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.  …

Estate Planning Strategy: Avoid Estate Litigation

The last thing anyone will want to happen after they have departed this world is to have children, grandchildren, and other family members involved in arguments and lawsuits because someone is not happy with the outcome of your will and estate. When money, assets, and property are involved, people’s behaviors will change. Money can cause people to act in strange ways. One of the things you would want your family to avoid after your death is litigation. If litigation occurs …

Mediation as a Solution to Drawn Out Probate Litigation

If the thought of long, drawn-out probate litigation is keeping you up at night, it may be time to consider Mediation as a solution. Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution, which is completely voluntary and doesn’t require a court order.  In mediation, a neutral third party (usually a lawyer or former judge) will work with the parties to develop a settlement of the litigation.  In general, each party has a separate room or meeting space, and the mediator …

Guardianships as a Result of the Pandemic

With the increase in the baby boomer population that is now starting to age, the courts are flooded more than ever with guardianship cases to appoint a guardian for an elderly incapacitated person who does not otherwise have plans in place to care for them during their incapacity.  Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the need to appoint guardians for some individuals who have been isolated during the pandemic or who have deteriorated as a result of the stress of …

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, …