The Dean Law Firm, PLLC is an Estate Planning, Elder Law and Appellate boutique located in the heart of Sugar Land, Texas.
The firm was founded in July 2007 and is led by Julia Dean, an attorney with over 20 years of experience, previously with the highly respected law firms of Andrew & Kurth and Wright Brown Close LLP.
While nobody wants to think about death or disability, establishing an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Proper estate planning not only puts you in charge of your finances, it can also spare your loved ones of the expense, delay and frustration associated with managing your affairs when you pass away or become disabled.
When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through a court-managed process called probate or estate administration where the assets of the deceased are managed and distributed.
Through our expertise in the appellate process, we allow trial counsel to focus on what they need to be doing--trying their case to the jury--while we handle all legal motions, including motions for summary judgment, judgments notwithstanding the verdict, and preparing and arguing the jury charge. Let us free you to excel in trial while we are helping you preserve any points of error for appeal.
The high cost of long-term care has made planning a critically important issue for most middle class seniors and their families. In fact, most seniors will likely require some form of long-term care. Sadly, many of them are unprepared for the significant financial burdens it places on their family's hard earned savings.
The Dean Law Firm, PLLC is an Estate Planning, Elder Law and Appellate boutique located in the heart of Sugar Land, Texas. The firm was founded in July 2007 and is led by Julia Dean, an attorney with over 20 years of experience, previously with the highly respected law firms of Andrew & Kurth and Wright Brown Close LLP.
Contact our Sugar Land, TX Estate Planning Law Firm with your questions, comments or concerns. We offer a free, no obligation consultation for clients who want to discuss their estate related matters.
1650 Highway 6 South, Suite 100
Sugarland TX 77478
While nobody wants to think about death or disability, establishing an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Proper estate planning not only puts you in charge of your finances, it can also spare your loved ones of the expense, delay and frustration associated with managing your affairs when you pass away or become disabled.
Providing for Incapacity
If you become incapacitated, you won't be able to manage your own financial affairs. Many are under the mistaken impression that their spouse or adult children can automatically take over for them in case they become incapacitated. The truth is that in order for others to be able to manage your finances, they must petition a court to declare you legally incompetent. This process can be lengthy, costly and stressful. Even if the court appoints the person you would have chosen, they may have to come back to the court every year and show how they are spending and investing each and every penny. If you want your family to be able to immediately take over for you, you must designate a person or persons that you trust in proper legal documents so that they will have the authority to withdraw money from your accounts, pay bills, take distributions from your IRAs, sell stocks, and refinance your home. A will does not take effect until you die.
In addition to planning for the financial aspect of your affairs during incapacity, you should establish a plan for your medical care. The law allows you to appoint someone you trust - for example, a family member or close friend to make decisions on your behalf about medical treatment options if you lose the ability to decide for yourself. You can do this by using a power of attorney for health care where you designate the person to make such decisions. In addition to a power of attorney for heath care, you should also have a living will that informs others of your preferred medical treatments, such as the use of extraordinary measures, should you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill.
If you leave your estate to your loved ones using a will, most of what you own will pass through probate. The process is open to the public and can be expensive and time-consuming. The probate court is in control of the process until the estate has been settled and distributed. If you are married and have children, you want to make certain that your surviving family has immediate access to cash to pay for living expenses while your estate is being settled. It is possible that your surviving spouse may be forced to apply to the probate court for needed cash to pay current living expenses. You can imagine how stressful this process can be. With proper planning, your assets can pass on to your loved ones without undergoing probate, in a manner that is quick, less expensive and private.
Providing for Minor Children
It is important that your estate plan address issues regarding the upbringing of your children. If your children are young, you may want to consider implementing a plan that will allow your surviving spouse to devote more attention to your children, without the burden of work obligations. You should discuss with your attorney the possibility of both you and your spouse dying simultaneously, or within a short duration of time. A contingency plan should provide for persons you'd like to manage your assets as well as the guardian you'd like to nominate for the upbringing of your children. The person, or trustee in charge of the finances, need not be the same person as the guardian. In fact, in many situations, you may want to purposely designate different persons to maintain a system of checks and balances. Otherwise, the decision as to who will manage your finances and raise your children will be left to a court of law. Even if you are lucky enough to have the person or persons you would have wanted selected by the court, they may have undue burdens and restrictions placed on them by the court, such as having to provide annual accounting.
Other issues to consider are whether you'd like your beneficiaries to receive your assets directly, or whether you'd prefer to have the assets placed in trust and distributed based a number of factors that you designate, such as age, need and even incentives based on behavior and education. All too often, children receive substantial assets before they are mature enough to handle them properly, with devastating results.
You should give careful thought to your choice of guardian, ensuring that he or she shares the values you want instilled in your children and possesses the child-rearing skills necessary to do so. Give consideration to the age and financial condition of a potential guardian; however, provisions can be made in your estate plan to make sure that your plan does not create an additional financial burden for the guardian.
Ms. Dean's professional experience encompasses a broad range of legal matters. Her primary emphases are civil appeals, estate planning and probate. Her estate planning practice involves helping clients orchestrate their estates by drafting a vast array of trusts, wills and powers of attorney. Ms. Dean also provides compassionate legal advice while assisting families through the probate process.
Ms. Dean's legal expertise in civil appeals includes both advising at the trial court level and handling all aspects of the appeal. She has handled appeals dealing with complex insurance matters, business matters, personal injury and family law appeals. She has successfully argued in federal and state courts, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, on behalf of a major insurance company, corporations, and individuals. She works with trial attorneys and clients to preserve error on the trial court level, preparing legal motions, handling mandamus actions, preparing and arguing the jury charge and handling all post-judgment motions. At the appellate level, Ms. Dean leads the appeal of a judgment, including preparing briefs, petitions for review and briefs on the merits to the Texas Supreme Court, and presenting oral argument before diverse panels of judges.
Throughout her career, Ms. Dean has handled other civil matters as well, such as complex commercial litigation, corporate buy-outs, employment and business contracts, consumer issues, family law litigation, adoptions, real estate transactions and personal injury litigation. She successfully negotiated and closed a multi-million dollar buy-out of a snowboard clothing company to a major sporting goods conglomerate. Prior to specializing in appellate law, Ms. Dean engaged in a successful trial practice and as a result, understands the needs of trial attorneys and what it takes to make them successful at the trial level and on appeal.
Integrity and operating under a high standard of ethics are of utmost importance to us at The Dean Law Firm. We abide by the Texas Lawyer's Creed.