You Need to Name More Than One Executor for Your Will

Estate planning is contingency planning. Many things will change during your lifetime and your estate plan needs to accommodate those changes in order to remain effective. One of the key elements of your plan is your executor, the person who will manage the details of wrapping up your affairs and distributing your assets as directed in your will.  Why Do I Need More Than One Executor? The person you 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 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

The Death of an Adult Child

The loss of a child is never easy for the parents who have to bury them.  However, the pain of this loss can be compounded if the adult child does not have a will.  A will provides direction to those left behind for how all of the loose ends should be tied up.  What happens if there isn’t a will? If there isn’t a will the state statutes direct distribution of the estate.  The statutes also dictate who has standing to Read More

Frequently Asked Questions About Wills

Can I use a computer or online program to prepare a Will? You can but this should be done with extreme caution. If the will does not dispose of all of your property, have appropriate language for an independent administration, or include a self proving affidavit, you could actually increase the cost of probating your estate. Other problems could arise from using a software program as well. If I have a Will from Read More

Wills are Critical for People in a Second Marriage

Betty and George had been happily married for 15 years when he became ill.  She stood by him as the illness progressed and eventually claimed his life.  They did not have any children together but George had a son and daughter from his first marriage.  Betty and her step children were friendly but not close. George died without a will.  He and Betty had lived a modest life and he felt there was not enough there to Read More

What is a Probate Proceeding?

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

What Happens in a Property Transfer?

The death of a loved one can bring a great deal of stress and confusion into the survivor’s life.  What is to be done with the home, furnishings, financial accounts and pets?  Who is responsible and how does it get done? When someone dies any property owned must be transferred to a new owner.  This transfer takes a variety of forms and which form depends in part on what the deceased owned.  Some property can be Read More

Planning for Non-Traditional Families

While the need for proper estate planning is the same for both traditional and non-traditional families, some of the planning techniques used are different.  Same sex couples are not treated the same as traditional married couples for many purposes and while these differences in treatment present challenges, they are not insurmountable with proper planning. Same sex couples, just like opposite sex couples, must have Read More