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214-691-3411
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Allen Estate Litigation and Planning Attorneys

will legacy estate planning lawyerYour legacy is the most important thing you leave behind. Estate planning lawyers are in the business of protecting and preserving your financial legacy, and the attorneys of Staubus and Randall in Allen, Texas are the best in the business. Our firm handles estate planning, administration, and litigation matters, ranging from will contests and trust disputes to asset protection and estate planning. Our experienced attorneys have gained a reputation for strong courtroom advocacy, but we’re just as strong when we advocate for your interests at the negotiating table and in the planning process.

Legal matters involving estates can be complex, confusing, consequential, and emotionally charged. They require thoughtful consideration, objective analysis, and wisdom that only comes with years of experience. That’s why you need an attorney like those at Staubus and Randall. With over 100 years of combined estate law expertise, our attorneys have helped individuals, families, heirs, executors, trustees, and many others through complicated and sensitive situations involving wills, estates, trusts, and guardianships. Call our office today at 214-691-3411 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Why Choose Staubus and Randall?

With Staubus and Randall, you get the best of both worlds: a boutique law firm that’s small enough to provide attentive and personalized client services but experienced enough to handle the most complex and difficult estate litigation matters. We have received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating given by the law firm rating authority. With more than a century of combined legal experience, you can rest assured that our team has the skills, knowledge, and strategies to pursue and represent your interests.

What to Expect When Working with Staubus and Randall

Our clients in Allen, Texas depend on us to manage and resolve estate litigation or other conflicts with care, creativity, and professionalism. That’s what you can expect when working with Staubus and Randall. From the moment you call our office, our team of experienced attorneys is committed to understanding and protecting your interests.

Typically, in our first confidential consultation, our attorneys will learn about you, your family, your assets and interests, and whatever conflicts or challenges you are facing. We will listen carefully so we can fully understand your situation and the options that may be available to you. We may ask additional questions to further refine our recommendations.

Next, we will present you with a proposal for how best to pursue your legal interests. Whenever possible, if it aligns with your interests, we will attempt to resolve any conflicts through mediation or out-of-court settlement. However, sometimes a lawsuit may be your only option or the one that best protects your interests. If that is the case, our attorneys are prepared to provide vigorous representation at every stage of litigation. In the courtroom, Staubus and Randall has gained a reputation as an aggressive litigation firm, with years of experience in these critical cases.

Types of Legal Services

Staubus and Randall handles a range of estate litigation and planning matters, including will contests, guardianships, trustee disputes, will probates, and estate planning.

  • Estate Litigation. Litigation refers to the process of settling disputes through the court system. Estate litigation occurs when, after a person passes, disagreements arise over how their estate and assets are divided or administered. This can be a highly emotional situation, pitting family members and loved ones against one another. The stakes are even higher if the value of the estate and assets in dispute are substantial. An experienced and objective attorney, like those at Staubus and Randall, can advise you on the law, advocate for your interests, and represent you in negotiations, mediations, and if necessary, at trial.
  • contested willWill Contests. A will is a legal document that states your wishes for the distribution of your estate, including who will manage that distribution (the executor) and the division of your assets. For individuals with young children, a will may also designate legal guardians for their children and detail how the children will be cared for and provided for. According to Texas state law, after an individual’s passing, anyone with a financial interest in their estate can contest the will, but they must do so within two years. A will may be contested for several reasons, such as lack of proper signature or witnesses, evidence of undue influence, revocation of the will in question, or evidence of fraud.
  • Trust Disputes. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement in which you give a third party (a trustee) authority to administer assets on behalf of a beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries. Issues can arise if the trustee does not fulfill their fiduciary responsibility. For example, the trustee may use the assets in the trust for their own benefit, or neglect some of their trustee duties. Disputes can also arise between beneficiaries. Staubus and Randall represents both trustees and beneficiaries to ensure the intentions of the settlor (the individual who established the trust) are fulfilled.
  • Will Probate. Probate is the legal process in which the court determines that a will is valid. It is then administered by the executor. Staubus and Randall represents clients in both contested and uncontested probate proceedings.
  • Guardianship. When a person is incapacitated or under a legal disability, it may be necessary to have a guardian appointed for them. The court may appoint a guardian to manage their assets and finances, medical treatment, living conditions, and other major responsibilities. Staubus and Randall provides empathetic representation for individuals and families facing these difficult situations.
  • Estate and Trust Administration. Administering an estate or trust can be a complicated task, especially for individuals who are unfamiliar with trust and estate law. Staubus and Randall assists executors and trustees with responsibilities, such as managing debts, filing tax returns, maintaining proper records, and distributing assets.
  • Estate Planning. Staubus and Randall complements our strong litigation services with sophisticated estate planning. Creating a good estate plan can prevent years of disagreement or confusion among your heirs. Our estate planning attorneys can help fashion a thorough plan that takes full account of your assets, your family’s needs, and your goals and interests.

Contact Staubus and Randall Today

Your estate is your financial legacy. To ensure it is protected and preserved for your heirs and beneficiaries, you need a professional advisor with the experience necessary to plan, pursue, and defend your interests. Staubus and Randall has been helping clients in Allen, Texas for years with a range of estate matters.

Call Staubus and Randall today at 214-691-3411 for a confidential consultation.

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In the pursuit of our clients' cases, we utilize recognized experts, including forensic psychiatrists, forensic accountants, hand-writings experts, and investigators.

Frequent Asked Questions

Estate planning is the arrangement of transferring a person’s assets and property after their death. The estate plan you create may consist of cars, homes, life insurance, assets, real estate, jewelry, and other types of personal property. When you create an estate plan, you must sign it in front of a notary public.

Even if you don’t have many assets, it’s still a good idea to create an estate plan, so that loved ones won’t argue over who gets what when you pass away. Your estate plan will ensure everything you own goes to specified parties and doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Typically, those with extensive or complex assets will hire an estate planning lawyer to help draft their will. Many use a will to divide personal property, such as a home, among their family members. When you’re preparing your will, you need to make sure you meet specific legal requirements. Having a witness present when you’re signing the documents is crucial.

Of course, it’s possible to draft a will on your own, especially if you don’t have significant assets to leave behind. However, hiring an estate planning lawyer can ensure that your documents comply with current law, and that everything gets divided among your family the way you want, so there’s no confusion.

A power of attorney is a legal document giving power to one person (an agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. When you create a power of attorney, you can designate a specific person and decide how much authority they will have.

An attorney-in-fact would maintain records of all decisions made on your behalf. Some decisions could include recommending a guardian for dependents or minor children and financial decisions. They could also make decisions about healthcare.

If you allow your power of attorney the authority to stop, give, or withhold medical treatment, you can leave instructions on which services you want and don’t want, when to stop life-saving measures, and when to cease specific treatments.

It’s devastating to lose a loved one, and the last thing anyone wants to do is handle their affairs. However, you must ensure property and assets go to the right people, and everyone follows their final wishes.

The first thing you should do when your loved one passes away is to request a copy of a legal pronouncement of death. You should also notify close friends and family of their death. If necessary, arrange for the supervision of dependents or minor children. You’ll also be able to find instructions on how to move forward with their plans from their will or trust.

A trust is a document that places your assets into a trust fund to transfer to a beneficiary upon your death. Most people will create a trust to speed up the process of settling their estate. You can also protect your assets, reduce taxes, and prevent probate.

With a trust, you’re not only able to control who your assets go to but also how the money gets disbursed. This is especially beneficial if the person you’re leaving money to doesn’t know how to save and spend properly. You can create a payment schedule with a specified amount paid to them on a weekly or monthly basis, rather than as a lump sum.

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What Our Clients Say

"I recently had the occasion to hire Mr. Staubus for a hotly contested Guardianship matter. Mr. Staubus brought a rare combination of effectiveness, reasonableness and understanding of the human element involved. Mr. Staubus handled all things in a calm, highly competent, effective and reasonable way. It could not have been as easy as he made it seem. He's a credit to the Bar."

Jody

"Before retaining the guidance of the Staubus & Randall firm, I was at my wit's end trying to close an uncle's estate as a co-executor. In addition to dealing with difficult heirs, I had other pressing business issues coming up immediately on estate land in the middle of the Eagleford Shale including dealings with pipeline, seismic, oil & gas, and construction companies. The local bank also refused to give me access to information relating to the estate. This quickly became the most stressful and desperate time in my life...and then I found Joseph Legere who truly became my guardian angel. He was able to get all issues resolved efficiently and the estate fully closed. His professionalism, immense legal knowledge on a wide variety of topics, and amazing communication skills took the burdens off of me and quickly got closure. I am forever indebted to this firm for giving me my life back."

Martha

"Without exception, the legal service, professional attitude, prompt communication of your firm and your legal knowledge is second to none. I only wish I had an attorney here in Boston that could hold a candle to your experience and expertise. Working with you has been a pleasure, but even more, has made me believe that there are knowledgeable attorneys that do care about doing a good job. Thank you Keith! You may not truly understand how much of an impact you are having on peoples lives, but for me, you have helped change my life. As I begin making my dreams come true I can't help but remember none of this would be possible without you."

Joann

"Keith Staubus and Julie Blankenship and their team represented me in a jury trial in the probate court where the ownership of the business which I had worked hard to build was at stake. They successfully fought to preserve my business and my professional reputation, working masterfully to gain the support of the jury. I would not hesitate to hire them again in any bet-the-company litigation.”

Karen

"I have required legal representation twice in my life in two separate will contests. Both times I sought assistance from Keith Staubus and Staubus/Randall. Their service, approach, and determination to obtain results exceeded the other attorneys in each case. Mr. Staubus has always come across as genuine while being direct. He gets the process done in a timely manner with results. I will certainly use him again when and if any new challenges arise.”

David

"After my husband's death, I was devastated by having to defend against a vicious dispute over my husband's estate. Julie Blankenship and Keith Staubus made me feel very comfortable in this distressing situation. They were very tough and did an excellent job for me in obtaining a summary judgment in my favor without a full jury trial. I was glad to have them and Diane Walker in my corner to help me achieve an excellent result - I won! If I ever had to go back to probate court, I would hire them again.” - (will and trust construction case)

Flo

"If you need intervention for someone you love but don't know where to turn or who to turn to, Julie Blankenship and Keith Staubus helped me through the most difficult and stressful time in my life with a much loved family member. I now believe that good will triumph over evil. They fought for what was right, and good prevailed." (contested guardianship and will contest)

Janet

"As a professional money manager, I have used Ryan Randall's estate planning services both personally and for my clients. Ryan has exhibited three critical attributes in his work with me: (1) high intellectual capacity, (2) exceptional thoroughness, and (3) a total commitment to integrity. In today's litigious world, it can be quite costly not to "get things done right.” An added bonus to us was that we found one of the nicest people we could imagine.”

John

"I was represented by Keith Staubus as an income beneficiary in a lawsuit with the trustee of a family trust. Utilizing the expertise of a forensic accountant and his own trust expertise, Keith was able to negotiate a judicial modification of the trust providing for the buyout of my income interest for a substantial lump sum payment out of the trust, resulting in a win-win situation for all of the parties. I highly recommend Staubus/Randall for any trust disputes and trust modification actions."

Kathy

"I have been a wealth management specialist and retirement plan consultant with the Dallas/Fort Worth financial community for over 20 years. I have engaged Ryan Randall to work with a number of my best clients over the years, including business owners, professionals and families. My clients always appreciate Ryan’s straightforward approach to estate planning, asset protection planning and business succession planning. He makes even the most sophisticated estate planning strategies understandable."

Larry

What planning we can sue for?

When a loved one dies, and the execution of their estate plan begins, many disputes can arise among family members. Despite the decedent's creation of a good estate plan, problems can occur if a power of attorney doesn’t perform their duties or someone’s unhappy with the division and distribution of assets.

The most common disputes estate lawyers see include:

Bad fiduciary selection

A majority of disputes arise when the power of attorney, executor, or trustee doesn’t correctly perform their duties when their loved one dies. That failure is called a breach of fiduciary duty. Common breaches include:

  • Failure to file tax returns
  • Using assets for personal benefit
  • Failure to provide tax and accounting information to beneficiaries
  • Dividing and distributing assets improperly

To avoid these issues, you should ensure your loved one chooses the right fiduciary during the process of planning their estate. Careful selection can ensure there’s no breach of duty, and they act in the deceased’s best interest.

Will or Trust Contest

When someone contests a trust or will, it’s either because they don’t think it’s legally valid or believe someone influenced the creator into making decisions they didn’t want to make.

To be legal, the creator of the will must sign under specific circumstances and in a particular manner. In Texas, the person must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Be of sound mind, meaning they’re able to make decisions and understand the consequences of a will;
  • Sign the will themselves;
  • Signature of at least two witnesses; and
  • List at least one beneficiary.

Improper execution of a will is less common than undue influence. Many will argue that the creator of the trust or will made their decisions because of another party. The person accused of undue influence could be a friend, caregiver, professional advisor, or family member.

Distribution of property

Sometimes conflicts will arise when the creator of a will or trust intends to leave someone their property but dies before they can change their estate plan to reflect that decision. Other instances create conflicts when beneficiaries believe the distribution of property is unfair or inequitable.

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How should I handle estate law disputes?

If you come across the disputes listed above or any other types of disputes, there are options for resolving them. The remedy you choose will depend on the particular conflict and the people involved.

  • Remove the executor: If there’s a problem with the executor of the estate, you might need to replace or remove them. Finding a replacement can be difficult, especially finding one that all parties are happy with. However, it’s the best decision to ensure everyone is satisfied with how the estate gets handled. The best choice would be a neutral third party who doesn’t hold any biases.
  • Litigation: To litigate a dispute, you must be an inheritor and have sufficient grounds for pursuing a lawsuit. Most people will litigate if they believe there was an improper distribution of the property or suffered a financial loss because someone mismanaged the estate.
  • Mediation: This is the best option for individuals who want to settle the issues amicably, timely, and inexpensively. Mediations usually bring about quick results and cost less than litigation. You also have complete control over the outcome because there isn’t a judge or jury involved.

The Firm

The attorneys at Staubus and Randall have over 100 years of combined experience in estate planning, probate, and litigation. We have the knowledge and skills to tackle complex legal issues, such as guardianships, will contests, fiduciary litigation, and trust litigation. We can also handle routine matters, such as estate administration, probating wills, heirship determinations, and other probate court matters.

Staubus and Randall received a preeminent AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating possible from a peer-rated legal service. This rating recognizes our hard work, dedication, and the case results we’re able to achieve.

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