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Ryan Zapalac

I am a native Texan and the oldest of five children, I spent several years of my childhood in the Middle East and travelling abroad, I have most of my extended family living in Mexico, and I am a frequent traveler and language enthusiast. I think it is safe to say that I’m quite comfortable with the unusual, the complex, and the hectic.

My role in the family has always been that of a mediator or a diplomat, helping to reconcile issues and break down chaotic situations into manageable components, with a clear-cut plan for a resolution. It’s the same kind of role I strive for within the legal profession. I am not here to add to your stress; I am here to help alleviate it and guide you and your family through whatever situation you are going through, or to work with you to get a plan in place for a more harmonious future.

My own family serves as both a warning of ignoring proper estate planning and an example of the benefits of proactive planning. I’ve had an uncle die suddenly, without a Will or any estate plan at all, and seen the anguish and stress brought upon the family during an already difficult time as everyone works to not only find out what is in the estate, but also how it should reasonably be divided. This opens the door to unpleasant surprises, miscommunication, and hurt feelings as everyone guesses the intent of the deceased.

Conversely, my grandmother passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease, a disease that is always fatal, yet she planned and got a Will in place and, perhaps even more importantly, she had certain healthcare directives drafted to make her wishes clear to physicians and family in the event of incapacity. When she lost consciousness, my mother and her siblings did not have to decide (or worse, argue) about whether life support should be used or not, as her healthcare directive stated definitively that she did not want to be put on life support if there was no hope of recovery. While her passing was devastating, my mother has always said that my grandmother’s advanced planning was a bittersweet gift that spared her children of even more heartache over decisions regarding the end of life, and the Will made everything else after death as smooth as possible, allowing everyone to focus on helping each other through a difficult time instead of squabbling about legal affairs. There are other such stories in my family, and all those events likely pushed me towards this profession without me even realizing it.

Of course, proper planning does not just involve end-of-life matters. In planning for the future, we must also care for the present as well, to protect that which we already have and provide for healthy, safe growth of assets. We all have parents, spouses, or children to care for, business to run and grow, or property to maintain, manage, and invest in. In founding Zapalac Law Firm, I try to address the many needs that arise from day-to-day maintenance of our lives, families, businesses, and properties, and I strive to create long-term relationships with my clients so that they always have a trusted adviser to reach out to who can help create a feeling of security and peace.

Ryan was born in Houston, Texas and graduated in 2010 from St. Thomas High School, thereafter receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. He received his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin and has been licensed to practice law since 2017. In addition to English, Ryan is fluent in Russian and Spanish, conversational in German, and is currently learning French (one day he may relearn Arabic). In his free time he enjoys travelling, reading and adding to his library, hiking, and playing card games with friends and family. Ryan serves as the President and CEO of the Russian Speaking Chamber of Commerce in Austin, Texas.

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