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Fort Worth, TX 76104

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Fort Worth estate planning lawyerEveryone can benefit from having a comprehensive estate plan in place. In addition to giving a person and their family the peace of mind that their final wishes will be fulfilled, estate planning offers the opportunity for someone to examine their financial needs and assets in order to plan for the future. An estate plan usually includes a last will and testament and can also include a living trust, power of attorney, health care proxy, living will, instructions concerning life insurance, a business succession plan, and more.

At our firm, we have helped hundreds of clients create estate plans with varying degrees of complexity. We have also received many questions from individuals wondering how to approach the topic of estate planning with their aging parents. It is not always easy to initiate such discussions, but doing so is important for the security of your family.

Intestate Succession

If you have parents who are getting older but do not have an estate plan, you may be concerned as to how their end-of-life decisions will be made and how their assets will be distributed after their death. When an individual dies without having executed a valid will, the contents of his or her estate will be distributed to eligible heirs through "intestate succession." The specifics of intestate succession vary slightly by state, and such laws can be quite complicated in certain situations. Put another way, if a person does not make their own decisions about their property, the state will do it for them. Of course, most people would not choose to surrender those decisions to the state, but by not having an estate plan, they are doing just that.

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fort worth estate planning lawyerIf you have begun thinking about creating an estate plan, there is a good chance you have seen at least a few ads for self-serve estate planning or will creation services. When you first see the advertisements, it is easy to believe that such services will save you money, time, and stress. The ads might even outright claim that you do not need an attorney to develop your estate plan.

The bad news is that online document generators and DIY estate planning services lead many people into serious mistakes. These mistakes can cost a great deal in lost money, time, and frustration not only for the creators of the estate plan but also for the loved ones they leave behind.

Why You Need a Lawyer

There is no law in Texas that says you must work with an attorney to create an estate plan. However, DIY estate planning services try to “help” as many people as possible by being a “one-size-fits-most” approach. A DIY site might offer basic estate planning documents such as wills, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives. Unfortunately, the basics are often insufficient to properly address your needs. When you work with a qualified lawyer, your attorney will help you explore all of your options—including lesser-known and more complicated instruments—so that you can make the best possible decisions for yourself and your loved ones.

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fort-worth-business-formation-attorney.jpgIn 1990, the U.S. Congress passed a historic bill into law that would forever change business: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law effectively enforces the civil rights and needs of people with disabilities. Before this law was passed, horror stories existed of inaccessible mobility for those bound to wheelchairs. Unfortunately, some people were forced to get out of their wheelchairs and crawl up stairs to schoolhouses and courtrooms. Buses also used to be inaccessible because there were no lifts available. Furthermore, grocery shopping was nearly impossible without someone tagging along to assist, as shelves were stocked to the ceiling. 

Since the passing of the ADA, life has become a bit easier for disabled customers and employees, and business owners are often happy to comply with ADA guidelines. However, sometimes new businesses may not realize the extent of the Americans with Disabilities Act policies and have trouble conforming.

Basics of ADA Laws

A few of basic guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act include:

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tarrant-county-business-litigation-lawyer.jpgContracts play an important role in a business’s ability to operate successfully. When a business makes a deal with a vendor, a client, its employees, or other parties, everyone who signs the agreement is expected to hold up their end of the bargain. Unfortunately, there are many cases where contract breaches occur, such as when a company fails to complete work on time after receiving payment. While it may sometimes be possible to resolve disagreements about contracts through communication or negotiation, a party that suffered losses because of a breach of contract may pursue litigation to address these issues. In these situations, it is important to understand the orders that may be made by a court to correct the breach.

Common Remedies in Breach of Contract Cases

To succeed in contract litigation, one party to a contract will need to meet certain requirements, including demonstrating that the contract was legally valid, that the other party failed to meet some or all of their requirements, and that they suffered losses or other damages as a result of the breach. If a plaintiff can prove all of these elements, the court may impose certain penalties or requirements on the party that breached the contract (the defendant).

In many cases, the plaintiff will seek monetary damages from the defendant. These usually take the form of compensatory damages, or repayment for the losses they experienced. These may include both direct and indirect losses. For example, if a manufacturer had a contract with a supplier to deliver certain materials, but the supplier did not deliver the materials by the expected date, the manufacturer may have suffered direct losses because it was unable to build and sell products. However, it may have also suffered indirect losses because its failure to deliver products on time led its customers to cancel orders or back out of business deals, resulting in additional financial losses. The plaintiff may seek compensation for all of the losses that occurred because the supplier did not meet its contractual obligations.

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tarrant-county-estate-planning-attorney.jpgA last will and testament is one of the foundational elements of a comprehensive estate plan. A person’s will details decisions about how the property they own should be passed to their heirs after their death. Seniors who are entering their twilight years will often be looking to make plans for how to address different assets they own, distribute property to their loved ones, and ensure that their wishes will be followed after their death. When creating a will or making changes to a will that had previously been created, a person will need to make sure to understand the legal issues that they may need to address.

Key Considerations in a Last Will and Testament

It is important to understand how different types of property will be considered during the probate and estate administration process. Seniors will need to take a complete inventory of their assets and debts before they will be able to make decisions about how the distribution of their property will be handled. Some different types of assets to consider include:

  • Jointly-owned property - Assets that are jointly owned with a spouse or another party (such as a home that is co-owned by a person’s child) will not be distributed to a person’s heirs following their death. Instead, the co-owner will assume full ownership of these assets. However, it may still be a good idea to include these assets in a will, which will address situations where a co-owner dies prior to or at the same time as the testator.

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The First Step: Call Today
It is never too late to get help on your estate plan. To discuss your situation with a seasoned estate planning attorney, call our Fort Worth office at 817-349-7730. Or, reach out through our online contact form. We will respond as soon as possible.
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