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
554 Questions Answered

Q. We got an affidavit of heirship. Can we go back &have the will probated now? We have copy of original. Original lost.
A: A court will not enforce an Affidavit of Heirship until it has been recorded for five years with no one complaining that it is inaccurate. Probate the Will.
Q. How do name a person executor of my will/ estate according to Harris County, TX Probate laws. What Legal documents ?
A: The laws are the same throughout Texas. To make sure your Will does what you want, see an estate planning attorney. To make sure your Will does not get lost, deliver it to the probate court clerks.
Q. Do I need a lawyer for muniment of title? The estate is a car worth 3000.00 so I’m hoping i can do this myself. Thank
A: You do need a lawyer for a muniment of title but that is not the least expensive way to settle an estate in which the only asset is a car worth $3,000. Ask the DMV or a local probate lawyer for a form which the heirs can sign to transfer title. Failing that, you can file an Affidavit of Small Estate. It is wise to get a lawyer to look it over: in some counties over 90% are denied due to one inadvertent error or another.
Q. Does an affidavit of small estate have to be done through a lawyer or can i do that on my own?
A: While in many counties you can still do it on your own, it is probably worth your while to pay for an hour or so of a lawyer's time to get it done right. Depending on the county, 45-90+% are denied because they are completed incorrectly. If yours is, you will pay the filing fee twice plus pay the lawyer for the second attempt.
Q. Mom passed 2 yrs ago. Her bank will not allow us the money in her account with her death certificate even though my brot
A: You may be able to file an Affidavit of Small Estate at less than half the cost of a full probate. Discuss your mother's property with a local probate lawyer. Powers of attorney become ineffective when the person who granted them dies.
Q. What is the procedure for filing for judicial revocation of power of attorney in Bastrop County Texas?
A: Throughout Texas the signer of a Durable Power of Attorney (your mother) can revoke it by giving notice to everyone to whom it might be presented and, if it involves real estate, record the revocation in the deed records of the county where the real estate is located. That can be ineffective if notice is not given to someone and the agent under the Durable Power of Attorney presents it to them. Courts generally "revoke" a Durable Power of Attorney by appointing a guardian. If someone lacked legal capacity to sign a Durable Power of Attorney or lacks legal capacity now and the agent is robbing them, someone can file a guardianship application with the Bastrop County Court. Someone who has been convicted of a felony but had their rights restored may be able to serve as a guardian. If there is no family member willing and able, Family Eldercare, a Central Texas non-profit, will act as guardian of the estate, trumping the agent under the Durable Power of Attorney, and guardian of the person, trumping the Medical Power of Attorney. Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas has Approved Guardianship Attorneys (special certification is required by law) who represent guardianship applicants for free. People who cannot afford court fees can file an Affidavit and, if it is approved, those are waived. A social worker, lawyer or anyone else who is concerned about a person's well-being can file a Court-Initiated Guardianship Information Letter. The Court will appoint an attorney (a guardian ad litem) to investigate to determine whether a guardianship might be necessary. If so, the Court will contact Family Eldercare, appoint an attorney to represent your mother (attorney ad litem) and hold a hearing. If the Court appoints a guardian of the estate, the Durable Power of Attorney automatically becomes invalid. If the Court appoints a guardian of the person, the Medical Power of Attorney automatically becomes invalid.
Q. Can a trust stand in my place to collect from a will if I die before the person with the will passes on?
A: No. If you die before your father, your legacy will pass under his Will. Wills typically provide that that legacy will pass to your children or, if none, to your siblings.
Q. My husband died recently, does his grown children have a right to claim part of his estate?
A: If your husband left a Will, his Will governs except for assets on which there was a designated beneficiary (such as life insurance, a 401k or IRA or a pay on death or joint with right of survivorship bank account). If your husband did not leave a Will, the Texas laws of descent and distribution govern (again, except for assets on which there was a designated beneficiary) . If he has children who are not also your children, they are entitled to part of his estate. However, you have the right to live in the home for life whether it was jointly owned or separate property. You can get an idea of how things will be divided by looking at the pie charts on the Travis County Probate Court website. Talk to a local probate attorney about whether you can settle your husband's estate with an Affidavit of Heirship, an Affidavit of Small Estate or an Application to Determine Heirship and Issue Letters of Independent Administration.
Q. Does my sister have to sign form also for small estate to and get it notarize also if she over seas and sent back to me
A: Every heir must sign before a notary public. U.S. consulates provide this service.
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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