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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Probate is the court and process that looks after people who cannot make their own personal, health care and financial decisions. These people fall into three general categories: Minor Children (under age 18 in most states); Incapacitated Adults; and People who have died without legal arrangements to avoid probate. Probate proceedings can be expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, the court proceeding and associated documents are all a matter of public record. Many people choose to avoid probate in order to save money, spare their heirs a legal hassle, and keep their personal affairs private.

  • The document a person signs to provide for the orderly disposition of assets after death. Wills do not avoid probate. Wills have no legal authority until the willmaker dies and the original will is delivered to the Probate Court. Still, everyone with minor children needs a will. It is the only way to appoint the new “parent” of an orphaned child. Special testamentary trust provisions in a will can provide for the management and distribution of assets for your heirs. Additionally, assets can be arranged and coordinated with provisions of the testamentary trusts to avoid death taxes.

  • Sometimes called an Advance Medical Directive, a living will allows you to state your wishes in advance regarding what types of medical life support measures you prefer to have, or have withheld/withdrawn if you are in a terminal condition (without reasonable hope of recovery) and cannot express your wishes yourself. Oftentimes a living will is executed along with a Durable Power of Attorney for Health care, which gives someone legal authority to make your health care decisions when you are unable to do so yourself.

  • If you die without even a Will (intestate), the legislature of your state has already determined who will inherit your assets and when they will inherit them. You may not agree with their plan, but roughly 70 percent of Americans currently use it.

  • This is an agreement with three parties: the Trust-makers, the Trustees (or Trust Managers), and the Trust Beneficiaries. For example, a husband and wife may name themselves all three parties to create their trust, manage all the assets transferred to the trust, and have full use and enjoyment of all the trust assets as beneficiaries. Further “back-up” managers can step in under the terms of the trust to manage the assets should the couple become incapacitated or die. Special provisions in the trust also control the management and distribution of assets to heirs in the event of the trustmaker’s death. With proper planning, the couple also can avoid or eliminate death taxes on their estate. The Revocable Living Trust may allow them to accomplish all this outside of any court proceeding.

  • Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, married or single, if you own titled assets such as a house and want your loved ones to avoid court interference at your death or incapacity, consider a revocable living trust. A trust allows you to bring all of your assets together under one plan.

  • You may avoid probate on the transfer of some assets at your death through the use of beneficiary designations. Laws regarding what assets may be transferred without probate (non-probate transfer laws) vary from state to state. Some common examples include life insurance death benefits and bank accounts.

  • These allow you to appoint someone you know and trust to make your personal health care and financial decisions even when you cannot. If you are incapacitated without these legal documents, then you and your family will be involved in a probate proceeding known as a guardianship and conservatorship. This is the court proceeding where a judge determines who should make these decisions for you under the ongoing supervision of the court.

  • This is the most common form of asset ownership between spouses. Joint tenancy (or TBE) has the advantage of avoiding probate at the death of the first spouse. However, the surviving spouse should not add the names of other relatives to their assets. Doing so may subject their assets to loss through the debts, bankruptcies, divorces and/or lawsuits of any additional joint tenants. Joint tenancy planning also may result in unnecessary death taxes on the estate of a married couple.

Katy Plyler
Katy Plyler
Susan Barnett at Haiman & Hogue was extremely helpful, provided excellent insight and information, and gave us a personal experience with our Estate Planning and Will. She worked diligently to ensure that every detail was lined out exactly as we wished, and took the time to meet with us and inform us of every part of our Estate Planning. Everyone in the office is extremely helpful, personable, kind, genuine, and willing to assist in any way necessary. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our experience with Haiman & Hogue and fully trust them with our Estate Planning.
Jack Carpenter
Jack Carpenter
Haiman+Hogue is a Faith-based, Service-based, Client-first Law Firm unlike any law firm that I have worked in and been a client of. If you are seeking Estate Planning with Asset Protection services, you will be Delighted by Haiman+Hogue. They are the "Peace of Mind and Soul" legal experts.
Jean Graham
Jean Graham
Our attorney worked with us so carefully and efficiently that the process of setting up our estate seemed painless. We are confident that our heirs will be able to handle our estate with a minimum of hassle. The whole team at Haiman-Hogue was kind and responsive. I highly recommend using this firm.
Gwen Thomas
Gwen Thomas
Fred Haiman is a font of knowledge on all aspects of estate planning. We really appreciate his insights and help in getting us organized for any future eventuality. We recommend Haiman Hogue, PLLC very highly.
Mark Mimms
Mark Mimms
The team at Haiman Hogue , PLLC were great to work with on my mom’s estate. Susan and her group were very knowledgeable, professional and patient with us as we worked through the process. I would highly recommend them to anyone for their estate planning.
Sharon Kraft
Sharon Kraft
We recently created and updated our trust. Rex Hogue was great. He accommodated our crazy schedule, explained the documents thoroughly and we appreciated his humor. Highly recommend!
McKee Realty Services
McKee Realty Services
Sat in on the estate planning 101 at Sam Johnson recreation center in plano texas. Wow I must say Fred Haimen is truly passionate about helping and is extremely knowledgeable.
Kathryn W. P.
Kathryn W. P.
Excellent presentation on "Does a Trust Make Sense in Texas." Great information given for different types of trusts and their significance. I love that you gave your testimony at the start of the presentation. I was touched that your faith in God and testament to Him is shown in your words and on the business paperwork provided to us. Love the examples provided with different scenarios and the folder with notes had great explanations. Thank you and be blessed. Kathryn

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