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Dallas Estate Planning LawyerIn Texas, a Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) is a legal document that allows property owners to transfer their real estate to designated beneficiaries upon their death without the need for probate. This relatively new estate planning tool provides flexibility and control over the distribution of property while avoiding the complexities and costs associated with the probate process. If you are interested in pursuing this estate planning tool, contact a qualified lawyer to make your goal a reality. 

Definition and Purpose of a TODD

A Transfer on Death Deed, also known as a beneficiary deed, is a legal instrument that allows property owners to designate one or more beneficiaries who will automatically inherit the property upon the owner’s death. The primary purpose of a TODD is to facilitate the transfer of real estate outside of the probate process, thereby saving time and money for both the property owner and the beneficiaries. 

Requirements and Execution

Specific requirements must be met to create a valid Transfer on Death Deed in Texas. The deed must be in writing, signed by the property owner, and properly recorded in the county where the property is located. Additionally, the deed must contain specific language stating that the transfer of the property will occur upon the owner’s death. It is essential to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer to be certain that all legal requirements are met during the execution of a TODD. 


Texas Estate Planning LawyerDo-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders and advanced medical directives (AMDs) are legal documents in Texas that allow individuals to make decisions regarding their medical care in advance. If you want to sign an advanced medical directive such as a do-not-resuscitate order, contact an experienced estate planning lawyer to start the process today. Your lawyer will be able to explain their purpose, legal implications, and how they help ensure a person’s medical wishes are respected, even if they are unable to communicate them during a medical emergency. 

Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders (DNR)

A DNR is a medical directive that instructs healthcare professionals not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or other life-saving measures in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. A physician typically writes DNR orders based on a patient’s informed consent. These orders are especially relevant for people with terminal illnesses or those who have made a conscious decision to avoid aggressive medical interventions. DNR orders must comply with state laws and are typically recorded in a patient’s medical records to ensure they are honored during emergencies. 

Advanced Medical Directives (AMDs)

AMDs go beyond DNR orders and allow individuals to express their medical preferences and decisions in various situations. An AMD typically includes a living will, healthcare power of attorney, and sometimes additional instructions regarding specific medical treatments and end-of-life care. A living will outlines a person’s preferences for medical treatments, such as using life support or administering pain medication. A healthcare power of attorney designates a trusted person to make medical decisions on behalf of the individual if they become incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes themselves. 


Facing a probate court appearance can be a daunting experience for anyone. Before going to probate court, it is essential that you prepare for your appearance. The first step anyone should take before going to probate court is to hire a qualified and experienced estate planning lawyer. Before going to court, you and your Texas attorney will prepare thoroughly for your appearance. Once your court date arrives, your lawyer will join you in the courtroom as you work through whatever legal matters you need to. Appearing in probate court without a lawyer increases your chances of an unfavorable case outcome.

Important Considerations as You Prep for Dallas County Probate Court 

Make no mistake, probate court can be extremely complex. This is one of the reasons why arriving at court with a lawyer is so important. However, it is also essential to do some prep of your own before heading to court. Try to familiarize yourself with the legal process before your court appearance. While this certainly will not make you an expert overnight, you will at least be familiarizing yourself with the specific procedures, rules, and requirements that apply to your probate case. This may include understanding the role of the different parties involved and more.

Gather and Organize Evidence Before Your Probate Court Appearance 

For your case to be presented effectively, you will need to gather and organize all relevant evidence before you head to probate court. Before arriving at court, ensure that all copies of necessary documents and any other relevant materials are readily accessible and well-organized. This will help you and your attorney present a clear and persuasive argument during the probate court proceedings. 


TX trust lawyerA special needs trust (SNT) is a crucial legal tool designed to provide for individuals with disabilities while preserving their eligibility for government benefits. It ensures that individuals with special needs receive the financial support they may require in a thoughtful and structured manner. Today, we will explore the fundamentals of a special needs trust, its importance, and some key considerations when establishing one. To see if a special needs trust may be suitable for a loved one, contact an estate planning attorney to learn more about what such trusts entail.

Defining a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is a legal arrangement where a trusted individual or entity, known as a trustee, is designated to hold and manage assets on behalf of a person with special needs, known as a beneficiary. The primary objective of an SNT is to supplement the government benefits the individual may receive without jeopardizing their eligibility for programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Preserving Government Benefits

Government benefits for individuals with special needs are often means-tested, meaning eligibility is based on financial need. If an individual receives a direct inheritance or gift, their eligibility for these programs could be seriously compromised. However, placing assets into a special needs trust ensures that the funds are not considered assets owned by the beneficiary, thus maintaining their eligibility for essential government benefits.


TX wills lawyerCreating a will is a common consideration for individuals with assets, but what about those with few assets? You may wonder if there is still a need for a will. The answer is yes, especially if you have children. Today, we will explore the many reasons why having a will is essential, regardless of your asset status. If you are interested in taking this important estate planning step, contact an experienced estate planning lawyer to guide you through the process.

Here is Why Creating a Will, Regardless of Your Wealth, is So Important

The following are reasons why you should still create a will even if you have limited resources:

  • Naming a guardian for your children – One of the most critical reasons to create a will is to appoint a guardian for your children if you pass away. Without a will, such considerations may be left to the courts. By creating a will, you can retain control over this critical decision and ensure your children will be cared for by someone you trust.
  • Protecting your children’s inheritance – Although you have few assets now, it does not mean that your situation will not change in the future. Life is unpredictable, and unexpected circumstances or events can lead to an increase in your assets. By creating a will, you can outline how your assets should be distributed among your children, providing financial stability and ensuring their future well-being can be maintained.
  • Avoiding conflict or complexity – Creating a will helps prevent potential issues and conflicts among family members in the event of your passing. Without clear instructions in a legally binding document, disagreements can arise, causing intense familial strife and prolonged legal battles. Having a will can make your wishes known and minimize complications during an already challenging time.
  • Outlining specific funeral and burial arrangements – In addition to appointing a guardian and specifying asset distribution, your will can also address your desired funeral and burial arrangements. These decisions can be emotionally charged for your loved ones. By expressing your preferences in a will, you can alleviate any uncertainty and provide guidance, ensuring your wishes are respected.
  • Updating your will as your situation changes – Remember, creating a will is not a one-time event. Reviewing and updating your will as your circumstances change regularly is essential. Whether you acquire new assets or your family situation evolves, your will should reflect these changes. By keeping your will current, you can ensure it accurately reflects your wishes at any given time.

Contact a Dallas Estate Planning Attorney

For well-respected legal representation, contact the knowledgeable Dallas, TX estate planning lawyer with Andrew Dunlap Attorneys, PLLC. Call 972-807-6357 for a private consultation.


Irving Estate Planning LawyerWhen we discuss trusts in the context of estate planning, we often focus on revocable trusts. While revocable trusts have many uses and benefits, including the fact that they can be dissolved and modified, there are certain situations in which an irrevocable trust may be more beneficial. In this blog, we will discuss the unique benefits of an irrevocable trust and explain situations in which an irrevocable trust may be the best option for meeting your needs.

Irrevocable Trust Advantages and Disadvantages

An irrevocable trust is a powerful estate planning tool that offers numerous benefits. Many people use an irrevocable trust to protect assets from creditors or lawsuits. With an irrevocable trust, the assets placed into it are no longer owned by the grantor, so they cannot be seized under most circumstances. For example, a doctor or surgeon may use an irrevocable trust to protect their assets from future malpractice claims.

A special needs trust is a special type of irrevocable trust that is often used in estate planning for people with disabilities. A special needs trust can provide financial support to a disabled person without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. The trust is designed to supplement government assistance programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


Irving Living Trust LawyerEstate planning is crucial for everyone, regardless of their economic circumstances or family relationships. With an estate plan in place, you can make sure your assets will be handled correctly both before and after your death, and you can make provisions to ensure that your loved ones will be cared for properly while also addressing your own needs. While a will is an essential part of any estate plan, it may not be sufficient to protect your assets and ensure that your family's needs will be met. A living trust can be an important addition to your estate plan, and it can offer numerous benefits that other estate planning tools cannot.

Benefits of Living Trusts

A living trust is a legal entity that you can use to hold and manage your assets during your lifetime while providing instructions for how assets will be distributed to different beneficiaries. Assets in a trust are managed by a trustee, and they may be distributed to multiple different beneficiaries. With a living trust, you can name yourself as a beneficiary, ensuring that you can use your assets during your lifetime, and you can change the terms of the trust at any time to distribute assets to beneficiaries either before or after your death.

There are numerous benefits that living trusts provide, including:


Dallas Medical Power of Attorney LawyerAs people age, their medical needs become more complex. It is important for a person and their loved ones to plan for the future in case they become unable to make decisions for themselves. In such situations, a Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) can be a crucial tool that provides a trusted family member or friend with the legal authority to make medical decisions on a person's behalf. Elderly people and their loved ones will want to understand the situations where having an MPOA may be necessary, and they will also want to be aware of what specific issues a Medical Power of Attorney may address.

Understanding the Benefits of an MPOA

A Medical Power of Attorney will allow a person to designate someone they trust to make decisions about their medical care in the event of an emergency or if they are no longer able to do so. If a senior citizen has dementia, is in a coma, or is incapacitated in any other way, a medical power of attorney will go into effect, and their health care agent (the person named in the MPOA) will be able to make decisions on their behalf.

The MPOA will help ensure that the elderly person's wishes will be followed when it comes to the treatments they receive, including end-of-life care. For example, in a Medical Power of Attorney agreement, a person may state that they want surgery to be performed if they encounter certain health issues, or they may decide that they do or do not want to use specific medications. They may also specify that if their condition becomes terminal, they do not wish to be put on life support or that certain other treatments should or should not be used. The MPOA will also generally cover decisions about the senior citizen's living arrangements and care plan.


Irving Estate Planning Attorney

When it comes to estate planning, there are a variety of issues to consider. A person or family that creates an estate plan will need to make decisions about what will happen after someone's death, although issues related to medical care, personal care, and financial concerns while they are still alive may also be an important consideration. When determining how to distribute different assets to a person's heirs after their death, it is important to understand the difference between probate and non-probate assets. In a nutshell, probate assets are those that must be considered during the probate process, which must take place before title transfers can be performed. Non-probate assets, on the other hand, will not be considered during the probate process. By understanding how different types of assets will be transferred to beneficiaries, a person can rest assured that their affairs will be handled correctly after they are gone.

Understanding Probate Assets

Probate assets are any assets that are held in the deceased person’s name alone or jointly with another person who also dies. These types of assets pass through a court-supervised process known as probate. During this process, the court will determine who is entitled to receive a portion of these assets based on state law or instructions provided in the person's will. Typically, the deceased person’s debts must be paid off first before any remaining assets can be distributed to his or her heirs. This process usually takes months and can require expensive legal fees, and the person's survivors may not be able to access their inheritance right away.


Dallas Special Needs Trusts Attorney

When you are creating an estate plan, it is important to understand all the options available. Some of the most important considerations you may face may be related to how you can provide for a person with special needs. However, different issues may need to be addressed depending on whether a person has resources available to them or whether you are putting solutions in place to provide assistance to a loved one with a disability. While special needs trusts can be beneficial in these situations, it is important to understand the differences between first-party and third-party special needs trusts.

The primary benefit of a special needs trust (SNT) is that it provides assistance for a beneficiary who has a disability or other special needs without impacting their eligibility for government benefits. Since assets placed into a trust are not owned by the beneficiary and are not considered to be among their available resources, these assets will not affect their ability to apply for or receive benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. A third party known as a trustee will manage the assets in the trust and ensure that they are used for approved purposes. This can help the person meet their ongoing needs and provide them with resources they can use in their daily lives.


Dallas Estate Planning AttorneyCreating an estate plan is an important step in ensuring that your wishes are known and respected, no matter what may happen in the future. An estate plan may contain multiple different types of documents, including a will and a living will. Both documents play an important role in making sure that your wishes are carried out correctly. However, there are key differences between them that must be taken into account when planning for the future.

What Is a Will?

A last will and testament is a legally binding document that states who will inherit your assets after you pass away. It will also name an executor who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes, and if necessary, you may appoint a guardian for your minor children. Your executor will also be responsible for settling your debts and any other monetary obligations. While your will can be amended at any time while you are alive, it will only take effect upon your death.

A will is one of the most basic elements of any estate plan. Without a valid will in place, state laws will dictate how your property and possessions should be distributed after your death—which may not match up with what you would have wanted. For this reason, having an up-to-date will is critical to ensure that your wishes are followed after you pass away.


dallas guardianship lawyerThere are many situations where elderly or disabled people may need help during their daily lives, and a family may believe that guardianship is appropriate. However, a person may be concerned about giving up control over their life, and they may want to be able to continue to make certain decisions for themselves. In these situations, a family may want to consider whether a limited guardianship will be appropriate or whether other options will be available. By working with an elder law attorney, a family can determine their best options and put solutions in place to ensure that an elderly or disabled family member's needs will be met.

What Is Limited Guardianship?

In a limited guardianship, the court will appoint someone to make decisions about specific aspects of the ward's life, such as their finances or healthcare. Notably, Texas law states that when a guardian will have limited authority over a ward, the guardianship should be designed in a way that will encourage the ward to develop or maintain self-reliance as much as possible so that they can independently meet their own needs. Unless there is reason to believe otherwise, it is presumed that a person will retain the capacity to make decisions about where they will live.

How Is Limited Guardianship Different From Full Guardianship?

In a full guardianship, the court gives the guardian complete control over the aspects of the ward's life covered by the type of guardianship. A guardian of the person will have the authority to make all decisions about where the ward will live and what types of medical treatment they will receive. The guardian of the person will also have the duty to provide the ward with the necessary food, shelter, and medical care while attending to their personal needs and providing supervision to ensure that they are protected from harm. A guardian of the estate may manage the ward's property and finances, including taking possession of their property, collecting debts or payments, pursuing or defending against lawsuits, and accessing digital assets such as electronic accounts.

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