Law Offices of John C. Arneson




Probate in Texas can be a relatively simple process, depending on the type of estate planning that has been done. If there was a valid Will prepared and signed by the person, then usually all that is required is a hearing to “prove-up” the Will in court, get the executor/rix appointed and qualified and then that person can go ahead and administer the estate without having to go to court for authority. All this is required in the court proceeding, after the hearing, is for the executor to file and get approved an Inventory and to send certain required notices to the people named in the Will. From then on, the executor is free from the court’s supervision.

Of course, if there is no Will, then the probate process can be much more difficult, time consuming and costly. All the actions of the administrator must be pre-approved by the court including classification and payment of debts, determination of the heirs and, finally, distribution of the assets of the estate. Another important consideration if there is no Will is that normally the court will require to posting of a bond, so the administrator must be able to comply with that requirement.




The process of Estate Planning encompasses looking at the financial situation of the client and then determining what the client wants done with his/her property.

For the present, there is an exemption of $5 million per person from the Federal Estate Tax and for a couple, that is a total of $10 million. Currently there is no state estate tax in Texas. In addition, that exemption of $5 million can also be used as a gift tax exemption. However, this may change as of January 1, 2013, unless Congress and the President acts to extend this exemption.

If the client has less than the exempt amount, then the process is mainly one of determining who and where the estate is to pass. If the client has more that the exempt amount, then that tax must be taken into account by using various trusts and other devices to minimize the effect of the tax.

Typically, the estate plan consists of a Will and various other documents including powers of attorney, both medical and financial, and others such as a living will, designation of guardians and even do not resuscitate documents.
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Every adult is assumed to be capable of making decisions for himself/herself. However, if that is not the case, a guardianship may be necessary. If it is necessary to seek a guardianship over someone, in Texas a doctor must first certify that the person cannot take care of him/herself or handle his/her money and other assets. The court then will appoint an attorney to represent the person. If the court agrees that a guardianship is necessary, then the court will appoint the guardian for either the person or his/her estate or both. The guardian can be the person’s spouse, or other family member or a private or no-profit agency. The guardian has reports that will have to be filed yearly and is subject to the court’s supervision. As can been seen, a guardianship is expensive and time consuming.

One important way to avoid guardianship is to have powers of attorney for both the person and the estate. This way, if a person gets to the point that he/she cannot handle finances or his/her personal needs, then the person named in the power of attorney can take over, without having to go to court.
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The area of practice of Elder law has become important in the last number of years because so many people are living longer. This area includes powers of attorney, estate planning, long term care planning, Medicaid planning, Medicare, nursing home issues, retirement planning, Social Security and Veteran’s benefits.

Powers of attorney are important to avoid the necessity of guardianships. Medicaid planning can be very instrumental in providing for government services that couldn’t be obtained any other way. Medicare is a government provided benefit that is available to all persons age 65. Social Security is another government program that has many provisions for persons who qualify.

The other Elder law issues involve planning for the best use of the person’s resources for his/her benefit and includes the use of wills, trusts and other devises.
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The Law Offices of John C. Arneson are ready to handle any type of lawsuit in all counties located in the North Texas area. These suits usually include contractual disputes of all kinds, corporate suits and other matters involving wrongs suffered by the clients. Our firm is ready to handle any type of litigation that may arise.
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Real Estate includes the preparation of documents including Warranty Deeds, Deeds of Trust, Promissory Notes, and all other miscellaneous documents included in the sale and purchase of real estate. Also included in this is representation of lenders in foreclosures.

In Texas, when a person purchases land, typically there is a Deed, a Note and a Deed of Trust. The Deed of Trust is called a mortgage in other states. In Texas, the Deed of Trust is the document that the lender uses to impose a lien on the property until the lender is fully paid. It is also the document that is used if the lender has to take the property back.

The Law Offices of John C. Arneson is ready to handle any type of real estate transaction that you may have including representation in closings, contractual disputes, landlord/tenant disputes and other matters that involve real estate.
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The Law Offices of John C. Arneson will handle any collection matter you may have including lawsuits to collect promissory notes, foreclosures of all kinds, and representation in bankruptcy matters.
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Client Testimonial

"Since 1981 my late wife and I have had a continuous relationship with John. John has always handled our matters in a prompt, cooperative and professional manner. My latest contact with John was the filing of probate upon my wife’s death and he was most informative about the details and handled the probate quickly and in a manner that could not have been surpassed. I do not hesitate to recommend John for any legal matters which might arise."

- Bill R. Andis

Contact John C. Arneson

1701 W. Northwest Hwy.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
(817) 305-0607
Facsimile: (817) 305-0604