Hughes Watters Askanase has expanded its Wills and Probate Practice Area to include capabilities in estate planning and arranging trusts to address the needs of our high wealth individual clients, family-owned business entities and charitable organizations.

We work with our clients to provide a wide variety of estate planning and administration options, including:

  • Personal Wealth Transfer and Succession Planning
  • Wills     
  • Living Wills
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Marital Trusts
  • Medical Powers of Attorney
  • Financial Powers of Attorney
  • Transferring Real Estate to a Trust
  • Life Insurance Trusts
  • Family Partnerships

Wealth Transfer and Succession Planning Services

We work closely with clients to design and implement wealth transfer and succession plans which minimize gift, estate, and other transfer taxes. This includes the preparation of customized wills and trust agreements to meet each client’s specific needs. Additionally, we assist clients in coordinating their various compensation and benefit plans with their overall wealth transfer and succession planning. Our planning emphasizes flexibility in light of the ever-changing status of federal transfer tax laws.

We also work with clients in planning for disability, providing for cost effective asset management upon incapacity or infirmity. Additionally, we help individuals in developing plans to preserve assets in the event of divorce or creditor claims. Further, we work with clients to establish a family legacy, including family foundations, family limited partnerships, and other family owned entities, including ongoing legal support in the operation of such entities. We also work with clients in carrying out lifetime and testamentary charitable giving, while taking advantage of strategies to minimize taxation.

Business Succession Planning

We work with business owners to develop asset transfer and succession plans which minimize income and transfer taxes. This includes the development of complex agreements to ensure continuity of operations, equitable transfers of power and value, all with an eye towards business preservation and a smooth transfer of the business between generations.

Estate and Trust Administration 

We represent executors and trustees in the administration of estates and trusts, including working with fiduciaries in gathering and distributing assets.  We work closely with other professionals and asset managers in connection with property management, accounting and other issues which a fiduciary needs to address.  We also handle will contests, will construction suits and other negotiations and legal proceedings involving our executor, trustee and beneficiary clients, including tax controversies before the Internal Revenue Service.

Creditor Administrations

Texas has notoriously rigorous requirements for a creditor to collect on claims it has against a decedent’s estate in certain types of estate administrations. As a result, creditors are often faced with an uphill battle in obtaining a recovery of a proper debt.  The failure to comply with the very rigid Texas probate claims rules can often leave a creditor with no recovery at all.  Our depth of experience with mortgage default services, bankruptcy and other creditor representation has given us extensive experience in creditor probate scenarios.  HWA can serve as administrator for creditors in the event a borrower is deceased and often arrange debtor workouts in the event a spouse or family member does not want to undertake a probate situation.  We can also orchestrate the initiation of an administration of an estate by a creditor by applying to a court for an appointment of an independent third-party attorney administrator to allow foreclosure on property or other assets securing a note owing by a person who is deceased.