It’s always important to have a plan. This is particularly true in estate planning. Did you know if you die without a Will (intestate), your state law dictates who gets your property and makes decisions for you? Read on to learn more about a heart-breaking story of someone who didn’t plan ahead. The consequences will devastate you. Planning is Critical … [Read more...] about Planning is Critical
At some point in your life there is a good chance you will be involved in the probate of someone’s estate. Whether you are involved merely because you are a beneficiary or heir, or are involved because you were appointed executor of the estate, you will likely be exposed to probate at some time in your life. If you are not familiar with the probate process, you may need legal advice in order to know how to proceed. This is particularly true if you were appointed executor in the decedent’s Last … [Read more...] about Does Your Law Firm Assist with Probate?
When a person dies, his or her estate must go through the legal process known as probate. The primary purposes of the probate process is to ensure that all of the decedent’s assets are accounted for and valued, all debts of the decedent paid, and all remaining assets transferred to the named beneficiary or legally determined heirs of the estate. A Texas probate can incur some significant costs which is one reason why people frequently incorporate probate avoidance strategies in their overall … [Read more...] about Common Costs Involved in a Texas Probate
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?
When you finally sit down to create your estate plan, one of the first decisions you will likely make is choosing someone to be the executor of your Last Will and Testament. People often give this appointment very little thought because they fail to understand how important the position actually is. The executor of your estate is responsible for taking your entire estate through the probate process. Depending on the size and complexity of your estate, the probate process can last months, even … [Read more...] about Why Your Choice of Executor Is So Important
Blended families have become the norm in America. While blending families may be the norm these days it doesn’t mean that they blend easily. Often, it takes a significant amount of work and patience to create a harmonious blended family. Along with all of the work it takes to make your new family work, be sure that you also make changes to your estate plan that reflect your new blended family. For starters, review all of your old life insurance policies, retirement accounts and financial … [Read more...] about Estate Plan Changes for a Blended Family
A comprehensive estate plan typically encompasses much more than just a Last Will and Testament. For most people, it also includes things such as a life insurance policy, investment plans, trusts and even documents that you may not think of as estate planning documents like titles to property. Ideally, all of these documents will be coordinated; however, the world doesn’t always operate under ideal circumstances. Sometimes, two or more estate planning documents conflict. Imagine, for … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Documents – Which One Controls in a Conflict?
An Executor's duties consist in part of gathering all of the assets of an estate. Most of you probably know this. What you may not know is that part of doing that can consist of reclaiming copyrights that the deceased previously assigned to someone else. In 1976, Congress was concerned that artists were being taken advantage of and assigning the copyrights to their original works for far less than the copyrights were actually worth. In contrast to many things Congress does, there was actually … [Read more...] about Reclaiming Copyrights
The Texas Probate Courts are not known for being forgiving when litigants do not properly handle everything. In El Paso, the Will contest in the estate of actor Sherman Hemsley illustrates the unforgiving nature of Texas Probate Courts. Hemsley passed away with a Will that he had written approximately a month earlier. The Will designated that his entire estate should go to his "beloved partner." A Philadelphia man stepped forward to claim that he was Hemsley's long lost half-brother. He also … [Read more...] about Do Not Miss Texas Probate Deadlines
People often try to get a little bit too cute in ways to avoid taxes. This is true whether they are paying taxes now or whether they are trying to avoid taxes on their estates after they die. Unfortunately, the IRS does not give bonus points for looks. Trying to be cute, will result in trouble. No one wants trouble with the IRS, so talk to your estate attorney about making sure you do things right. One recent example of not doing things the right way is what happened to former Yankees pitcher … [Read more...] about Don’t Get Cute With the IRS