Dear Stevie-

My dad passed away on July 1, 2021. Mom doesn’t have a will or any type of certification to ensure that her loved ones can take care of her and make the right decisions.

In my experience trying to connect with someone to fill out a Living will, power of medical Attorney and those other important decisions have been extremely expensive.

Can you share any information on how we can get this accomplished without costing us several thousand dollars?

Is this something I can help mom do through a notary?

Mary Ann--

First, I am sorry for your loss.

Second, during times of loss you realize how much you didn't even know to prepare for. There are actually several simple things your mother (and you. and you. and you.) can do to make the loss of a parent easier to get through.

Third, while I always recommend discussing a will with an attorney because sometimes estates are incredibly tricky to navigate, here are several things you should look into doing:

•Create an Advance Directive. An advance directive is a legal document that explains how you want medical decisions about you to be made if you cannot make the decisions yourself. An advance directive lets your health care team and loved ones know what kind of health care you want, or who you want to make decisions for you when you can't. You can find one that is used in Texas here:

•Complete a Medical Power of Attorney. A Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) is a legal document that allows elderly individuals to appoint another person to make healthcare decisions on their behalf. The Medical POA cannot be used to allow someone to make financial decisions. You can find one here:

•Execute a Transfer Upon Death Deed. A Texas TOD deed form is a special type of deed form that transfers property to designated beneficiaries upon an owner's death. It works much like a transfer-on-death designation on a bank account. A transfer-on-death deed identifies beneficiaries who will inherit the real estate at death. You can find a TOD deed form here:

For further information on Probate and Will matters in Texas, please see this guide, created by The Texas Young Lawyer's Association:

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