The Simple Truth Is:
Many people never get around to planning for the future.  But proper advance estate planning is the only way to ensure that your personal wishes for your welfare and the settlement of your estate are honored.  Failure to engage in estate planning will result in your estate be settled in accordance with the rules of the Texas Probate Code, instead of your personal wishes.  Who do you want to be in charge of your personal welfare and estate: a representative of your own choice or the State of Texas?

Our Advance Estate Planning Philosphy:
The fundamental goals of this office for our clients are:
 
1.  Reduced Cost: To control the total overall cost of the settlement of the estate.
 
2.  Maximum Control: To maximize the control of the representative of the estate and minimize the intrusion of the probate court, both before your death as well as after you die. 
 
3.  Simplicity: To apply the law to your maximum benefit, using the least complicated methods. 
 
4.  Respect to the Client’s Wishes: It is the duty of this office to listen carefully to the desires of the client and prepare documents accordingly.  We never attempt to tell clients who should receive their assets.


Law Office of
Stephen C. Howard

General Trial Practice

903 Green Ave. Orange, TX 77630  |  Phone 1.409.883.0202  |  Direct Confidential Email to Attorney Steve Howard: steve@stevehowardlaw.com


A Standard Estate Planning "Package"
          There is more to estate planning than just the drafting of a Will.  The best practice includes the drafting of additional documents to address your needs and wishes during your lifetime, not just after your death.  The following ‚“package‚” of documents will take advantage of Texas law to ensure that you are in control of your affairs, both now and after death:
 
1.  Will: Probated after your death, allows you exclusive control to direct the distribution of your estate to the parties of your own choice.  Allows you to control who will be your legal representative to be in charge of your affairs.  Allows you to set up testamentary trusts for beneficiaries who are young or infirm.
 
2.  Statutory Durable Power of Attorney: Allows you to delegate authority to a responsible party of your own choice to represent you in a wide variety of business, financial, governmental and benefits decisions.  Can be drafted to be effective when you are too ill to make these choices for yourself.
 
3.  Medical Power of Attorney, with HIPPA Release: Allows you to delegate authority to a responsible party of your own choice to speak in your behalf regarding health care choices when you are too ill to give instructions to your health care providers.  The HIPPA release permits your representative to have access to your medical records. 
 
4.  Advance Directive to Physician (the “Living Will"): When you are too ill to give oral instructions, this document allows you to give written instructions to your health care providers regarding the type and duration of treatment, in the event of severe or terminal illnesses.  Can be drafted to direct that certain treatments not to be administered or withheld under certain circumstances.
 
5.  Designation of Guardian in the Event of Later Incapacity: Allows you to direct who can, and cannot, serve as guardian of your person and estate, should an unforseen circumstance require the creation of a guardianship for your safety and care.
 
For the large majority of estates, the above ‚“package,” of documents will successfully protect your personal welfare and estate.