Terry Lynn Garrett

Terry Lynn Garrett

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  • Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate
  • New York, Texas
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Terry Garrett advises people in Central Texas who are preparing for and enjoying their retirement years and people with special needs and their families. Her clients range from couples who are just starting out and people who want to stay in charge during retirement to families with multinational businesses. Having worked and studied in Asia for many years, she also enjoys advising on transnational planning. Terry Garrett graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean's List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Melon Fellowship. She attended the Harvard Law School Negotiation Program and earned every certificate offered by the New York Institute of Finance. She is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations and a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She is an Approved Guardianship Attorney and is appointed by Central Texas courts in heirship proceedings. She handles pro bono cases for Volunteer Legal Services, the Austin Bar Association and the Women's Resource Fair. Mother of a child with special needs, she also teaches for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Over the years she has volunteered for the Council on Adoptable Children, the AFS foreign exchange student program, Cornell Cares, Hands on Housing and as an officer of the Harmony PTO.

Practice Areas
  • Estate Planning
  • Elder Law
  • Probate
Additional Practice Area
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
New York
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
Professional Experience
The Garrett Law Firm, PLLC
Columbia University
J.D. / law (1983)
Honors: Parker Award, Mellon Fellowship
Activities: President, International Law Society; International Law Review, Environmental Law Review; Chinese and Japanese law study groups
Professional Associations
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
Texas State Bar # 24048146
- Current
Austin Bar Association
- Current
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
160 Questions Answered

Q. Dad's will in PA, mom died in Fl having not done anything with will in 20 years. Does it get distributed in PA to sons?
A: Estates are properly probated in the order in which people died and in the place where they died or held real property. If someone died without a Will, the estate is administered in an heirship proceeding. Contact a local probate attorney in the county in which the first of your parents to die passed and go from there.
Q. Mom is administrator to her cousins estate. Ad Litem can't locate 2 other heirs after almost 2 years. What happens now?
A: The executor can hire a private investigator or, if the executor is indigent, the attorney ad litem can ask the court to appoint one. Whether one is appointed and whether the missing heirs' portions are to be paid into the Court's registry pending their discovery is a decision for the judge.
Q. I am not the executor of my dad's will, he died in April, where can I get a copy of his will?
A: Any Will submitted for probate is a public document. Look online at the records of the probate or county court where your father died or owned real property. A person in possession of a Will is supposed to present it within 30 days, though many people, in their grief, take longer. Destroying or withholding a Will is a felony in Texas.
Q. Beneficiary will not record deed. Can co-executors execute and record another deed so prop records show correct owner?
A: While the Texas Probate System provides an Executor's Deed, some probate attorneys record the Will and Order admitting it to probate instead. This should give the name, if not the address, of the beneficiary to whom the real property was devised. Ask the probate attorney is this was done.
Q. My spouse died without a will, he has children from a prior marriage, he gave up his parental rights to 3 of them
A: As your probate attorney will tell you, you cannot simply put the house in your name. But Texas Rules of Descent clearly state who gets what percentage and that the surviving spouse has the right to live in the home for life.
Q. Mom is the last sibling living. My grandmothers estate should go to her. My cousins went behind her back & changed deed.
A: If the estate was never probated, your cousins may have transferred title by filing an Affidavit of Heirship. Texas courts only enforce an Affidavit of Heirship if it has been on file as a public record for five years and no one has objected. If it has been less than five years, you may have recourse.
Q. If my grandma signed an arbitration agreement with her nursing home but didn't understand it due to dementia, could that
A: It depends on the degree of her dementia. In the early stages some people are still capable of understanding a contract. Please discuss this with a nursing home litigator. You might find one by doing an internet search or using the Find a Lawyer function on the website of the National Academy of Elder Lawyers.
Q. My husbands mother died in Arkansas in 2012 & we live in texas. How do we get named executor to get the life insurance
A: If the life insurance policy named a beneficiary, that beneficiary may only need a death certificate. If it named no beneficiary or named the estate, contact a probate lawyer in the county where she died or held real property and apply to probate her estate.
Q. The property is in his name. My brother lives alone and he is the veteran with angiosarcoma cancer. He has no medical in
A: The VA does not recover property to compensate itself for benefits paid. Medicaid does, if there is no "Lady Bird" or Transfer on Death Deed, but there are several exceptions. Consult a local elder law attorney.
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Contact & Map
The Garrett Law Firm, PLLC
4408 Spicewood Springs, Suite 413
Austin, TX 78759
Telephone: (512) 800-2420
Fax: (512) 870-9260