Terry Lynn Garrett

Terry Lynn Garrett

Unlock Your Future
  • Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate
  • New York, Texas
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ALII GoldSocial Media

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. / law (1983)
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
214 Questions Answered

Q. Is husband required to leave something to his wife and child if he was sole provider of household? She took care of him?
A: While former English colonies along the East Coast retain the 1/3rd widow's share if there is no Will, the general rule throughout the US (unlike Europe) is that there is no forced distribution. People can will their property however they like. In Texas, if there is no Will, Texas rules of descent and distribution govern. See the chart on the website of the Travis County Probate Court.
Q. Mississippi will probated in the state of Texas does mississippi law about spouses in will still apply in Texas
A: While Texas rules of descent and distribution apply to property in an heirship (no Will) proceeding, Texas law allows people to Will their property however they like.
Q. Can a Texas lawyer probate a will from Mississippi?
A: If (1) the person who wrote the Will died in or had real property in Texas and (2) the Will was valid under the laws of the other state, it can be probated in Texas.
Q. My dad passed away and did not leave a will or anything. He didn't have much so not sure what my next step is. Probate??
A: Yes, hire a local probate lawyer. Since your father left no Will and apparently died single, you and any siblings will have to be declared his heirs in a heirship proceeding. You can then administer his estate. Keep in mind that if the retirement accounts designate a beneficiary, they pass to that beneficiary. Probate attorneys use various databases and sometimes hire specialized private investigators to find missing heirs and beneficiaries.
Q. my children are the benifericary of my parents estate who willed their home and land to them. My sister was left trustee
A: A Will means nothing until a court accepts it for probate. Hire a local probate lawyer.
Q. My mother recently passed & had a will naming me as beneficiary. Life insurance, 401k, and joint bank naming me.
A: If there is a Will, you must submit it for probate. The creditors can submit their claims and you can reject them based on there being no money (if that is the case). Hire a local probate lawyer to assist you.
Q. My mother in laws brother passed away a few months ago, and left no estate, no will, nothing of that nature.
A: The bank probably will not allow that withour either (a) a court order approving an Affidavit of Small Estate signed by all the heirs or (b) a court order determining the heirs and appointing an estate administrator. An Affidavit of Small Estate can be filed by the heirs if there is no will and if the person left no debts other than those secured by real estate, a homestead, up to $60,000 in personal property and household goods and up to $75,000 in other property. You may find the form at you county court or on the website of the Travis County Probate Court.
Q. Do you necessarily need to probate your will? What do it provide in your interest?
A: A will has no legal effect until a court accepts it for probate and issues letters testamentary.
Q. Can the heirs ask/require the executor of an estate to provide for an accounting of the estate?
A: In Texas beneficiaries under a Will are entitled to demand an accounting from the Executor 18 months after the Court has issued Letters Testamentary. Please note that a life insurance policy or retirement account designating beneficiaries, a pay-on-death bank account or transfer-on-death brokerage account are not part of the probate estate for which the Executor must account.
Click here to see all answers
Social Media
Contact & Map
The Garrett Law Firm, PLLC
4408 Spicewood Springs, Suite 413
Austin, TX 78759
Telephone: (512) 800-2420
Fax: (512) 870-9260