THE LAW OFFICE OF KIRK A. CHARGOIS - Your source for simplified Estate Planning Services... and more
WELCOME TO OUR WEBSITE 
 
The Law Office Of Kirk A Chargois would like to thank you for your inquiry and is ready to assist you in the following areas of legal services:
 
  • Estate Planning (Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Guardianship)
  • Probate
  • Divorce & Family Law Matters
  • Personal Injury (Auto Accidents, Slip & Fall, Negligence of property owners, etc.)
  • Wrongful Death
  • Catastrophic Injury (Burns, Explosions)
  • Business Law Matters (Contracts, Negotiations, etc.)
  • Real Estate and Property Matters
  • Landlord/Tenant Disputes
  • Property Tax Consulting
  • Debt Collection Cases
 
Common Questions regarding Estate Planning:
 
 
Estate Planning is the proactive process of anticipating possible scenarios and issues which could arise, and addressing them beforehand. Estate Planning is also arranging for a simpler administration of a person's estate upon death, especially the final disposition of a person's accounts, property, remains, etc. when they pass on.  If you are a person who wishes to minimize the very real frustration and emotional distress that often occurs in families when someone dies without a Will or if you are a person who wishes to have the ability to legally assist a loved one and make important life decisions and transactions in the event they become incapacitated, then Estate Planning should be extremely important to you. 
Because we all care for our family members and loved ones, we should also responsibly plan for the unexpected life events we may face as well as proactively plan for the inevitable time when we will leave this world. We can help you do that.
 
The Law Office of Kirk A. Chargois is ready to help you PREPARE. 
 
 Call or e-mail for a FREE consultation regarding Estate Planning.
                       (832) 453-6226       or      kirk@chargoislaw.com
   
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE
OF ESTATE PLANNING?
 
Most of us are reluctant to talk about, confront, or deal with the realities of life and death, terminal disease or illness, catastrophic injury, and unforeseen tragedy.  However, preparing an Estate Plan is an extremely important and responsible thing to do; and it may involve some of the most important legal decisions that you will make in your life.
A simple Estate Plan allows you to rest more easily knowing that in the event of an unexpected life event or death your family and loved ones who survive you will not be additionally burdened by having to figure out what you would want to do for yourself if able to.
The legal documents in an Estate Plan empower you to state or clarify your intentions, protect your family, and make it known to all concerned those things you have decided to do regarding important matters pertinent to your health care in the event of incapacitation, your intentions regarding personal and business matters, and with regard to your death, making your intentions clearly known to as to how you will want your estate to be administered.
The Law Office of Kirk A. Chargois is ready to help you.
 
Call or e-mail for a FREE consultation regarding Estate Planning.
                            (832) 453-6226 or kirk@chargoislaw.com
 
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS AN ESTATE PLAN?
WHAT ARE THE DOCUMENTS THAT MAKE UP A SIMPLE ESTATE PLAN?
 
The following explains simple wills, living wills, medical powers of attorney, general powers of attorney, and declarations of guardianship - all offered by www.chargoislaw.com.
 
Last Will and Testament
The most important part of an well-drafted Estate Plan,  the document known as the "Last Will and Testament" informs all interested parties who you have designated to receive your property at death, who will administer your estate, the appointment of trustees and guardians, if applicable, and other provisions by which a person (known as the testator) regulates the rights of others over his or her property or family after death, and does so in an uncomplicated manner. Typically the property of the testator is left to the spouse or to the children, with no complicated trusts or disposition of property involved.
 
If your estate is valued in the millions of dollars, we urge you to employ an estate specialist who is also a tax specialist. A lawyer whose practice concentrates solely on complicated wills, trusts, and estates is more likely to be up-to-date on the ever-changing tax laws that are important in the administration of large estates.
The Law Office of Kirk A. Chargois does NOT specialize in tax matters of complicated estates.
  
What happens if I die without a Will?  If you die without a will you are an intestate.  In such a case, state laws govern who receives your property.  These laws are called "intestate succession laws".  If you die without a Will the Court decides who will administer your estate. 
Also, dying without a Will will cause the Court to demand that an Heirship proceeding take place. This is another expense, due to the fact that in addition to your Probate Attorney, another Attorney (known as an Attorney Ad Litem) will be appointed to represent the interests of unknown heirs and descendants. Generally, it is much more expensive to administer an estate of a person who died without a Will, than a person who dies with a Will.
The Law Office of Kirk A. Chargois is ready to help you PREPARE. Call or e-mail for a FREE consultation regarding Estate Planning.
(832) 453-6226 or kirk@chargoislaw.com
 
What other considerations should be addressed in a Will?
When making a Will you need to consider who will be named as your personal representative or executor to administer your estate, who you will name as guardian and trustee of minor children (if your spouse or children's other parent does not survive you) and who will receive your property.  You should also consider tax issues. The person appointed as executor or administrator is often a spouse, however an alternate should also be named in case the spouse predeceases you. The person you name as executor should be a person whom you can trust will carry out your instructions and who will in the process also get along with the beneficiaries named in the Will.
 
In the event your spouse or children's other parent predeceases you, the guardian you name will have actual custody of your minor children unless a court appoints someone else.  The trustee you appoint to administer a trust you established will be in charge of the assets of the trust for the benefit of the minor beneficiaries.
The Law Office of Kirk A. Chargois is ready to help you PREPARE. Call or e-mail for a FREE consultation regarding Estate Planning.
(832) 453-6226 or kirk@chargoislaw.com
  
What about Joint Property? Many people do not understand that joint property may pass outside your Will and also sometimes assume that it will pass through their Will.  They do not understand the significance of joint ownership.  The issue is common in the area of real estate; for example:
 
Often, a husband and wife will own real estate as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.  If one party dies, the surviving party receives the property regardless of what the Will provides.  This is common and generally acceptable.  However, if this is not your desire you should change the ownership of the property to tenants in common or other form of ownership. 
If you own real estate as tenants in common, then you may designate who will receive your share of the property at your death.  This issue can be a problem when uninformed persons take title to real estate as joint tenants with rights of survivorship but really intended to leave their share to, for example, children of a prior marriage.
 
Living Will
A Directive to Physicians or Health care Directive (also known as a "Living Will") is created while you are competent (capable to make decisions for yourself) and instructs your doctors and anyone else regarding what your intentions are should you have an incurable, terminal condition and/or you are only being kept alive by machines or feeding tubes.
 
You may choose to have the life-sustaining procedures to be continued, modified, or withdrawn so that you may die naturally.  You may also choose to continue or negate some or all of the the life-sustaining procedures used in health care institutions. Your choice is extremely important in this matter because you never want someone guessing when it comes to health care decisions that affect you. Decide for yourself up-front and make it known to all concerned what you would like to happen if an an incurable terminal condition develops.
 
Medical Power of Attorney
This document grants someone whom you designate as your agent for health care to have legal authority to make binding heath care decisions on your behalf with respect to your wishes.  A Living Will directs the Physician specifically with regard to life sustaining procedures, but the Medical Power of Attorney allows your agent to actually make decisions for you regarding these matters in the event that you are unable to do so.
 
General Durable Power of Attorney 
This is a very powerful document, because in it you are granting someone whom you implicitly trust to be your agent and to have legal authority to carry out general or specific transactions on your behalf effectively as if they were you.  Banks, businesses, and other entities may need to be reached by your agent in order to carry out various tasks on your behalf.
 
Declaration of Guardianship Before the Need Arises
www.chargoislaw.com is ready to help you prepare a Declaration of Guardianship before the need arises.  This is a very important part of responsible Estate Planning. 
 
Guardianship in general:
The law presumes that an adult eighteen years of age or older is capable of handling his/her own affairs. A guardian may be appointed to serve as a substitute decision maker if a person is disabled because of (1) mental deterioration, (2) physical incapacity, (3) mental illness, or (4) developmental disability. The disability must prevent the person from making or communicating responsible decisions about his/her personal affairs.
 
What is guardianship?
Guardianship is a judicial proceeding in which a person or entity may be granted full or limited authority over an incapacitated person (ward) to promote and protect the well-being of the ward and/or the ward’s estate. The guardianship should be designed to encourage the development or maintenance of maximum self-reliance and independence of the ward by limiting the power or authority of the guardian based upon the person’s actual physical or mental limitations.
 
Note: Adult guardianship is a specialized area of practice. You are highly encouraged to speak with an experienced attorney about the requirements of appointing a guardian.
 
www.chargoislaw.com is ready to help you
 
There are two types of guardianship – guardianship of the estate and guardianship of the person. The guardian of the estate is in charge of the ward’s property and finances. The guardian of the person is in charge of care and custody of the ward. Factors considered in the guardianship proceeding include 1) the extent of the ward’s diminished incapacity 2) the necessity of guardianship, and 3) the most appropriate person to be appointed guardian, with “the best interest of the ward” as the underlying guideline
Guardianship of minors differs from adult guardianship only to the extent that the minor is typically considered incapacitated only because of age. The most important factor in addressing guardianship of a child is determining the most appropriate person to be appointed guardian, with “the best interest of the child” as the underlying guideline Once the child reaches legal adulthood (age 18) or some other qualifying factor, s/he is no longer incapacitated and therefore does not require a guardian. To address the possibility that a guardian may be needed for minor children, chargoislaw.com  includes language in the Last Will regarding this matter.
 
www.chargoislaw.com is ready to help you.  Call or e-mail for a FREE consultation regarding Estate Planning.
 
 
WHY IS ANY OF THIS IMPORTANT TO ME?
DON'T MY BANK, INSURANCE, AND RETIREMENT ACCOUNT  BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS TAKE CARE OF ALL OF THESE MATTERS? 
The documents referenced in the foregoing form a basic foundation that grant you peace of mind in regards to being legally prepared for unexpected life events such as death, disease, catastrophic injury, etc.
There are important considerations to be made regarding Last Wills, Living Wills, and Powers of Attorney. However, should you ever become incapacitated or cannot make decisions on your own, it may be a wise decision to have them in place. Last Wills, Living Wills, and Powers of Attorney can be limited, amended to reflect changes in your circumstances, or may be revoked at any time by you. 
BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS IN BANKING, INSURANCE, RETIREMENT, ANNUITY, OR OTHER SIMILAR ACCOUNTS  DO NOT TAKE CARE OF ALL OF THE THINGS THAT A WELL-DRAFTED ESTATE PLAN DOES.  YOUR LIFE, HEALTH, AND OTHER DECISIONS SUCH AS WHERE OR WHO YOUR PROPERTY SHALL GO ARE ALL MATTERS UNAFFECTED BY MOST BANK AND INSURANCE BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS 
BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS MUST BE ADDRESSED PROPERLY, OR YOU RUN THE RISK OF NOT HAVING WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN YOUR ORIGINAL INTENT OCCUR 
 
Bank Accounts/Certificates of Deposit, Stock, Retirement Plans, IRA’s and other type Property:       
Similar to ownership of real estate, the same can be made of these investments.   In fact, many Banks routinely place Bank accounts and Certificates of Deposit in the "joint tenant with right of survivorship" form of ownership if more than one person is on the account or CD without advising you of the consequence of same. 
In situations where the persons are husband and wife and there is no issue or concern over divorce or children from previous marriages, this may be the best course of action.  However, with divorce on the rise, premarital agreements and multiple marriages being common, the parties may be doing something that was not their intent.  Another common problematic situation is where a parent has more than one child, intends that all children receive equal shares upon his/her death, but only one child resides in the hometown of the parent.  The parent, thinking that it is more convenient to do so, may place the name of the child who resides in the same town as s/he on accounts, CD’s, and other investments, and will establish a joint tenant with right of survivorship situation without realizing that only that child will be entitled to those assets at the parent’s death.   Simply put, you should be aware when you acquire an asset or investment exactly how it is titled.
With regard to being proactively responsible, rather than being ill-prepared or not prepared at all, we are ready for consultation with you in order to discuss and address needs you may have and to discuss responsibilities that you may not have realized were yours to be concerned about.
www.chargoislaw.com is ready to help you.  Call or e-mail for a FREE consultation regarding Estate Planning.
 
IS ESTATE PLANNING EXPENSIVE?
Estate Planning does not have to be expensive.  With regard to cost, www.chargoislaw.com employs a flat-fee pricing system. After your free consultation, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, your total cost will be known to you up front and shall remain at that flat fee rate. 
 
OUR FLAT FEE PRICING POLICY
 
Prices of Estate Planning services from www.chargoislaw.com are established on a "flat fee" basis.  After gathering sufficient facts from you to determine exactly what type of legal documents may be required to accomplish your goals you will receive a quote for a flat fee.
 
Sufficient information can usually be obtained through  a quick "no charge" telephone conversation or e-mail exchange. If you live in the Houston metropolitan area and would like to come visit and discuss Estate Planning, please call (832) 453-6226 and make an appointment.
 
No charges are imposed until and unless an attorney client relationship has been established.  Once you have paid your fee, we will begin preparing your documents.
 
www.chargoislaw.com is ready to help you.  Call or e-mail for a FREE consultation regarding Estate Planning.
 
Be responsible. For yourself, for your  family members, for your loved ones, and for the charities and/or organizations that you support or would like to support.
 
Contact us today via telephone or e-mail.
Telephone:  (832) 453-6226
                       
 
 
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Call or e-mail
THE LAW OFFICE OF KIRK A. CHARGOIS
 
Office: (832) 453-6226
 
 
 
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Personal Injury (Auto Accidents, Slip & Fall, Negligence of property owners, etc.)
  • Wrongful Death
  • Catastrophic Injury (Burns, Explosions) 
  • Divorce
  • Businesses (Contracts, Negotiations, etc.)
  • Sale and/or Transfer of Real Estate
  • Sale and/or Transfer of Personal Property
  • Property Disputes (Landlord-Tenant Disputes, Challenges to Title)
  • Property Tax Consulting
 
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Disclaimer:  This web site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to dispense legal or other professional advice. The transmission and receipt of information contained on the web site do not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon any conclusion you might draw from information on this web site without seeking professional legal counsel. To the extent there are external links on this web site, Kirk A. Chargois, and/or The Law Office of Kirk A. Chargois do not necessarily sponsor, endorse or otherwise approve of such linked materials. Unless expressly stated, the firm’s attorneys are not board certified.