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
418 Questions Answered

Q. My grandfather had a Will and he only named 2 executors. We started the Probate process and now neither of them want to
A: Talk to the probate lawyer. Some judges are more open to this than others, who may require death certificates, evidence of imprisonment or psychiatric hospitalization or inability to leave the house. The person who appointed an executor relied on that executor, not someone else.
Q. My Mom's death insurance beneficiary was my deceased sister who died six months prior. How do I file a cliam her estate?
A: Before anyone can file a claim on an estate, the estate must be admitted to probate.
Q. What practice area of lawyer would I need to help with our family issue: My sister is terminally ill with no insurance
A: Search for "Approved Guardianship Attorney" on the State Bar of Texas website. Hire one in your area (many also practice in counties adjacent to that in which they are registered). Have a Physician's Certificate of Medical Examination completed (available on the Travis County Probate Court website). Apply to become the guardian of your sister's estate. If she lacks legal capacity, you can be appointed, post a bond and sell her property to pay for her care. If she does not lack legal capacity, ask her to sign a Durable Power of Attorney before a notary, record it in the county deed records and sell her property.
Q. Could I have the right to appeal if hours of support we're not enough?
A: I am very sorry that home health care is so limited. Because it is, people like your mother who cannot pay privately for care 24/7 wind up in a nursing home, usually qualifying financially for Medicaid within six months. Talk with her physician about both the severity of her dementia and whether he thinks she is able to perform all six of the "activities of daily living" without "substantial assistance."
Q. Mom is in temp rehab. My sister says if i want hot water i need to pay for it. Why she has poa over mom the house etc
A: Whether your sister has the right to require you to pay utilities depends on when the DPOA takes effect and what it says. You might do well to get a written lease and apply to your city for low income heat and and power assistance (LIHEAP).
Q. Nothing is mentioned in either will that siblings got anything. His will to me left me everything. His will from his
A: It is not clear what you question is. A valid Will governs -- but must be submitted to the probate court to be effective.
Q. Both my parents have been on Nursing home medicaid for 8 months and still own a home. What will happen if they sell it.
A: In Texas the home is exempt as long as one states that one has an intent to return. Not so the proceeds from selling it. It is also hard to claim an intent to return to a home one has never lived in. Whether your parents contemplate the "half a loaf" approach you suggest or a lease which would require the tenant to pay all expenses (families usually wind up paying the property tax), they should consult with an elder lawyer to make sure that it is done right. For one in your area, trying the Find a Lawyer function on the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (
Q. My husband died in Jan 2016 and left everything to me. In Dec 2017 his sister died and left my husband in her will.Mine?
A: Probably not. It depends on what the Will says. Wills usually leave things to the siblings or the children of someone who predeceases the testator.
Q. Do I need a lawyer to probate I'm the father of my daughter if both her and mother passed?
A: The insurance company is not likely to pay you the insurance unless you receive a judge's Order in either an Affidavit of Small Estate or a Determination of Heirship and Issuance of Letters of Administration. You may be able to file an Affidavit of Inability to Pay Costs to get the court costs waived. You may be eligible for free legal representation through the local Volunteer Legal Services or for "modest means" representation through the local Lawyers Referral Service.
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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