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Texas Specific Estate Planning Laws

Texas Specific Estate Planning Laws

Are you planning your estate in the Lone Star State? If so, familiarizing yourself with Texas estate planning laws can help you determine what types of actions you may need to take now to pass down your legacy according to your wishes.

An estate planning attorney familiar with Texas law is a critical guide through this complicated process. They can advise you on the current rules and align your plan to meet any changes to estate tax laws. In the meantime, this overview covers some of the essential elements of Texas estate planning.

Powers of Attorney in Texas

A “power of attorney” (PoA) is a document drafted by one party (the principal) that grants another party (the agent) the right to make certain decisions on the principal’s behalf. These powers vary from document to document but could include:

  • Making business decisions
  • Managing financial affairs
  • Making medical decisions

There are two main types of PoA:

  • General Powers of Attorney, which allow the agent to take any legal action the principal could
  • Limited Powers of Attorney, which allows the agent to make only specific decisions on the principal’s behalf, and often with an expiration date 

Some powers of attorney will sunset if the principal becomes incapacitated. Chapter 752 of the Estates Code allows for the establishment of durable power of attorney. Unlike other powers of attorney, a durable PoA will either go into or remain in effect when the principal suffers the effects of injury, illness, or age. You might establish this type of PoA so that someone can make important decisions on your behalf when you’re no longer able to.

You can pick and choose what types of powers to grant when establishing a PoA. For example, you may want to establish a medical power of attorney so someone can make health care decisions on your behalf, while not granting them the right to make financial decisions.

Intestacy in Texas

If you die without a will in the State of Texas, intestacy law will determine who inherits your estate. Here’s how that works under a variety of scenarios:

  • Your spouse automatically inherits your estate if you’re married.
  • If you don’t have a spouse, your children and their descendants will automatically inherit your estate.
  • Your estate passes to your father and mother if you have no spouse, children, or other such descendants. If you only have one surviving parent, that parent and your siblings (and their descendants) will inherit the estate. Your one surviving parent will receive the entirety of your estate if you have no siblings.
  • If you have no spouse, children, descendants, or surviving parents, your estate would pass to your siblings and their descendants.

The law further defines how assets will be distributed if none of the parties described are living. Creating a will or trust lets you exercise more control instead of letting the state decide what happens to your assets.

Wills and Trusts in Texas

Texas Specific Estate Planning LawsCreating a will allows you to exercise some control over the distribution of assets after your passing. However, with a will, your beneficiaries will have to go through the probate process before collecting what you’ve left to them. A probate court will also have to be involved, meaning information about the distribution of your assets will be public record.

You may help your beneficiaries avoid probate by establishing a trust. Like other states, Texas allows you to set aside assets in a trust that a trustee controls on behalf of the beneficiaries named in the trust. With a revocable living trust, you can still maintain control of the assets in the trust during your lifetime. With an irrevocable living trust, you separate the assets from your estate.

A trust can let beneficiaries receive their inheritances more quickly. Setting aside assets in a trust may also shelter those assets from estate taxes.

In addition, there are many types of specialized trusts you could establish. For example, you may create a spendthrift trust if you want to leave an inheritance to someone who might be irresponsible with money. This type of trust allows another party to control the trust’s assets.

Discuss your options with a professional. Speaking with an estate planning legal pro can give you peace of mind when making future plans.

Contact a Dallas, TX, Estate Planning Lawyer

Working with a Texas estate planning attorney is the first step to developing a rock-solid estate plan. At Staubus and Randall, our knowledge of the relevant laws can help you better understand your options and select the right choices for your goal. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at 214-691-3411 today.

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.

Staubus & Randall Team

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."


"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."


"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."


"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.”


"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.”

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