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 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:


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.

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