Terry Lynn Garrett

Terry Lynn Garrett

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  • Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate
  • New York, Texas
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Terry is a strong client advocate and passionate for helping her clients and others in the legal community.
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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
National Guardianship Association
Texas State Bar # 24048146
- Current
Austin Bar Association
- Current
Approved Guardianship Attorney
State Bar of Texas
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
575 Questions Answered

Q. Who has the right of inheritance if no will and only survivors are maternal cousins or deceased spouse niece?
A: If there no spouse, parents, children or siblings survive, uncles and aunts and then first cousins by blood (not marriage) will inherit. In the right circumstances, even second cousins can inherit, as can those further removed. Ask a Texas attorney to file an Application for Determination of Heirship and Issuance of Letters of Administration.
Q. My grandmother doesn't take good care of her dog. If I take the dog home with me one day, could she sue me?
A: In theory, yes. But could she recover? Are you preventing the dog from being taken away by the ASPCA?
Q. Should my mother gift her home to a family member prior to going to a nursing home?
A: NO! Medicaid has a five year look back period. Transfers for less than fair market value (which a gift always is) are presumed to be transfers in an attempt to qualify for Medicaid and will result in a penalty period during which Medicaid will not pay for your mother's care. The penalty period could be several months to several years, depending on the value of the home. In Texas, as long as your mother checks a box on the Medicaid application saying that she has an intent to return home (who doesn't?), her home will not among the "countable assets" in determining her Medicaid eligibility. In Texas, if she signs a Transfer on Death Deed or a Lady Bird Deed and records it in the county clerk's deed records, her home will transfer on death to whomever she names free of Medicaid Estate Recovery. (If she cannot sign, her agent under a Durable Power of Attorney can sign a Lady Bird Deed, but not a Transfer on Death Deed, for her.)
Q. Can a family member have power of attorney over an estate if they have a felony charge on their record?
A: A Power of Attorney becomes ineffective when the person who granted it dies: you cannot act as agent for someone who, being dead, cannot give you directions. No one can use a Power of Attorney to handle an estate. An executor or administrator must be appointed by the court to handle it. That person can be a felon IF all their rights have been restored. Someone can appoint a person with a felony conviction to be their agent under a Power of Attorney while they are alive. Today a bank or other third party may request a certificate or a lawyer's letter before accepting the Power of Attorney. Whether this might pose a problem depends on facts and circumstances.
Q. When a relative has guardianship over an incapacitated elder US citizen. What is the jurisdiction regarding US assets
A: If the assets are real property, the courts of the state where they are located have jurisdiction.
Q. My mother died without a will in the state of TX , by law what do my siblings and I have the right to inherit?
A: Hire a local probate attorney to file an Application to Determine Heirship and Issue Letters of Independent Administration. As children of another relationship, you are entitled to your mother's 50% community property share. What else will flow to you depends on what it is. It does not matter which member of the marital property paid for something during the marriage. Be aware, however, that your stepfather has a right to remain in the home for life regardless of who bought it or when.
Q. My son passed away 10/23 and had no will but his wife is refusing to give his class ring to me to hold for his children,
A: While you can apply to administer his estate, his spouse and, if they are children of another relationship, must file agreeing to allow you to administer it independent of court supervision. From your description, this does not sound likely. In addition, if any of the children is a minor, the court may well require a dependent administration, one in which every step requires prior court approval. This gets expensive. But it may be the only way for your to be reimbursed. Please discuss the details with a local probate attorney.
Q. My parents died. Fa had no will, no will 2 me. Her will probated title com say heirs have 2 sign fa portion 2 me.
A: Hire a local probate lawyer to file a suit for partition. If no one can buy everyone else out, the property must be sold. Everyone will then get their share in money.
Q. What will happen if I take my deceased mother’s will to the judge for probated 11 years after her death?
A: The Will can now only be accepted for probate to pass title. This is called a "Muniment (defense) of Title." Hire a local probate attorney.
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Contact & Map
The Garrett Law Firm, PLLC
4408 Spicewood Springs Road
Austin, TX 78759
Toll-Free: (800) 295-3449
Telephone: (512) 800-2420
Fax: (512) 870-9260