Although a Last Will and Testament is usually the foundation of a comprehensive estate plan, most plans include a variety of documents in addition to a Will. One of the more common additions to a thorough estate plan is a trust. A question that frequently comes up –typically from a beneficiary – is “Can you contest a trust?” The simple answer is that yes, a trust in Houston Texas can be contested. A trust is a legal entity that requires four elements for creation --- a trustor, a trustee, a … [Read more...] about Can Someone Contest a Trust in Houston Texas?
Wills and Trusts
The cornerstone of any estate plan is a Last Will and Testament. When you create your Will you will have to make a number of very important decisions. You may assume that all of these decisions relate to the division of your assets upon your death; however, there is another decision that must be made when you create your Will that is likely of more importance than you realize-the appointment of an executor. Unfortunately, most people give very little thought to the appointment of an executor … [Read more...] about What Is an Executor?
Few businesses manage to stay around for two centuries. Sometimes an entire government doesn’t even make it that long. It may surprise you then to learn that a charitable trust that was created over 200 years ago is still going strong today. Back in 1801 Captain Robert Richard Randall died leaving behind a Last Will and Testament that he had signed just four days prior to his death. In the Will, he left the proceeds of his estate assets to the creation of a charitable trust. That trust was to … [Read more...] about The Importance of a Trustee — The Sailors’ Snug Harbor Trust
When most people think about their Last Will and Testament, they think about a division of their wealth after death. While your Will certainly does accomplish that goal, it can do other things as well such as nominate a guardian for your minor children. In the event that neither you nor the child’s other parent is able to care for the child, this person will do so, meaning that your choice of guardian should be made after careful consideration and deliberation. Consider the following tips when … [Read more...] about Choosing a Guardian for Your Child
According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are just over 86 million owned cats in the United States. One in three households in America includes at least one or more cats as part of the family. Unlike dog owners who are more likely to only own one dog, cat lovers, on average, own at last two cats. If you are a cat lover, have you given any thought to what will happen to your cat when you die? As a general rule, people who own cats consider them to be part of the family. Some … [Read more...] about What Will Happen to Your Cat When You Die?
For many people an estate plan includes much more than a simple Last Will and Testament. Although there are numerous estate planning tools and documents that can be incorporated into an estate plan, some are used more than others. Trusts, for example, are a common estate planning addition. Once created though, what happens if you want to change something in the trust? For starters, not all trusts can be changed. Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed absent the intervention of a court, for … [Read more...] about Amending a Trust
Recent changes to the tax laws that went into effect after the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013 have caused many taxpayers to review and modify their existing estate plans. One estate planning tool that many people are wondering what to do with in light of the new laws is the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, or ILIT. All estate assets owned by you at the time of your death are potentially taxable. The lifetime exclusion limit allows each taxpayer to exclude assets up to a … [Read more...] about Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts – Do I Still Need Mine?
Sometimes people seek to contest Wills simply because they do not like the way the deceased distributed his or her property. However, in order to effectively contest a Will, you need to have legal grounds for doing so and not liking how the Will distributes property is not a legal ground for contesting a Will. Here are a few of the more common legal grounds that people use to contest Wills: Revocation: The Will submitted to Probate was actually revoked by the deceased, for example by creating a … [Read more...] about Grounds for Contesting Wills
People often ask estate planning attorneys how they can make sure that their wishes are fulfilled after they pass away. People have a legitimate fear that their family will not listen to their wishes and obey the dictates in their estate plans. This is because they have heard horror stories about estate challenges gone awry. The truth is that estate planning attorneys have a variety of ways to make sure that your wishes are fulfilled. None of these methods are perfect by themselves, but used in … [Read more...] about How Good is a No Contest Clause?
American history is full of strange and mostly forgotten facts that we cannot believe to be true when we first hear about them. Yet, they are true. One such fact is that it was a mistake to designate money in a Will to be used to free slaves and appoint Thomas Jefferson as the Executor to carry out the task. That did happen and it was a mistake. Out of all of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson was probably the most opposed to slavery. He spoke out against it many times and often wrote … [Read more...] about A Strange Historical Fact