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Trusts Attorney in Austin, Texas

Inter Vivo Trusts 

A trust that is created and effective during the lifetime of the settlor (the creator of the trust) is called an inter vivos trust, as opposed to a testamentary trust that is effective at the death of the settlor.  Inter vivos trusts can be used for many purposes such as to protect the settlor’s interest in land by using the trustee’s name on the deed, or by keeping settlors out of court by having to be sued in the name of the trust.  In my practice I have found many, many uses for inter vivos trusts for clients.   

Further, a trust is a way to avoid probate of a will in Court.  Probating a will most of the time includes going to Court to verify a will, process the terms of a will, verification of assets and debts, then determining distribution according to the terms of the will, all with costs that includes attorney’s fees, possible professional evaluation of assets, even contested terms of the will with handwriting experts, as well as costs of Court and sometimes unplanned and undesirable outcomes of the testator or maker of the will.  See also Transfer on Death Deed to keep real estate from being included in a probate case. 

 Let’s discuss if a trust can help you and your family.  

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Testamentary Trusts  

This is a Trust that takes effect at the death of a Settlor (Creator or sometimes know as the Grantor of the trust).  You can determine exactly how you want your property, both personal and real estate, is distributed upon your death without the need for Court, lawyers and other costs.  Some folks put a testamentary trust in their will, in another trust, or just create a standalone testamentary trust. 

Durable Powers of Attorney  

A Power of Attorney gives the grantee of the power all the authority over tangible and intangible property that the grantor of the power allows.  That is, if you grant a power of attorney to your friend to have access to your bank accounts for the sole purpose of depositing your retirement income checks, then your friend is given the limited power described in the Power of Attorney document only.  More general powers of attorney can be to act for the grantor of the power even after the grantor of the power becomes incapacitated – that is called a Durable Power of Attorney; the power duration lasts beyond you as the grantor being able to make decisions yourself.  Death revokes the grant of the Power of Attorney; as your Lawyer I can explain your options, how and when to limit powers given to others, and the risks and rewards of creating Powers of Attorney.  

Affidavits of Heirship  

In Texas you have generally four years to produce a will and submit it to a court with proper jurisdiction, otherwise you cannot probate the will at all and must seek other ways to fairly distribute the personal property and real estate left by a relative.  To prove who were the heirs of a person who died with no will or one whose will was not probated for over four years after they died, Affidavits of Heirship are sometimes the appropriate answer to the problem.  Clients from all over Texas ask me what to do about a relative who had no will; give me a call if you want to settle an estate but cannot find the answer in a courtroom. 


Although I prepare less wills these days since my clients prefer trusts, you should still be aware of what issues are involved in a will before you throw one together or use some other state form off the internet.  Just remember, if you want your daughter or granddaughter to inherit a car, but you cannot tell if your relatives will give it to her once your gone, be sure to dedicate the car to your daughter and if she dies before you do, the car goes to your daughter per stirpes.  We make sure your wishes are followed by using the right terms in your will or any other testamentary documents. 

Skip Tracing of potential Beneficiaries and Heirs  

Want to collect your inheritance but cannot distribute the estate until you find all of the folks in the will or in the family who can claim some part of the estate.  The Davis Law Firm can skip trace most anyone in America, that is, we can find them, generally we can find their most recent phone number, mailing address and even email address.  Ask us to solve your seemingly unsolvable problems with closing out or creating your testamentary estate. 


Since I am often asked and I humbly pride myself in creating the most clear and enforceable contracts between folks, I often have to remind clients that contracts are not just between individuals.  Remember contracts can be an asset of an estate, trusts can contract with other trusts or entities and trustees can be held accountable for completion and accounting of contracts of trusts and others entities.  With the Davis Law Firm you are not alone in your contracts you create or are obligated to perform.  We seek out unthought-of answers to questions to cover those possibilities in your agreements with others, even if the agreement is between trusts!