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Estate Planning / Probate
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How Transfer-on-Death Deeds Can Help Avoid Probate

A significant goal of estate planning for many people is avoiding probate, the court process by which a will is proved and its provisions are carried out. The proceeding can be lengthy, expensive and complicated, especially for large estates with multiple creditors and contentious heirs. Among the ways to get around probate is to use Read More

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Creating and Maintaining an Estate Plan Is Important for Everyone

Thinking about one’s own mortality can be uncomfortable, and people often hesitate to draft instructions regarding what should happen to their property after they die. However, the COVID-19 pandemic highlights how important it is to draft enforceable wills, trusts and power of attorney documents in order to safeguard the people they love. In response to Read More

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Charitable Gift Annuities and Your Estate Plan

Charitable gift annuities are a way to make donations to a nonprofit university, hospital or other charitable institution while receiving income and tax benefits in return. Donors (known as annuitants) can take a charitable deduction on their income taxes in the year the gift is made. In addition, they receive a long-term income stream. For Read More

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How Is Community Property Transferred When a Spouse Dies?

In community property states like Texas, most property acquired by either spouse during a marriage is by law jointly owned by both of them. Upon divorce, the community property is evenly split. But what happens when a husband or wife dies while the marriage is in effect? Does the surviving spouse get everything or do Read More

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Is a Will Essential to Estate Planning in Texas?

While there is no legal requirement in Texas to have a will, it is highly advisable for an individual to draft one as part of planning an estate. A properly drawn will allows an individual to control the distribution of their assets following their death. A will can also be used to carry out other Read More

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What are the Spousal Rights to Property After Death?

Here are the facts of the situation.  Husband and wife are each on their second marriage and they purchase a home together. Husband dies and leaves a will leaving everything to his grown kids – who by the way don’t like his second wife. The second wife is very nervous about her situation and has a Read More

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Probate 101: The Basics of the Probate Process

After a person passes away, his or her estate and all its components must be accounted for and distributed among heirs, inheritors and creditors according to a special court process known as probate. The probate process heavily relies on the executor—the person the deceased put in charge of protecting his or her property as outlined Read More

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5 Tips for Drafting Your Last Will and Testament

No one wants to think about dying or what will happen with the rest of the family after passing away. However, it’s very important to have a plan of action in place when it comes to the distribution of your estate and assets. That’s where having a will comes in handy. Your last will and Read More

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Common Law Marriage in Texas Probate Courts

Several times over the years, I have probated estates in which the “significant other” to the decedent came forth stating that she (for some reason, every time I had a case like this the deceased was a man) was the common law wife of the decedent and that she, therefore, had a right to half Read More

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“Letters”: How to Get Letters of Testamentary

I often get frustrated clients that come to me with a story that goes something like this: “My father died and I am his only child. He has a bank account and a stock brokerage account. His Will leaves everything to me and I even gave the financial institutions a copy, but they won’t turnover Read More

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