Three Safety Measures in Place for Surviving Spouses

Texas is a community property state. This means that all property amassed during the marriage is equally owned by each spouse, subject to certain exceptions. However, what happens when there is an agreement in place that divides up the marital property unevenly, or when all property owned at the time of passing was separate property held by only one spouse? Does the surviving spouse have any rights to the property or Read More

Digital Asset Series Part IV: Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Welcome to Part IV of our series on digital assets. The previous blogs have explained what constitutes a digital asset and discussed some of the most common types. Our final article in this series focuses on options and suggestions for incorporating digital assets into your estate plan. Since there is no standard policy to plan for digital asset succession after death, each asset should be examined on an individual Read More

Digital Asset Series Part III: Additional Types of Digital Assets

In Part II of this series, I discussed some of the most common types of digital assets. Today we are going to cover financial accounts, business accounts, domain names or blogs and an assortment of other digital assets. Like the previously discussed assets, some institutions have policies in place for accessing the assets of a deceased individual, however, most do not. Let’s look at these digital assets in a little Read More

Digital Asset Series Part II: The Most Common Types of Digital Assets

In Part I of this series, I defined and provided examples of digital assets. Today we are going to focus on the two most popular categories of digital assets: personal and social media. Some sites, like Facebook and Gmail, have specific policies in place for handling your digital assets after your death. However, many digital sites and services have yet to develop such policies. Despite that fact, there is still a Read More

Digital Asset Series Part I: What are Digital Assets?

As little as 25 years ago, digital assets were only talked about by those immersed in the emerging tech world. Today most people have smart phones that allow us to access our e-mail wherever we are, online sites to upload our photos to share them with family near and far and a slew of social media sites so that we can stay connected and voice opinions with the those all around the globe. Your e-mails, photos, Read More

Challenges of the Probate Homestead

Debbie Cunningham recently wrote an article for Headnotes, a publication by Dallas Bar Association, titled “Challenges of the Probate Homestead.” You can click on the link for the full article or continue reading below. On the face of the issue, the probate homestead is quite simple and straightforward. Estates Code Chapter 102 provides clear direction on how to handle a decedent’s homestead. In summary, the Read More

What Needs to be Done When a Loved One Passes Away?

When a loved one has passed those left behind are often at a loss for how to proceed.  What needs to be done?  When must it be done?  Can I delay the process to allow time to grieve?  Following are some general guidelines to help answer these questions for residents of Texas.  Since laws vary from state to state and change over time, you will want to consult an attorney to ensure you have information relevant to your Read More

The Importance of Business Succession Planning

Business owners start businesses for a variety of reasons.  They have discovered or created a great new product.  They might have felt they could do a better job of providing a service.  Some business are born out of necessity after a layoff.  What ever the reason for formation all businesses have one common future, the person who started the business will leave the business. While this departure sometimes occurs as Read More

The Importance of Planning When Your Loved Ones are Estranged

Everyone knows they should have a basic estate plan. Powers of Attorney grant decision making authority for incapacity and a will specifies what should happen after your passing. Many people fail to grasp the potential for complication when some of your loved ones are estranged. Consider the case of Sally who lost her adult son, George, in a car accident. Sally was no longer married to George’s father and George had Read More

Destroy Old Documents

At document signing ceremonies, I am often asked “What should I do with my old will, power of attorney and other estate planning documents?”  My answer remains the same.  The old documents should be destroyed and you should do it right away. Why the urgency?  If you don’t destroy them right away you may forget.  This forgotten will replaced by a newer will can turn the family upside down after a death.  While your Read More