Preparing and Executing A Will During The Pandemic

Often, families begin taking care of estate planning when they become unexpected faced with a “worst-case scenario.”  Today, many families now have a greater sense of urgency to get wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents in order as soon as they can. At Ford + Bergner LLP, we will continue to do everything we can by using technology to serve our clients and others who need help during this unprecedented time.  In the past, we would typically meet with …

Are Will Forms Printed from the Internet a Good Idea?

I had someone call me this last week to tell me that she and her husband were interested in preparing new Wills.  They had prepared Wills over 30 years ago before their first child was born, but they never updated their Wills after any of their 3 children were born.  Now that all of the children are young adults, they were finally getting around to addressing their outdated documents.  In the course of the conversation, the client asked me the …

Actress Carol Burnett Finds Herself Involved in a Guardianship

Recently, both ABC News and CNN reported that 87 year-old actress Carol Burnett has filed for guardianship of her 14 year-old grandson in the courts of Los Angeles County, California.  Burnett’s daughter is the grandson’s parent, and Burnett alleges that her daughter has suffered from severe substance abuse addiction for many years.  As a result of the addictions, Burnett alleges that her daughter is no longer able to provide a safe environment for her son, and Burnett has asked the …

With kids returning to college, should you consider Estate Planning for your kids?

With kids headed off to college in the next few weeks, we have had several clients call us asking about whether they need to prepare estate planning documents for their children.  In particular, the clients are concerned about whether they should have their children sign powers of attorney for their children’s medical and financial decisions. By law, Texas teenagers reach the age of majority at the age of 18.  While parents sending those “adults” off to college still consider them …

Britney Spears’ Father Under Fire as her Guardian

Since 2008, pop singer Britney Spears has been under a court-ordered guardianship, and her father has served as the guardian to manage her substantial fortune.  The guardianship case was initiated after Britney’s highly-publicized mental breakdowns.  At the time, the guardianship court found that Britney was unable to manage her own finances, and the court appointed Britney’s father to protect her interests.  In August 2020, Britney filed a request with the guardianship court to remove her father as the guardian and …

Has the Corona virus Created a Shortage of Qualified Probate Attorneys?

It has been widely reported that the corona virus pandemic has recently hit Texas hard.  While Texans are resilient and have not experienced the rates of death as high as many other places, the larger counties in Texas have experienced hundreds of deaths attributed to the virus.  Not only has the virus contributed to deaths, but the virus has resulted in many businesses, including law firms, shutting their physical doors in favor of remote working options.  In Harris County alone, …

F+B Associate Assumes New Leadership Role

Anthony Pejerrey, an associate at Ford + Bergner LLP has recently accepted a position on the board of directors of the Attorneys in Tax and Probate professional organization.  ATP, as it is known, is a professional association of attorneys who practice estate planning, tax, and probate.  The group meets monthly for lunch and a continuing education presentation from an expert in topics of interest to the group’s members.  Additionally, ATP sponsors a couple of social opportunities a year for its …

F+B Associates Selected for Leadership Academy

F+B Senior Associate Angelica Farinacci and Associates Andrea Barr and Heather Bell have each been selected for the 2020-2021 REPTL Leadership Academy.  REPTL is the Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law section of the State Bar of Texas.  In short, REPTL is the section of lawyers across the state of Texas that focus most heavily in estate and trust matters.  For decades, REPTL has been the leadership body in Texas for developing the probate, trust, and guardianship practices and in …

Selecting an Attorney As Your Trustee

In a couple of recent posts, we have discussed the challenges that exist when a wealthy person does not have children or other close relatives to assist them if they become incapacitated and/or die.  Because of the concerns associated with asking a friend of distant relative to serve in these roles, many people consider appointing their attorney to assist them if they can no longer make decisions for themselves. For instance, they may ask their attorney to serve as agent …

Avoiding Litigation When a Wealthy Person Becomes Incapacitated But Has No Close Family

In a recent post, we discussed the challenges that exist when a wealthy person has no children or other close relatives but needs to prepare their estate planning.  Among the biggest issues is selecting people to assist with medical and financial decisions if the person develops dementia or alzheimer’s and can no longer make those decisions for themselves.  One of the toughest issues facing a person with no close family is selecting someone to make medical decisions for them if …