Gary Cunha, P.C.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
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Please realize the information contained on this web site should not be construed as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between us. It is simply here as a means for me to provide you some basic information for you to use when deciding on whether or not you need to hire an attorney. Because each case is different, it would be impossible for us to provide legal advice on a web site.
All pages Copyright 2022 by Gary Cunha, P.C. All Rights Reserved
Personal Injury
Do I need a will?
If you die in Texas without a will, your property will legally be divided as follows (note that family members may steal some of your property and otherwise may fight with each other over items).

If you are unmarried and have no kids: property divided by statutory formula (see probate code section 38)

If you are unmarried but have kids: all property goes to your children in equal shares

if you are married with kids: 1/3 of your separate property and a life estate in 1/3 of your separate real estate goes to your spouse. If all your children are also your spouse's kids, all community property goes to your spouse. But, if you have any children with someone other than your spouse, then only 1/2 of your community property goes to your spouse, and the other 1/2 goes to your children (with the exception of homestead, which your spouse gets a life estate in)

So you can see how there are potential problems if you die without a will. The other problem is of course administering your estate, which could require an expensive and time-consuming court process.
What can a will do for me?
First you can establish your wishes related to property, burial, guardianship, trust, and administration. So your wishes will be followed. This can save everyone time, money, and grief. If you have a larger estate, estate planning can be implemented to save on taxes. If you have young children, you can set up guardianships and trusts to help them as they grow up (and prevent them from inheriting a large amount of money at a young age which might be "blown" on expensive toys.
How do I get a will?
There are two ways to do a will in Texas. The most common is to have it prepared by your attorney, sign it in front of a notary and two disinterested witnesses. The less common and more risky method is a holographic will where you write your own will. Remember if you choose the holographic will it must be completely in your handwriting - any marks (arguably even lined paper) will invalidate the will.

Because of the COVID pandemic we are currently preparing wills at a discount for folks and sending them out as a PDF file and you will have to print it, get the 2 witnesses and notary, and arrange the signing yourself.
Wills
Why should I get a will?
Currently, most will probate cases cost $2,500 or less, whereas folks who die without a will are leaving their family to likely have to spend $5,000 or more (and usually lots more!) on an intestate transfer of property.
How do I store my will?
The original signed copy will need to be probated, so it is important that you save the original in a safe spot where your executor and other important family members can access it.
Will Paperwork
Power of Attorney Paperwork
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone else to sign your name with the same legal effect as when you sign your own name. Please note the person granting the power of attorney is the one who gets it. If you are needing to be able to sign for someone else, that is called guardianship.
What limits and protections can I have with a power of attorney?
Powers of attorney can be limited (such as the ones used to transfer a motor vehicle title that you sign at the car dealership or after a divorce) or be broad full-power (also known as durable general or statutory powers of attorney) which allow the "agent" to transact any and all business the same as you can. Generally the agent owes you a fiduciary duty, meaning they are not supposed to just liquidate your assets and leave, but sadly that sort of thing does happen and sometimes it can be difficult to bring justice because there are usually emotional factors involved (such as when a child does it to you, you may not want them to go to prison). Generally you should only issue one as broad as you are comfortable with or is necessary to accomplish what you are trying to accomplish.
How do I obtain a power of attorney?
Generally a consultation is not necessary, most clients prefer to save the money and just fill out our power of attorney paperwork (below), send it to us via email and then we will quote a fee to prepare what you need.

If you feel you need a consultation, we can offer you a consultation but you will have to pay the standard hourly rate (one-hour minimum fee).
Living Wills
Living Will Paperwork
What is a living will?
A living will is a legal document that governs the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from an individual in the event of an incurable or irreversible condition that will cause death within a relatively short time, and when such person is no longer able to make decisions him/herself.
Why should I have a living will?
The easiest way to explain this in layman's terms is to say, do you want to be hooked up to life support for an indefinite time when you are otherwise dead? The living will tells your doctors/hospitals whether or not they should leave you hooked up to a life support machine.
How should I store my living will?
There is no "right or wrong" answer to this. I usually suggest that folks give a copy to their doctors and any local hospital (plus any hospital they might end up at). It can also be filed with the county records department which makes it public record. Lastly you could consider scanning it and having a copy available online at a secure website that can be accessed by your doctor. Of course, none of that matters if folks are not aware of the existence of your living will and how to access a copy.
How do I obtain a living will?
Generally a consultation is not necessary, most clients prefer to save the money and just fill out our living will paperwork (below), send it to us via email, and then we will quote a fee to prepare what you need.

If you feel you need a consultation, we can offer you a consultation but you will have to pay the standard hourly rate (one-hour minimum fee).
Power of Attorney
Medical Powers of Attorney
Medical Power of Attorney Paperwork
What is a medical power of attorney?
A medical power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone else to make healthcare decisions for you when you are unable to make those decisions yourself. You normally include a HIPAA release so the person can make the decision after consultation with your healthcare professional.
What limits and protections can I have with a medical power of attorney?
The document contains a section title "limits" which you can structure whatever limits you wish. You can also appoint alternates.
How do I obtain a medical power of attorney?
Generally a consultation is not necessary, most clients prefer to save the money and just fill out our medical power of attorney paperwork (below), send it to us via email, and then we will quote a fee to prepare what you need.

If you feel you need a consultation, we can offer you a consultation but you will have to pay the standard hourly rate (one-hour minimum fee).
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