that includes a will, power of attorney, trusts, life insurance, and advanced medical directives
  • Optimize an estate plan as tax laws, life events, assets, and goals change over time
  • Protect a client’s loved ones by preventing assets from entering probate
  • Help clients designate a person to make important health decisions for them if they become incapacitated

Q: Can estate planning attorneys help create trusts/wills?
A:
Estate planning attorneys can create trusts and wills. Through a will, an attorney can help a client designate their estate’s beneficiaries and assign an executor to represent the will in probate court. These attorneys can also create trusts, allowing a client to assign a trustee to oversee the estate, potentially avoiding probate court and holding assets to be distributed over time.
Q: Is estate planning the same as drafting a will?
A:
While both estate plans and wills officially document how their owners wish to allocate certain assets after their death, there are key differences. In estate planning, a will is often just one of several documents that form a comprehensive plan. In a will, people must designate a person responsible for executing their will after their death. The will can include guardians for their children when they die and beneficiaries to receive an inheritance of money, property, and other assets.
Q: What are the steps involved in estate planning?
A:

To create a thorough and effective estate plan, individuals should follow these steps:

  • Prepare a will that designates an estate executor; indicate who will receive what assets, and assign a trust and guardians for any children. Consider using an attorney if the will is in any way complex.
  • To avoid probate, have an attorney create a revocable living trust.
  • Assign beneficiaries to other assets, such as life insurance policies, retirement plans, and securities.
  • Use an attorney to prepare a living will, name a health care proxy, and create a HIPAA release form.
  • Update the plan every five years.

Q: How long does the estate planning process last?
A:
The length of the process can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the estate, the specific law office, and whether there’s an emergency or urgent need. If you’re using an attorney, you can generally expect it to take one to five weeks. You may be able to speed up the process by immediately providing your attorney with any bank statements or other documents they need.
Q: What is a trust?
A:
A trust is an agreement between a grantor, a trustee, and a beneficiary. In this agreement, the grantor allocates funds or real property assets to the trustee to be held either until the grantor passes away or until a specific, agreed-upon date. At that point, it's the responsibility of the trustee to distribute funds or property to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. While there are similarities between a will and a trust, a will is a more comprehensive document that typically requires probate court, while a trust allows assets to pass to the beneficiary without probate.
Q: How does a trust fund work?
A:
When opening a trust fund, a grantor allocates a trustee to oversee and manage assets in the account. This trustee can sometimes be a relative, an estate lawyer, or a bank that acts as the legal owner of the trust. While holding assets, the trustee is required to file taxes on trust assets.
Q: How does a living trust work?
A:
A living trust enables a grantor to manage their assets through a trustee while still alive. They can continually add funds and/or property to their trust fund by transferring them to the trustee, who accepts ownership of everything held in the fund. The grantor can name a beneficiary for their trust, and their assets will be automatically transferred to that person or establishment upon their death.
Q: Do I need a lawyer for a will?
A:
No, a lawyer is not required to draft or complete a will. However, there are some scenarios in which hiring an estate lawyer to assist with a will is a good idea, including when children or high-value assets are involved. Additionally, an estate lawyer can help to reduce probate fees and taxes paid by loved ones after a person dies. It's also best to work with a professional to ensure that the will addresses everything necessary, such as funeral plans, guardianship, and asset distribution.
Q: Can you have both a will and a living trust?
A:
Yes, and individuals who have a living trust should also have a will. While a living trust enables a person to leave funds and assets to a loved one when they're gone, a will is required to cover any assets that aren't included in the trust, such as guardianship of dependents, funeral plans, and forgiveness of outstanding debts, if applicable.
Q: How much does it cost to set up a trust?
A:

The cost of setting up a trust varies quite a bit depending on a variety of factors, including terms that are in place, special provisions for minor beneficiaries, and trustees' basic fees. In most cases, the minimum cost of setting up a trust is about $1,500, but depending on the factors mentioned above, this cost can increase by thousands of dollars.