If you were building a house, you would not design it based on what tools you have available. You would not limit yourself to what you could do with a single hammer. Instead, you would come up with a vision and find the tools necessary to bring that vision to life.

The same should be true with planning your estate and protecting your family. When it comes to estate and family protection planning, many people limit themselves to what a Will can do. They believe a Will is the only tool at their disposal. In reality, there is much more to estate and family protection planning.

At Haiman Hogue, PLLC, we create customized estate plans based on your family structure, your life plans, goals, values, principles and vision. There is no such thing as a “one-size fits all” estate plan. We will learn about what you want to accomplish and find the tools necessary to achieve your goals. Decades of experience mean that our toolbox runs deep. Wills are only one of the tools available. We also offer a wide range of trusts and other techniques to protect you, your family, and your assets. Our lawyers will take the time to guide you through all available options, helping you make the right choices based on your situation and goals. We can take care of anyone from the Ramen-Noodle-eating college student to the multi-millionaire. We help you put together the perfect plan that can range anywhere from our “non-estate” estate plan that we call the College Student Protection Plan, all the way to an extremely complex tax planning and asset protection advanced plan.

Haiman Hogue, PLLC is a Christ-based law firm where we believe our integrity is all we have and that none of our clients come to us by coincidence. We share this because we want everyone to know the standard we expect to be held to. Our mission every day is that we “Faithfully Serve God and our Clients,” in everything we do. We are to serve and love our neighbors with selfless patience and kindness. We love what we do and are Blessed to be able to do it. If you are looking for a law firm that truly cares about their clients, please give us a call. We would be honored to assist you in any way we can. Estate Planning, Elder law and Special Needs planning is not an occupation —  it’s a calling and a way of life.

Don’t Be Like Elvis, or Gary Coleman, or James Brown, or …..

Elvis Presley died in August 1977. His estate finally made it through the probate process in December 1989. It took more than 12 years for his affairs to be settled, and it wasn’t even a contested case. Because it required the probate process, the entire fiasco was made a public spectacle. Good planning might have kept matters out of the courts and the public eye.

And it doesn’t take a large estate to spur a battle. As was the case with Gary Coleman. According to an account on Forbes.com, Coleman had left three wills, the last of which was a handwritten codicil bequeathing “everything” to his wife, Shannon Price – which consisted of a home that still carried a mortgage, occasional royalties from his acting career and his ashes. One of the stranger estate battles in Hollywood history ended with Coleman’s former business partner, Gray, taking “everything.”

James Brown died in 2006, with a Will that left his estate to charities that seek to educate disadvantaged youths. The probate fight began, and in 2016 (10-years after death), a judge signed an order upholding a settlement agreement that settled 5 of the 6 lawsuits contesting James Brown’s Will. Tomi Rae Hynie’s (the widow who may or may not have been technically married to Mr. Brown) suit contesting the Will remains.

They say that money is the root of all evil, and nothing pits friends and family against each other more than the fight over money. Make it a dispute over a Will, and the fun really begins. And you know who wins when there is a family fight over money? — the ATTORNEYS!

While these cases may seem like something that only happens to the rich and famous, there are countless similar stories that happen to ordinary people, most of which could have been avoided with careful estate planning. According to a study by Washington University, the average uncontested probate case in Texas takes 16 months. That is 16 months of stress for the family. The time frame only increases if there is an estate dispute or complicated issues. The legal fees keep adding up and there is the possibility of hard-earned assets falling into the wrong hands.

At Haiman Hogue, PLLC, with our office at 2595 N. Dallas Parkway, Frisco, Texas 75034 (just minutes north of Plano, west of McKinney, east of Little Elm, The Colony, and Lewisville and South of Prosper and Celina), we do not want your family to go through unnecessary time, expense, and stress. Most of our clients want to keep their lives private and avoid probate entirely, or at least go through probate smoothly if it is absolutely necessary. We want your family to be well cared for and protected. We want your assets to be protected. Our attorneys have over 80 years combined experience creating carefully customized estate and family protection plans, and our reputation for knowledgeable and effective estate planning is known statewide, and even across the nation.

What Do You Want Your Estate Plan and Family Protection Plan To Accomplish?

On the surface, your goals may seem simple. You want to control your assets while you are alive. Did you know that ownership and control are not the same thing? In certain unexpected circumstances, you can lose control over assets you own if you own them the wrong way. You also want to be taken care of in case of incapacity, and make sure your loved ones are cared for in case of your incapacity. But how do you want to be taken care of? For example, what features do you want in the assisted living or nursing facility you are moved to if that became necessary? How would those features be communicated to your family if you couldn’t do it? You want to make sure everything you have worked hard for is passed on to your loved ones. And how and when do you want your assets to pass on if beneficiaries aren’t yet able to manage those assets? Should your estate plan account for a blended family with children from different marriages? Should special protections be put into place? Are you concerned that your beneficiaries could lose what they inherit, due to a divorce or lawsuit or maybe even bankruptcy? What about protections from lawsuit predators- people who might try to bring some type of claim against you or your estate?

Our lawyers will spend time with you. We will give you a checklist that outlines the protections you may want. Perhaps there are some you had not thought of previously. If you will educate us about you, your family, and your financial situation, we will educate you about the options available to put the necessary protections into place.

Estate and Family Protection planning tools available include:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Powers of attorney
  • Family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
  • Tax Planning
  • Business Planning
  • Asset Protection
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Medicaid and VA Benefits Planning

We are skilled in many advanced planning strategies for unique and challenging situations. For example, when appropriate, we may recommend incorporating tax planning strategies into your estate plan to protect your assets from being eaten up by various taxes. We may also recommend broader asset protection strategies to protect your estate not only at the time of your death, but during your life and for your beneficiaries for many years to come. We also might implement some business planning strategies when appropriate.

When it is time to create an estate and family protection plan, we will guide you through the process with care and hands-on attention. We will answer any questions you might have about estate planning.

Estate Planning Is Not A One-Time Thing

Marriage. Children. Divorce. Remarriage. New job. Incapacity. Being sued. Death in the family. Receive an inheritance. Changes in the law. The one constant in life is change. Life is constantly changing, and your existing estate plan should be updated to reflect those changes. We are happy to update or revise your estate plan. We can change it to realign with your goals and we can evaluate it to make certain no opportunities are missed to protect you, your family and your assets. We stay in constant contact with our current clients so that they know the changes in the law and they meet with us anytime there is a change in their lives. This way they know their estate plans are always exactly what they want. This is the only way to ensure that your assets and family remain properly protected.

Learn More About Estate Planning

We are happy to discuss your estate planning and family protection planning options. For a FREE, initial, no-obligation consultation, call or email us TODAY at (469) 893-5337 or info@HaimanHogue.com.