Real Estate Law

The practice of real estate law involves a varied and often highly complex set of activities centering on sales and acquisitions, title, land use, environmental, development, leasing, finance, joint ventures, restructuring and workouts, and litigation.  To meet these needs I offer clients services in the following areas:

- Sales and Acquisitions. The representation of buyers and sellers in the acquisition and disposition of the various kinds of real estate including office buildings, retail centers, industrial properties, and residential properties.

- Title. The examination of title to real estate, evaluation of title exceptions and negotiation of title insurance policies.

- Leasing. The negotiation and preparation of office, retail and industrial leases and long-term ground leases.

- Finance. The representation of lenders and borrowers in real estate secured loan originations, loan sales and purchases, and other debt arrangements, including permanent financing and construction loans.

- Restructuring and Workouts. Not all real estate transactions are successful. Real estate lawyers must be in position to advise clients, partners, landlords, tenants and developers when a transaction goes bad.


Business Organizations

(including LLCs, Corporations, and Partnerships)

Business organizations is a broad area of legal services representing business enterprises of all sizes and those who create them.  Legal advice is often required on a variety of topics, including the choice of business entity, process of formation, type of governance, nature of ownership, operational matters, combinations, acquisitions, dispositions and dissolutions of such entities. Lawyers who practice in this area often need to be well-versed in many legal disciplines, which may include tax, corporate, partnership, securities, real estate, nonprofit, intellectual property, banking, insolvency, fiduciary and limited liability law.  Where necessary, affiliated attorneys will be engaged so that all client needs are met.

The legal skills required of a business organizations lawyer also include the ability to advise the client, not just with respect to immediate concerns regarding the initial entity formation and subsequent operation, but also concerns relative to ownership and the passing of ownership to future generations or for the eventual sale of the business.  How best to structure a closely or family held business enterprise, therefore, requires an in-depth understanding of a client’s strategic business objectives as well as estate planning concerns.  I will work with you to make sure these areas are addressed as well.

In addition to internal issues, practice in the business organizations area also involves relationships between organizations and the interactions and transactions among them.  This includes contracts, both drafting and negotiation, as well as joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions.  This area of business organizations is very wide-ranging in scope, dealing primarily with defining the rights and responsibilities of business organizations with third parties rather than their internal formation and operation.  Again, I will work with you to make sure these areas are addressed as well.

While many business organizations are relatively small, including traditional family-owned companies and entrepreneurial start-up ventures, many are large and complex enterprises with highly sophisticated governance structures.  Accordingly, the legal work involved can range from total representation of the organization, including its owner(s), in all aspects of the organization’s legal activities to engagement as a specialist by larger business organizations that have sophisticated in-house legal counsel.


Probate Law


Probate is the legal process of managing the estate of a deceased person by settling all claims and distributing the decedent’s personal property under their Last Will & Testament. In Texas, a variety of probate procedures are available and some are far more cost effective than others. A common way to avoid a probate is through the establishment of a living trust and the transfer to the trust, while you are alive, of substantially all of your assets.  I can assist you with setting up those types of trusts, but in Texas the probate process is fairly straight forward and trusts are not always necessary.

There are many other ways to avoid probate through asset ownership, beneficiary designations and the creation of one or more business entities. I assist our clients in preparing and filing all of the necessary paperwork within the mandatory time frame to avoid any setbacks or delays which prolong the probate process, which is usually very streamlined in Texas. The individual with the primary responsibility in a probate case is the Personal Representative or Executor. I work closely with the Personal Representative to ensure the probate administration is done in a timely manner in accordance with Texas law.


Estate Planning


Whether you are planning the parameters of your future medical care or you are establishing support for loved ones upon your death, my firm can help with all aspects of trusts and estates issues, including:

- Estate planning including Will drafting

- Estate tax issues

- Choosing the appropriate executor

- Guardianships

- Living wills and other ancillary estate planning documents

- Living trusts

You work hard for your family, so knowing that you have planned for their long-term well-being and financial security can bring you comfort. I thoroughly analyze your estate and strategize the best means of transferring your assets, minimizing taxes, establishing guardianship for your children, caring for your pets, supporting personal philanthropic causes and protecting your loved ones.

A will is essential at every stage of your life. Your living will sets the parameters for medical intervention if you become incapacitated. This ensures that, when you are most vulnerable, your wishes will be honored. Your last will provides the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes upon your death. A will is necessary if you intend to leave property to a person or entity other than a blood relative — such as a domestic partner, a friend or a charity.

If you die without a will, it is the court that determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your pets – making decisions that might not reflect your desires. It’s my goal to draft valid wills to ensure that your intentions are honored. As your life changes, so might your estate plan. You might need to update your will throughout your life. At the law office of Christopher M. Benjamin, we draft valid codicils that address changes in your financial situation, marital status, number of children, philanthropic interests, and general lifestyle decisions.