The Importance of an Annual Estate Plan Review

In life, change is inevitable. Your estate plan may require updates to reflect those changes. Ensuring your estate plan documents remain relevant is the purpose of reviewing them each year. Here are important things to consider during your review. Have you Updated Your Asset List? One thing that many clients forget is to regularly update and maintain a list of their major assets.  The list should include bank account information (name of the bank, account number, etc.) for each bank …

Will COVID-19 lead to less requirements for in-person notary public signatures?

The advent of COVID-19 has impacted all areas of society. It has forced industries to get creative, and the legal field is no exception. Requirements for things to occur in person now put people at risk, and innovative solutions must be found so that the same activities can occur online. However, in the legal industry, these adjustments must ensure the same protections against fraud and the proper execution of documents. In Texas prior to April 2020, Wills were required to …

Do I Need a Will Even if I Don’t Own Much?

If you don’t have a lot of money or property, you might be thinking that you don’t need a Will.  However, creating a Will can be important for anyone.  For instance: Items of Sentimental Value Over the years, you may have acquired items of particular sentimental value.  They may be items that have been passed down in your family, or they may be items that you acquired in your younger years.  Even if those items do not have great monetary …

What Happens if an Executor Does Not Pay Estate Taxes?

When named as executor of an estate, the executor has a number of responsibilities to care for that estate and make sure it is divided to the heirs. One such responsibility is to pay the taxes on the estate before the distributions even begin. As an executor, you are responsible for filing the State and Federal taxes for the deceased for the year in which they died and for the entire time that the probate matter is pending with the …

Can a Personal Injury Claim Be Filed Against an Estate?

It doesn’t happen often, but on occasion, someone defending against legal action can pass away unexpectedly. In many cases, this ends the legal action. For example, you can’t press criminal charges against someone that is no longer alive. However, it is a bit different with personal injury cases. Often if the estate of the deceased is particularly small, the claim will be dropped. However, if the deceased had significant assets in his estate, it is possible for the injured party …

Guardianship Litigation In Texas

It is important to have a clear understanding of the guardianship litigation process before making the decision to move forward with pursuing guardianship of a family member or a loved one.  In Texas, guardianship is a relationship that has been legally established by a court of law that names a person to take on the responsibility of caring for someone who does not have the ability to care for himself or herself or someone who is incapacitated. Who can be …

Can a Personal Injury Claim Be Filed Against an Estate?

It doesn’t happen often, but on occasion, someone defending against legal action can pass away unexpectedly. In many cases, this ends the legal action. For example, you can’t press criminal charges against someone that is no longer alive. However, it is a bit different with personal injury cases. Often if the estate of the deceased is particularly small, the claim will be dropped. However, if the deceased had significant assets in his estate, it is possible for the injured party …

Trust Litigation and the Estate of Lee Roy “Cowboy” Hoskins

Trust litigation is an often confusing and difficult field of law to understand. In order to better grasp the application of trust litigation, the example of Texas veteran Lee Roy “Cowboy” Hoskins Sr. (1922-1985) is helpful to examine. When he passed, Cowboy left two considerable Testamentary Trusts in his will: a Marital Deduction Trust and a Residuary Trust. The key difference between these two trusts were the beneficiaries. The Marital Deduction Trust’s only beneficiary was Cowboy’s wife, Hazel; while the …

Will You Choose A Trust Or A Will?

I am frequently asked the question, “Do I need a Will, or do I need a trust?”  This question reflects the recent trend in some states to have people create a trust during their lifetime and then use that trust to dispose of assets upon death.  In essence, the trust becomes a substitute for having a Will.  The clients who ask this question generally have heard someone suggest that having a trust is better than having a Will because the …

Guardianship Litigation In Texas

It is important to have a clear understanding of the guardianship litigation process as a whole before making the decision to move forward with pursuing guardianship of a family member of a loved one. In Texas, guardianship is a relationship that has been legally established by a court of law that names a person to take on the responsibility of caring for someone who does not have the ability to care for himself or herself or someone who is incapacitated.  …