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Making a will in the US (Houston)

Making a will in the US (Houston)

Old Jan 7th 2015, 6:52 pm
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Default Making a will in the US (Houston)

Hi

Apologies in advance for somewhat depressing subject matter...

Does anyone have any recommendations for expat will advice? If not online, we would prefer Houston-based.

We need to get a US will made up. We have been here nearly 6 years (greencard at present) and have not yet made a US will. This is mainly because we can't agree on what we would want for our two minor kids in the event of both our deaths. We don't have any family in the US and we are not really at a point with anyone in the US who we could ask to be potential guardians. We want to better understand what the legal status of our kids would be if they were to be orphaned in Texas? And would the answer be different if they were to be US citizens vs. greencard holders?

If anyone has been through similar thought processes, would appreciate your thoughts or if anyone has used a service that they would recommend, please also let us know.

Thanks,

Doug.
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Old Jan 7th 2015, 6:57 pm
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Default Re: Making a will in the US (Houston)

Sounds like you need to consult a lawyer?
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Old Jan 7th 2015, 9:48 pm
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Default Re: Making a will in the US (Houston)

I will PM you details of an attorney I have talked to about estate planning.
She may be able to help.
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Old Jan 7th 2015, 11:33 pm
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Default Re: Making a will in the US (Houston)

We named a family member in England to be legal guardian and had a lawyer draw up a will ( in Houston ) cost was @$500 each I think. Included some other documents- living will etc.

One interesting point- could never get the school to hold info on the next of kin in UK even though we had no other family in US. Finally gave it to the local contacts the school would put on their forms, and put a paper with it in our passports. Every year I'd add the UK contact to the school info form and every year when I got the form back to check it had been taken off. I even tried to explain it a couple of times to administrators but they either didn't understand or didn't care!
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Old Jan 8th 2015, 1:07 am
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Default Re: Making a will in the US (Houston)

Originally Posted by Dougster75 View Post
We need to get a US will made up. We have been here nearly 6 years (greencard at present) and have not yet made a US will. This is mainly because we can't agree on what we would want for our two minor kids in the event of both our deaths. We don't have any family in the US and we are not really at a point with anyone in the US who we could ask to be potential guardians. We want to better understand what the legal status of our kids would be if they were to be orphaned in Texas? And would the answer be different if they were to be US citizens vs. greencard holders?

You need to contact a Texas estate/family law attorney for advice. However, depending on state law, the advice is likely to be some variant of a. you cannot leave children as property in your will, b. the welfare of orphaned Texan children is a matter for the authorities/courts and c. your wishes, if expressed in writing (in your will or otherwise), may be taken into account to some extent.

"To some extent" includes situations where, for example, many years have passed since these wishes have been expressed and circumstances have changed (children older, etc.).

The fact they have green cards rather than U.S. citizenship may or may not make a difference. Obviously, if the desired outcome is a future in the United States, then U.S. citizenship would be preferable.

Also consider what trustee arrangements would be for any financial assets left to minor children. Unlike guardianship, these can normally be mandated (rather than advised) through a will.
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Old Jan 8th 2015, 2:00 am
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Default Re: Making a will in the US (Houston)

Originally Posted by Yorkieabroad View Post
I will PM you details of an attorney I have talked to about estate planning.
She may be able to help.
Yorkie, can you send that info to me too, please?

My mother-in-law recommends the lady she used recently, but her rate is very expensive. Or maybe it isn't, and I just don't realise quite how much these things cost?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 8th 2015, 2:58 am
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Default Re: Making a will in the US (Houston)

Owen...just sent it
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Old Jan 9th 2015, 3:18 am
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Default Re: Making a will in the US (Houston)

We were very pleased with our estate planning lawyer here in Houston. He had very similar ties to England (he is Texas, however) and is Houston's go-to lawyer for probate and contestable wills. Remember, if something happens, your will is probated in the county of residency.

Am I not allowed to post his name? I can only PM it?
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Old Jan 9th 2015, 10:58 am
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Default Re: Making a will in the US (Houston)

I think you can post it. It shouldn't be a problem.
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Old Jan 9th 2015, 10:56 pm
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Default Re: Making a will in the US (Houston)

Jimmy Walker is the lawyer we used, after many recommendations.

Dinkins Kelly Lenox Lamb & Walker, L.L.P., Attorneys, Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Litigation, Probate, Trust, and Guardianship.

And we were very pleased. He is a thorough estate planner, not just a guy who has his secretary fill in the blanks on a standard will. He isn't pushy but was very particular to make sure we understood consequences with any advice we did not take. He also explained well the whole process after our demise which other lawyers we consulted with seemed to ignore.
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Old Jan 10th 2015, 2:46 am
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Default Re: Making a will in the US (Houston)

Thanks for posting that, they sound promising.
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