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
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  • 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
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Professional Associations
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
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National Guardianship Association
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Texas State Bar # 24048146
- Current
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Austin Bar Association
- Current
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Speaking Engagements
Noncitizens and Public Benefits, 2020 UT Special Needs Trust Conference, Austin, Texas
University of Texas School of Law
Approved Guardianship Attorney
State Bar of Texas
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
732 Questions Answered

Q. Can one stipulate that property children inherit later be divided amongst their living siblings upon their death?
A: To do this you should leave it to them in trust, not outright.
Q. What do I do if uncle says I receive no inheritance from grandparents, doesn’t show me the will, and hasn’t filed it?
A: Hire a local probate lawyer to help you file an Application to Determine Heirship. If your father predeceased your grandparents, you and your siblings would inherit his share -- unless there is a Will which states otherwise.
Q. My mom passed away and she left me a large some of money, but my step dad says I have to wait until he dies? Why ?
A: Maybe he does not understand how the Texas rules of descent and distribution work. Contact a local probate attorney about probating the Will or filing an Application to Determine Heirship.
Q. My father died withoit a will in Louisiana in 06 my mother did a succession there are three living children one decease
A: If your mother has already filed a succession, aren't you too late?
Q. What are my rights to protect a 55 year old mentally and physically disabled brother?
A: There are only six legal reasons for discharge from a nursing home which accepts Medicare or Medicaid. The one this facility seems to be relying on is an allegation that he no longer needs nursing home care. Gather his medical records to show that this is not true. Also show why a discharge to a group home would be illegal as an "unsafe discharge." If you need an elder lawyer to back you up, you will find that there are several excellent elder lawyers in your area. Use the Find a Lawyer function on the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys ( Good luck!
Q. I am POA for senior parents. What is the liability for them & me if they get in an auto accident?
A: You are liable for negligence. Whether a jury will rule that you were negligent in continuing payments for car insurance and gas and not taking away the keys or disabling the car cannot be accurately predicted.
Q. parents died without a will, affidavit of heirship filed, how can deed be placed in younger sister's name if all agree?
A: Relying on the Affidavit of Heirship (which a court will not enforce until it has been of record for five years with no one complaining that they were omitted), each of the other siblings can sign a special warranty deed granting their interest in the property to the younger sister as a gift. They will want a lawyer to draft and record the deed to make sure that it is done correctly.
Q. If child 18 yrs died 4 1/2 months AFTER her father in TX, is she an heir equal to her 4 siblings and 2 step siblings?
A: Hire a local probate attorney and do this ASAP.
Q. I am 80 years old, what are the pros and cons of selling my home, putting the cash in the bank, and renting a home?
A: Given your age, this largely turns on (1) whether you are one of the over 70% of Texans who must apply for Medicaid to pay for long term care and (2) whether you are willing to enter a Medicaid nursing home in order to preserve the home for your spouse, child or whomever else you want to leave it to. Private pay only nursing homes probably provide better care. Paying for private care at home as long as you can probably provides for better care. The advice of most elder lawyers is likely that you earned the money and you should spend it on getting yourself the best care you can for as long as you can. If you can do that without selling your home but want to hedge against maybe someday needing Medicaid, talk with a local elder law attorney about recording a Lady Bird Deed to transfer the home on your death free of probate and free of Medicaid estate recovery. You can find one near you using the Find a Lawyer function on the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (
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Contact & Map
The Garrett Law Firm, PLLC
4408 Spicewood Springs Road
Austin, TX 78759
Telephone: (512) 800-2420
Fax: (512) 870-9260