The Law Office of Jo Ann Bui Leslie
Joan Leslie*

* Board Certified, Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Specializing in Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning, 
Guardianship, and Probate & Estate Administration

Office Visits By Appointment Only: Dallas, Texas 75206


Estate Planning for Untraditional Families


What happens if I have a "blended" family (e.g., including second, third, etc. marriages, children from previous marriages, half- children/siblings, step-children/siblings, etc.?

The Texas law does not look favorably on these "blended" families if you die or become incapacitated with no planning documents in place.  In fact,  these pre-arranged plans at death can be much more cumbersome than you realize but you can plan ahead to avoid this. 



What happens if I have a long-term boyfriend/ girl-friend and we are not yet married or do not want to get married due to religious or other reasons but I consider that person my family and want them to inherit and/or take care of me in the event I am incapacitated?

The Texas law does provide for "common-law" marriages in some instances but the facts and details surrounding this are very specific and additionally,  are not always easy or possible to prove in the event of incapacity. It can also leave family contests that can be deflected if you state your wishes ahead of time.   

What happens if me and my life-partner cannot legally marry in Texas,  even though we want to?

Because the laws of the State of Texas do not allow GLBT couples to legally marry,  the law does not allow you and your partner the opportunity to get certain priority of right treatment that it statutorily reserves for "spouses".  Because this is an unfortunate gap in the reality of our world,  I hope that the content on this page will serve to educate you about your rights in regards to wills and disability planning and how you can be active and incorporate the proper legal planning into your life so that when you die and/or in the event of you become incapacitated, that your partner has the legal rights they deserve. 


By having the proper documentation in place, you are protecting yourself by allowing the persons of your own choosing a position of priority if you are to become incapacitated and thus allowing them to act on your behalf, if you are ever in a medical emergency and/or if you become incapacitated from such an event.  It is important to think about your medical decisions and financial decisions and who will have the right to take care of these things if incapacity happens to you. Additionally, when you die the law gives favorable treatment to certain persons and without written declarations,  your chosen person(s), in many of the above situations, will not be given any priorities.  This includes the right to bury or cremate you if another person of priority steps in to act and carry out such actions under their statutory "prioritized" right. 



This page is still a work in progress and is currently being updated.  If the above information impacts your life,  please call me and I'd be happy to discuss some of these issues with you further and let you know how I can help you to protect against these issues