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. (1983) | law
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
532 Questions Answered

Q. Uncle had land the county was foreclosing for unpaid taxes. He gifted to me I pd taxes since 2013 heir say 3/2017
A: If the deed properly stated who owned the property (which may have been the RLT or may have been your uncle), correctly described it and was properly recorded, the deed governs. All too many people create RLTs and do not properly fund them by recording a deed into an RLT. On the other hand, your uncle may have recorded a deed from him to the RLT and then a deed from him to you. Without seeing the documents, it is impossible to tell.
Q. I have a copy of a will from my husbands mother. Would like someone to read it. We know that she had demienta when she i
A: Talk to a local probate attorney. You can find one on Justia or by using the Find a Lawyer function on the State Bar of Texas website.
Q. My Mother died in Texas. Can her will be probated in Colorado?
A: A Will is probated where the person lived at the time of death or where they owned real property.
Q. How can I leave everything to my wife first but be sure it will be given equality to my adult children after her death?
A: Talk to a local estate planning lawyer about a QTIP trust (qualified terminable interest in property) and about a deed, signed by both you and your wife, leaving real property to your children after you are both gone (either a Lady Bird Deed or a Transfer on Death Deed).
Q. How can I find out about a property in my dad's will that I can't find any info about? All I know is the city.
A: The property should be listed in the county deed records of the county where it is located either under your father's name or that of his trust. Many county deed records are available online. If the stocks are listed in the list of property attached to the trust document, try contacting the brokerage firm.
Q. My mother has alzheimer and is living at my sister's house. My sister and I had a major argument and she kicked me out
A: On what grounds could your sister have you arrested? Would you be disturbing the peace or violating a no trespassing sign or a temporary restraining order? You might want to report your sister to Adult Protective Services. She does not have the right to control your mother's visitors: your mother does.
Q. I don't know what to do! No attorney and being sued. What do I do when I haven't even got into my late dad's bank????
A: If your father left no more than a home, $60,000 in personal goods and household effects and $75,000 in other assets (such as a car or bank accounts) you can file an Affidavit of Small Estate. The court filing fee ranges from about $300-350, varying with the county. If you file an Affidavit of Inability to Pay Court Costs and that is accepted, the filing fee will be waived. An Affidavit of Small Estate must be signed before a notary by all the heirs at law and by two people who will not inherit and can testify that these are the heirs and the only heirs. The assets must be specifically described. The heirs must promise to pay all the debts and to divide the remainder among them according to the Texas laws of descent and distribution. If the Affidavit of Small Estate is rejected, you do not get your filing fee back. Since so many are rejected because they are filled out or signed incorrectly or incompletely, it is probably worth your while to pay a lawyer to review and efile the Affidavit of Small Estate and death certificate for you. If you do not qualify for Volunteer Legal Services, you might see whether Lawyer Referral Services in your area offers discounted fees for people of modest means.
Q. If parents leave land to their two adult daughters in a trust, and one of the daughters who is married is divorced
A: While in Texas inheritance is always separate property, the language of the trust agreement determines whether the property in the trust, in addition to distributions to the daughter, is income and so is community property. If the daughter does not have a right to the property in the trust (the principal, also called the "corpus") except for health, education, maintenance or support (an ascertainable HEMS standard) and does not receive it, it remains the property of the trust, not of the daughter, and so cannot be reached by the husband. As indicated above, distributions to her as a beneficiary of the trust are "income" and so community property -- during the marriage.
Q. My wife passed away in 2004 and I did not probate her will which left everything to me.
A: In order to get her 50% community property interest into your name and be able to sell 100% of the condo, you need to probate her Will as a Muniment (defense) of Title. You must hire a local probate lawyer to do this.
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Contact & Map
The Garrett Law Firm, PLLC
4408 Spicewood Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78759
Telephone: (512) 800-2420
Fax: (512) 870-9260