Estate Planning

Estate Planning

We help you see the big picture of estate planning.

Estate planning with Heights Law Group is about more than just the legal documents contained in your plan. We will talk about what it takes to reduce the administrative burden faced by your loved ones when you’re gone, including: (1) recommendations regarding non-probate assets such as life insurance and retirement savings, (2) advice on funeral instructions and pre-payment, and (3) a plan to transfer password and account information to your family so they know how and where to pick up where you left off.

 

We know you’re busy. That’s why we designed an estate planning process that makes things easy.

Many of us know we need a will, but getting started feels impossible. Between family and work obligations, it’s hard to find the time to meet with an attorney and fill out seemingly endless paperwork. At the Heights Law Group we understand, which is why we have focused our practice on makings easy for you.

Highlights of our streamlined planning process:

  • A simple online form that can be filled out on-the-go and automatically saves where you left off,
  • Calendar links so that you can schedule meetings directly without the phone (and email) tag,
  • Everything except the signing can be handled virtually, so no need to take off work to come to our office for the planning,
  • Simplified summary will accompany your plan and break the major provisions down in non-legal terms,
  • Online payment options, including the ability to play by credit card,
  • Option to request revisions online or through a follow-up virtual meeting,
  • For clients getting trusts, option to hand the funding process over to save you time and give you assurance that your trust was funded correctly,
  • Signing sessions at our centrally located office, where we guarantee to have you on your way in thirty (30) minutes or less.


Let us take the burden off you every step of the way.

Get a Custom Plan Tailored to Your Needs

An estate plan is a whole lot more than who gets what when you’re gone. An estate plan can be structured to provide for loved ones for years into the future, pay for college education, and even determine the guardian of your children. What’s more, a good estate plan will put a plan in place for who will make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you are ever incapacitated.

Whether your estate is complex and large, or modest and straightforward, we can design the right plan for you and your family.  When you work with us, we not only create a plan for your family’s security;  we ensure that your needs are fully met in the event of incapacity. We will evaluate your situation, discuss your needs, evaluate your goals and prepare all of the necessary documents to make sure your plan is implemented correctly.

Estate plans are generally divided into two categories: Will-based plans and Trust-based plans. Both plans can be customized to provide for loved ones long after you're gone.

Our will-based packages are comprehensive and designed to plan for both death and incapacity. The exact documents that will be in your plan will vary based on your needs, but may include:

  • Last Will & Testament
Your will is just one part of your estate plan, and specifies how you would like your assets to be distributed. Wills can include testamentary trusts, which instructs your executor to establish trusts for beneficiaries after you die.

  • Advance Directive
Also known as a Living Will, and Advance Directive is a document that gives instructions regarding end-of-life care should you lose the ability to make and communicate your own decisions.

  • Burial instructions
Burial instructions can be prepared as a stand-alone document or included within your will. It’s important to let your loved ones know your wishes regarding burial and cremation to lift a weight from their shoulders during a time when they are grieving.

  • Declaration of Guardianship for Minor Children
If something were to happen to you, who would take care of your children? The Declaration of Guardianship for Minor Children identifies who would raise your children to adulthood if something were to happen to both parents.

  • Declaration of Guardianship for Adult
With dementia on the rise, it’s all too common for family members to seek court intervention to establish a guardianship for ailing family members so that they can assume all caretaking decisions and responsibilities when a loved one can no longer handle such responsibilities alone. Save the cost of court intervention and guarantee you approve the appointment by selecting future guardians now.

  • Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
Even if you are incapacitated, bills need to be paid. A statutory durable power of attorney appoints a person or persons who can make  financial decisions and transactions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and cannot act on your own.

  • Medical Power of Attorney
If you are incapacitated and decisions regarding your medical care need to be made, the Medical Power of Attorney will give your loved ones the authority to make decisions on your behalf.

  • HIPAA Authorization
A HIPAA release allows designated person(s) access to your medical records. Further, the HIPAA permits your doctors to communicate with authorized individuals regarding your treatment, prognosis and care.

Our trust-based packages include everything contained in the will-based package, but also funnels assets into a revocable living trust that does not go through probate when you pass. While trusts have a greater initial investment, the amount you save by avoiding probate is more than our fee. We also offer trust funding services, where our team handles the transfer of assets into your trust from start to finish. With trust funding you can sit back while your trust is fully and properly funded for you.

For more information on the differences between trusts and wills, click here. If you are ready to start the estate planning process, call us at (832) 810-3373 to discuss your personal estate plan.

 

Who we work with

We are not general lawyers- we are specialists in the estate planning and probate field. We design estate plans for all, including:

Young Families – With small kids at home, we know how scary it is to wonder who would protect them if something were to happen. We help families put a rock-solid plan in place so that parents can sleep at night knowing their children will be financially and emotionally provided for if the unexpected occurs.

Empty Nesters- Your kids may be grown, but they still depend on you for support. We are experienced in purposeful giving to the next generation, along with putting a plan in place for incapacity.

Elderly Clients – Many of our clients are well into their retirement, and know they need an estate plan that stays current with the changing needs of the client and their family. We make estate plan modifications easy, and make recommendations on how to avoid probate and anticipate decisions that accompany end of life care.

Blended Families- It’s extremely common for our clients to come to us with children from prior marriages. Our plans are designed to protect children from prior marriages and recognize provisions required in pre-nuptial agreements, divorce decrees and more.

Charitable Planning- We help charity-oriented clients make provisions for the organizations and causes that matter most to them. Our team will guide you on how to Leave a legacy behind that you can be proud of.

Pet Parents- Your pet is your family. Design an estate plan that recognizes the importance your furry friend has played in your life. All estate planning packages can be modified to make provisions for pets, including funding of their care and appointment of caretakers.

Non-US Citizens- Houston is an international city filled with US residents who hold their citizenship abroad. We will guide you on the most cost-effective estate planning strategy for US assets, and help you understand the impact of losing US residency on your estate.

Special Needs Planning- If your child is special needs and requires supplemental care, you need a plan that is equipped to provide specialized support. Special needs planning includes preparation of special needs trusts that allow access to inheritance while maintaining eligibility for means tested aid, including Medicaid. We will also connect you to our network of providers in the special needs space, including professionals focusing on special needs finance, education and nonprofit support.

Call Us Today!

We can help you provide for yourself and for your loved ones / family through any period of your life.  We can help you leave what you want, to whom you want, in the way you want.  Our customized plans address tax concerns and work to avoid unnecessary court costs and administrative burdens during the probate process.  We can also help you protect your minor children, care for your family members, and support the charitable causes that you value the most.

Call us today at (832) 810-3373 to get started.