Preserving Family Wealth for Generations

info@voellerlaw.com

(210) 651-3851

19311 FM 2252 Suite 103, San Antonio, Texas 78266

San Antonio Probate Attorney

Finding the right probate attorney for your needs

When a person passes away, the grief associated with that loss is difficult to manage. But when legal matters related to the estate become part of the equation, grief can quickly turn to anger, causing, even more, pain for family members.

That’s why it is essential to do as much pre-planning as possible with your estate. You can direct the disposition of your assets and assign who will manage the job as an executor, minimizing problems when you pass away.

In some cases, after a person passes away, the job of executor will overwhelm the person so named. When that happens, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced probate attorney.

In San Antonio, and throughout the state of Texas, there are two types of probate attorneys who can be retained to help with estate matters. There are transactional attorneys who help with administrative functions related to probate. There are also attorneys who litigate probate issues where legal matters occur because an executor is doing a poor job, or the division of assets does not seem appropriate.

Finding a good probate attorney who matches your needs does require some work. It’s imperative that you find somebody who you are compatible with and that you trust.

Many people start by asking friends or business associates for a referral. Word of mouth reputation is often the best way to find a perfect match for your probate needs. Once you have narrowed the list down to two or three possible attorneys, you’ll want to check their biographical information, the Texas state bar association, their professional memberships and special certifications such as being a part of the American Association of Estate Planning Attorneys. And last but not least, make sure you understand their fee structure and how payment works before entering into any agreement.

The Voeller Law Firm proudly serves San Antonio, Bexar County, Schertz, Garden Ridge and nearby Texas communities.

San Antonio Estate Planning

9 things you need to know about estate planning

San Antonio citizens of all ages and levels of wealth should have an estate plan in place.  Here are 9 things you need to know about estate planning.

  • Whether you know it or not, you have an estate.  It’s comprised of everything you own, from your car and your home, to your checking and savings accounts, and all your personal possessions.
  • If you don’t have an estate plan in place, when you die or become disabled, the state of Texas will distribute your assets for you depending on probate laws already on the books.
  • Having an estate plan in place is the best way to have your heirs pay the least amount of taxes, legal fees and court costs.
  • Estate plans are valuable to have in place when you die.  They are an effective means to have your wishes carried out if you become disabled or incapacitated.
  • Having a will in place is only part of the estate planning process.  It does not avoid probate.
  • The best asset protection and transfer mechanism for most people is a revocable living trust.  It helps families avoid probate, prevents court interference and provides the most privacy.  It is also valid in every state and can be changed at any time to reflect the changes in a family’s dynamics.
  • Trusts can be held in place after your death until beneficiaries reach the age you want them to inherit assets.  It can also protect your assets from beneficiaries’ spouses, creditors and poor spending choices.
  • With the help of an attorney, an estate plan can keep all of your estate documents in a single, easy-to-find and easy-to-use document to minimize confusion when you pass away.
  • The Voeller Law Firm proudly serves San Antonio, Bexar County, Schertz, Garden Ridge and nearby Texas communities.

San Antonio LLC Attorney

The benefits of establishing a Limited Liability Company in Texas

If you’re thinking of starting a new business in San Antonio or changing the structure of an existing business, creating a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Texas can offer several advantages.

With the help of an experienced business attorney, you can set up and enjoy an LLC that combines the best characteristics of a corporation and a partnership.

Protecting your name. When you register as an LLC, you are automatically protected from another business using that name anywhere in the state. This is an important step in developing your brand identity and business image.

Protecting your personal assets. An LLC protects the owners of the company in cases where there might be a lawsuit. While a creditor or a person seeking remuneration can go after the assets of the business, they cannot touch the personal assets of the members of an LLC.

Tax advantages. There are numerous tax advantages to forming an LLC in Texas. With an LLC, operating costs and business expenses can be deducted from the gross revenues of the business, as well as deducting depreciation of company assets that are part of the balance sheet.

Less record keeping requirements. Texas corporations are required to keep extensive records and meeting minutes, but an LLC is exempt from this type of recording keeping requirement. There is also no requirement for an annual shareholder meeting.

More user friendly. Overall, an LLC in Texas is much easier to operate than most other business structures.

Long life. LLCs are set up to extend beyond the death of their owners, creating fewer issues when it comes to transferring ownership or terminating a business.

Less taxation. Unlike corporations, LLC’s are taxed only at the member level, meaning there is no double taxation as there is with a corporation.

The Voeller Law Firm proudly serves San Antonio, Bexar County, Schertz, Garden Ridge and nearby Texas communities.

San Antonio Medicaid Attorney

Taking the right steps to get Medicaid coverage

Medicaid is a healthcare program for families and older Americans with limited financial resources. It is designed for people of all ages who don’t have the necessary means to pay for health care. It is different from Medicare, which is a federal health care program for people 65 years and older and others who have certain disabilities.

Medicaid is funded jointly by state and federal governments, but it is the states that determine who is eligible and how Medicaid will be administered.

In San Antonio, and throughout the state of Texas, more than four million people are covered by Medicaid, which is delivered through managed health plans that are under contract with the state.

Because the state has leeway in how it determines and administers the Medicaid program, a person or family who may be eligible for benefits, could initially be turned down or put at financial risk even if they are approved. This is where an attorney who is well versed in applying for Medicaid benefits can make a big difference in securing them for a client.

For example, an attorney can help a family by protecting assets when a parent is admitted to a nursing home. In this type of situation, Medicare will stop paying a nursing home bill when it is determined a person needs custodial care instead of therapeutic care. This puts a financial burden directly on the parent’s assets until they can establish Medicaid eligibility, which should be done as soon as possible. An attorney can expedite this process and perhaps save thousands of dollars in nursing home fees.

There are also many other factors that need to be proven before Medicaid coverage can be approved. These can include income limitations, asset limits, or transferring assets from a Medicaid applicant to their spouse. There are specific strategies an attorney can assist you with to get around these roadblocks and make sure you receive the coverage you are entitled to, without breaking your bank.

The Voeller Law Firm proudly serves San Antonio, Bexar County, Schertz, Garden Ridge and nearby Texas communities.

San Antonio Gun Trust Attorney

Why you need a gun trust attorney

If you’re an avid gun enthusiast like many other people in San Antonio and throughout Texas, then you are also concerned about your gun rights and responsibilities, as you should be.

Although less common in other states, in Texas, many gun owners work with an attorney to set up a gun trust to address the unique issues associated with their firearms, which are the most heavily regulated type of personal property in the United States.

Gun trusts are especially useful for law-abiding citizens who want to own and use guns that have been regulated under the National Firearms Act. The NFA regulates fully automatic weapons, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns and sound suppressors. Under the act, a person, a gun trust or other legal entities can legally acquire firearms by obtaining prior approval from the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Gun trusts are high customized legal agreements that specifically spell out the use, possession and transfer of firearms that are in the trust. Most trusts explicitly spell out how guns will be managed if the grantor of the trust passes away or becomes incapacitated. While most people put their NFA guns into these trusts, because the transfer of gun ownership is easier inside of a trust, many people also put their non-NFA guns into a trust as well.

Gun trusts offer some unique advantages. While individual ATF applications require fingerprinting, photographs and chief law enforcement officer approval, guns in gun trusts do not require any of these when an ATF application is submitted.

NFA firearms in a trust can also be used and owned by more than one person. NFA guns owned by a single person can only be used and owned by that person.

Transferring ownership of guns in a gun trust is a much simpler process than if a transfer takes place as part of a probate process when a gun owner passes away.

The Voeller Law Firm proudly serves San Antonio, Bexar County, Schertz, Garden Ridge and nearby Texas communities.

San Antonio Business Lawyer

If you’re in business, you need a good lawyer

As a business owner, you are juggling a million different things at any given time.

With many of those challenges you can deal with by yourself, but in other instances, you should have an expert handling matters for you. It just makes good sense to surround yourself with a great accountant, outstanding sales people, and above all else, an experienced business lawyer.

Savvy San Antonio business people understand that when it comes to legal matters, an ounce of prevention is far better than a pound of cure, which can be costly, time-consuming and could permanently damage a business. And the size of the business doesn’t matter, whether it’s a mom and pop storefront, or a large corporation with dozens or even hundreds of employees.

Business lawyers are especially valuable during a start-up phase. For example, if you’re going to incorporate your business, you’ll need an attorney to help you draft articles of incorporation, bylaws, issues related to the issuance of stock, partnership agreements, filings with the state of Texas, non-compete agreements for new employees, contract reviews for employees and key suppliers, and many more services.

There is a long list of legal issues for any business owner to be concerned with at most any juncture of their business life.

It’s also important to remember that with an experienced business lawyer on hand, it frees up an entrepreneur to do what they do best, which is to focus on their products and services, build customer relationships, market and sell to a worldwide audience and grow a dedicated staff that will ensure the long-term success of a business venture.

The Voeller Law Firm proudly serves San Antonio, Bexar County, Schertz, Garden Ridge and nearby Texas communities.

San Antonio Power of Attorney

Do I need to have a power of attorney in place?

A power of attorney is a legal document that entitles a person to appoint an individual or an organization to manage their affairs if that person is unable to do so. A power of attorney can be created for many reasons, ranging from a person who is old with no close relatives to a person who has been diagnosed with a terminal disease or someone who will be traveling or otherwise unavailable for an extended period of time. Trust is the primary factor when considering who to choose as an agent for a power of attorney.

For residents of San Antonio, it’s important to note that there are also several kinds of power of attorneys, and each one has a different level of control.

General Power of Attorney. This is the most common form of power of attorney and gives an individual or an organization broad and sweeping powers to act on a person’s behalf. A general power of attorney is often a part of an estate plan, and can handle all things related to financial and business matters.

Special Power of Attorney. If a person is uncomfortable giving complete control to another under a general power of attorney, an option is to specify exactly what types of affairs a special power of attorney can handle. This may be limited to transactions within a business, managing personal assets or collecting debts, among others.

Health Care Power of Attorney. This gives a person the authority to make medical decisions if a person becomes incapacitated and is unable to care for themselves whether through physical or mental issues.

Durable Power of Attorney. This allows a person to keep a power of attorney agreement in place in case of illness or injury, only after a doctor certifies that a person is not mentally capable of taking care of their own affairs.

The Voeller Law Firm proudly serves San Antonio, Bexar County, Schertz, Garden Ridge and nearby Texas communities

San Antonio Revocable Trust

The advantages of a revocable trust

A revocable trust is an agreement that allows an individual to sign a trust agreement that names another person as an executor with the power to administer the assets that are placed in the trust.  A revocable trust simply means that the grantor of the trust can revoke, or change their minds regarding how the trust should be administered at any time.

Residents of San Antonio may want to consider creating a revocable trust because it offers many advantages for managing wealth and transferring it to beneficiaries

Flexibility.  With a trust in place, you get to decide who and how you want your assets to be administered, instead of relying on the courts, which often limits your choices.

Avoid probate.  Probate occurs when the state has jurisdiction and takes control and distributes the assets after someone has passed away.  It can be costly and time-consuming, which is why this is one of the main reasons people cite for creating a trust.

Availability of assets.  Assets in a revocable trust are more readily available than if a person only has a will or no directives at all.  This quick availability of cash makes it easier to handle funeral and medical expenses.

Continuity of care.  With a revocable trust in place, a trustee can manage assets much easier if the grantor becomes disabled or incapacitated.  Without a trust in place, there may be a lengthy process of gaining control of a person’s assets that involves being named a conservator or guardian before any management of assets can take place.

Continuity of investment management.  A trust allows a grantor’s investments to remain in place if they become incapacitated or pass away.  By doing so, this can produce significant investment returns by not having to liquidate assets when market conditions are not favorable.

The Voeller Law Firm proudly serves San Antonio, Bexar County, Schertz, Garden Ridge and nearby Texas communities.

San Antonio Aid and Attendance

Veterans can get extra help through Aid & Attendance benefits

San Antonio residents who are veterans that have served in the United States military may be eligible for a pension benefit known as Aid and Attendance.

Aid & Attendance is a little-known disability income benefit. It is specifically for veterans who require the aid and attendance of another person to help them with their daily life activities.

The Aid & Attendance benefit is paid in addition to a normal veterans pension. A veteran may be impacted from receiving Aid & Attendance if they exceed certain income guidelines. To qualify, one of the following conditions must apply:

You require the help of another person to perform personal functions such as bathing, eating, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, or other similar activities.

You are bedridden, requiring you to stay in bed apart from any convalescence activities.

You are a patient in a nursing home due to physical or mental challenges.

Your eyesight is a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes.

A related benefit is the Housebound benefit, which is added to a veteran’s monthly pension when they are substantially confined to their immediate premises because of a permanent disability.

While Aid and Attendance can provide several important benefits for veterans, sometimes the paperwork can be complicated. If this is the case, it may be wise to seek the assistance of an attorney who can help you in completing an application, ensuring you get all the benefits you are entitled to.

In any event, you will need to apply for Aid & Attendance or the Housebound benefit by contacting the Texas Pension Management Center or by visiting a regional benefits office to file a request.

The Voeller Law Firm proudly serves San Antonio, Bexar County, Schertz, Garden Ridge and nearby Texas communities.

San Antonio Elder Law

Protecting the rights of the elderly in Texas

There are about 2.4 million people in Texas who are 65 years or older. As Texas’s population continues to age, the Texas Attorney General is responsible for administering a series of rights specifically aimed at serving and protecting seniors. The Attorney General is responsible for investigating abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and senior care issues.

In addition to all the rights and privileges afforded to the residents of San Antonio and throughout the entire state of Texas, there are a set of elder laws on the books to specifically protect Texans aged 60 and older.

Section 102.003 of the Texas Human Resources code explains all the details of these specific laws which include:

  • Right to be Free to Exercise Civil Rights Under the Law
  • Right to Dignity and Respect
  • Right to Designate a Guardian or Representative
  • Right to be Free from Physical or Mental Abuse
  • Right to Communicate and Complain Regarding Treatment, Care or Services
  • Right to Privacy
  • Right to Participate in Activities
  • Right to Manage Financial Affairs
  • Right to Access and Confidentiality of Records
  • Right to Information and Choice Regarding Medical Conditions and Care
  • Right to Keep Possessions
  • Right to Refuse to Perform Services
  • Right to Information About Benefits
  • Right to Remain with a Chosen Service Provider
  • Right to Make Other Legal Decisions and Documents

In many instances, in addition to actions taken by the Texas Attorney General, seniors or their representatives may be able to take legal action to seek reparations against individuals or organizations who have committed abuse, fraud, financial crimes or other acts that have caused harm to seniors.

The Voeller Law Firm proudly serves San Antonio, Bexar County, Schertz, Garden Ridge and nearby Texas communities.