Terry Lynn Garrett

Terry Lynn Garrett

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  • Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate
  • New York, Texas
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Rating: 10 Justia Lawyer Rating - 10 out of 10
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
617 Questions Answered

Q. My Mom was in the nursing home, and was on medicaid for all but 2 months, that was not covered.
A: No. The bill is your mother's bill and the bill of her estate. There may be a problem if the nursing home got someone to sign your mother in as "personal representative" : that makes them personally responsible for her bill. Although the practice is illegal, it is widespread. If this has happened, contact an elder law attorney. You can use the Find a Lawyer function on the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (
Q. I am a beneficiary of an Irrevocle trust. I've had one distribution so far of $10k about a month ago. My uncle is trusT
A: You can explain the situation to your uncle. Depending on the terms of the trust instrument, he may or may not be able to make a distribution. A beneficiary can request a distribution but has no right to one.
Q. How can someone find out about custodial accounts and stocks a recently deceased relative had bought for them?
A: The accounts to which you refer likely pass outside the Will. Once a Will is submitted for probate, it becomes a public document. In many counties these are available online at the website of the probate court or county court at law.
Q. Texas: Father died in Mar, in Oct transf deed to my bro w/o telling my mom. Mom is not on the deed. What can she do?
A: If the property was acquired during marriage, your father can only transfer his 50% community property interest -- subject to your mother's right to remain in the home for life. People who pay taxes on real property have a claim against the estate and should file this in the probate court. Paying taxes does not give an ownership right.
Q. I would like or sell my townhome to my daughter and remain in the home. What are the issues?
A: If you sell your home to your daughter, she, not you, will be entitled to the homeowner's exemption. Unless she is 65 or older, the elderly person's exemption will be lost. She could kick you out. She could lose the home to creditors or predators and they could kick you out.
Q. My brother passed in TX. No will, no spouse, adult children. Estate valued -$3k. How do I avoid probate?
A: Talk to a local probate lawyer about filing an Affidavit of Small Estate. No hearing is required.
Q. Can I amend my homestead title deed, under my name, to say that the down payment was made with my separate asset? How?
A: You and your spouse can each have an attorney represent you in a marital property agreement which specifies this.
Q. My Husband Inherited Property, Continued... Would my Mother-in-law be the rightful owner of her late-Husband's
A: Divorce cuts off the right to inherit in Texas. If your mother-in-law was divorced from the decedent, she could not inherit from him (absent a specific provision for her in his Will) and so cannot sell whatever he left to your husband.
Q. What can we do if the Lawyer we have is not responding to our calls/emails
A: You can fire your lawyer. First get another lawyer to substitute in.
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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