TEXAS REAL ESTATE LAW – ASSET PROTECTION & ANONYMITY –
TEXAS & NEVADA SERIES LLC’s – LAND TRUSTS & LIVING TRUSTS
This website is a service of DAVID J. WILLIS ATTORNEY AND REAL ESTATE BROKER, a Texas law firm founded in 1980. Its purpose is to provide high-quality online legal services relating to Texas real estate and business law with an additional focus on asset protection. We provide documents and services to anyone buying, selling, leasing, or investing in residential or commercial Texas real estate. These range from a simple warranty deed to complex and creative transactional documentation. Strategic planning and investment structuring utilizing Texas LLCs and Nevada LLCs, as well as creative devices such as trusts and anonymity techniques, are also offered.
David J. Willis is a double board-certified Texas lawyer on the cutting edge of the intersection of real estate law and asset protection, particularly in his use of series LLCs for investor clients with multiple properties. The range of available services is reflected in our legal articles in the column to the left. These offer up-to-date analysis and guidance that could cost thousands elsewhere and are offered as our equivalent of a free consultation.
Our clients are businesspersons and investors in Texas properties who reside around the globe – literally from Singapore to San Antonio to Spain – so we operate in multiple time zones. Accordingly, emails are given absolute priority over phone calls and are answered promptly.
UNIQUE ONLINE PROCESS
Initial inquiries and consultations are handled online and, after an email discussion of the issues, may be supplemented by phone if needed. All new cases are reviewed and accepted at Contact Us. No new cases are discussed on the phone or accepted by phone. Our process:
In-office appointments in The Woodlands are available in selected complex cases only and incur significantly higher fees ($500 minimum) than the online fees shown on this website. Location.
(1) Please read our web article pertaining to your legal issue to learn applicable law and then send us a concise email using the Client Inquiry Form at Contact Us.
(2) We will promptly respond with brief comments (not a full consult), a confirmation that we handle your type of case, and a fee quote if you are seeking something other than a consultation. Otherwise, consults are $150 for residential and $250 for commercial.
(3) Go to Make Payment and cover the consult fee or other fee we have quoted, then send us an email with a description of your circumstances and a list of questions.
(4) We will need to see any documents relevant to your case. Email or fax these after making payment (not before please, since we will not have yet set up your file).
(5) We will analyze your case, discuss it with you in a dialogue format, offer options, and/or deliver draft documents, as appropriate. It is not necessary to set a specific appointment time unless we agree to supplement email with a phone conversation.
(6) Our goal is a one business day turnaround whenever possible. Reasonable follow-up questions and document changes are included within the immediate time frame (3 days).
REAL ESTATE LAW PLUS ASSET PROTECTION
We form LLCs in Texas and Nevada (our preferred asset protection states) to achieve operational efficiency as well as liability protection, anonymity, deterrence of lawsuits, and insulation from judgments. We often recommend the new series LLC which compartmentalizes assets and liabilities into Series A, Series B, etc., so the same company may safely hold multiple properties or businesses without risk of spillover liability. To date, we have likely formed more series LLCs than any other law firm in Texas. Read our article Asset Protection in Texas.
Many clients arrive with many entities woven together in complex and confusing ways. We often succeed in reducing these structures down to two LLCs – a shell management company (either a traditional or series LLC) that conducts daily business alongside a separate holding company (a series LLC) that quietly stays in the background and owns the hard assets. Anonymity techniques are encouraged whenever possible. For a compact outline, view three levels of asset protection as well as our asset protection diagram.
We have a limited inventory of established Texas and Nevada shelf companies that include our best anonymity and asset protection features. These premium LLCs are ready for immediate shipment to clients for whom time is a critical factor.
Wraparounds, assumptions, "subject to" sales, owner financing, land trusts, options, and other creative transactions are a specialty of ours – even though availability of certain of these devices is limited by 2005 changes to the Texas Property Code affecting executory contracts. We send transactional documentation to our buyer, seller, and investor clients wherever in the world they may be located.
Living trusts avoid probate while preserving homestead protections and lower ad valorem tax status. A living trust (combined with a pour-over will) should be considered as part of most estate plans and as an adjunct to asset protection planning. We also offer a unique and creative method by which a living trust simultaneously controls an investor’s LLC. Read Living Trusts in Texas.
Asset protection includes removal of judgment liens from the homestead. This can be challenging but has been made easier by the new statutory affidavit procedure (Property Code Sec. 52.0012c) for liens abstracted after September 2007. $950 handled exclusively online. Read Lien Removal in Texas.
QUALIFICATIONS, ETHICS, AND CONFIDENTIALITY
30 years experience in Texas transactions and litigation
– Residential Real Estate Law, TBLS
– Commercial Real Estate Law, TBLS
for ethical standards and professional ability
Two law degrees (J.D. and LL.M.)
Former adjunct law professor
Texas real estate broker
Listed as one of Texas’ Top-Rated Lawyers by Law.com
Verify these credentials
Adherence to high ethical and performance standards is part of our firm philosophy. We subscribe to The Texas Lawyer’s Creed and the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors. Our clients’ confidentiality is paramount. Even so, we are occasionally asked for a client list. This is never provided. We would no more reveal the identity of our clients than would a Swiss bank.
FEES AND COSTS
We strive for complete transparency as to legal fees, which are usually quoted in the form of flat fees (plus costs) rather than hourly rates (Fees & Policies). Unfortunately, online demand makes it impossible to offer free consultations or free attorney time of any kind. Online fees for entry-level services include:
Online Real Estate/Business Law Consult $150 (residential) and $250 (commercial). We need to see your documentation to effectively advise you.
Online Asset Protection Review (APR). $250. The APR is an analysis of your circumstances with recommendations for a suitable asset protection structure. It takes place in a dialogue format rather than a formal report.
Although we have internet presence and capability, this is not a discount law firm. Neither free consults nor other free attorney time is available.
ANNUAL DOCUMENT REVIEW (ADR)
Our documents and asset protection strategies are continually evolving and innovating. The ADR is offered for clients who have asked us to prepare documents in the prior year. The purpose of the ADR is to (1) make sure that the client has the latest version of each document in the client’s package; and (2) in the case of LLCs, to prepare minutes for the annual meeting. Fees are $250.
COMPARISON TO OTHER ONLINE SOURCES
We are occasionally compared to Legalzoom, investor "guru" websites, or other online sources. We are not enthusiastic about this comparison since we spend considerable time re-writing non-lawyer internet junk that has caused more harm than benefit to our clients. By contrast, this firm offers custom documents on a per-transaction basis at a high level of expertise.
LoneStarLandLaw serves real estate and business clients worldwide. Our principal office is in the Houston area. David J. Willis is a Texas real estate attorney serving Houston, The Woodlands, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Midland, El Paso, and all areas of Texas. David J. Willis is also a Texas asset protection attorney for anyone who owns real estate or business interests in Texas and is considering forming a Texas series LLC or a Nevada series LLC as part of an asset protection plan.
RESULT: SEPARATION OF ASSETS FROM ACTIVITIES