Recent Blog Posts

Is There a More Beneficial Option Than a Will?

 Posted on April 12, 2024 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning lawyerYou have probably heard many people say you “need” a will. While a will is helpful, there are other legal tools that can also provide benefits to you and your loved ones. A Texas lawyer can help you discover the best legal option based on your circumstances.

The Limitations of a Will

While a will allows you to designate beneficiaries for your assets and appoint guardians for your minor children, it does not protect you from probate. Probate refers to the legal procedure of authenticating a will and allocating assets in accordance with its directives. In Texas, probate can be time-consuming and costly, often requiring court appearances and legal fees.

A will only takes effect upon your death, meaning it does not provide any benefits during your lifetime. If you become incapacitated due to illness or injury, a will cannot help manage your affairs or make medical decisions on your behalf.

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Charitable Giving in Your Estate Plan in Texas

 Posted on April 05, 2024 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning lawyerAs a resident of Texas, you can make a significant contribution to the causes that matter to you by including charitable donations in your estate plan. By incorporating philanthropy into your estate planning strategy, you support the organizations and missions that matter to you and potentially reduce your estate’s tax burden. A Texas lawyer can help you explore how you can include charitable giving in your estate plan.

Charitable Bequests in Your Will

Incorporating charitable giving into your estate plan can be easily achieved by including a charitable bequest in your will. You can specify a particular dollar amount, a percentage of your estate, or a specific asset to be donated to your chosen charity upon your passing. This approach allows you to maintain control over your assets during your lifetime while ensuring that your philanthropic goals are met after you are gone.

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How to Protect Your Estate from Creditors in Texas

 Posted on March 26, 2024 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning lawyerDealing with creditors can feel like a hassle, and you may feel like it seems like a setback, especially when they start making claims against your personal assets. Thankfully, a Texas lawyer can help provide several legal strategies to protect your estate from creditors’ reach.

Homestead Exemption

One of the most powerful tools available to Texans is the homestead exemption. This law protects the unlimited value of your primary residence, including the land it sits on up to 20 acres and is used as a residential use, from forced sale by creditors. You must own and live in the home as your principal residence to qualify.

Asset Protection Trusts

Asset protection trusts (APTs) are a popular way to protect your assets from potential creditors. By transferring ownership of your property into an irrevocable trust, you effectively remove it from your personal estate, making it much harder for creditors to access. Texas allows self-settled APTs, meaning you can be the beneficiary of the trust you create.

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Guardianship vs. Conservatorship in Texas

 Posted on March 07, 2024 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning lawyerWhen it comes to protecting the interests of individuals who are unable to make decisions for themselves, Texas law provides two primary options. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they have distinct differences that are important to understand. A Texas lawyer can help you explore the details of guardianship and conservatorship and help you determine which option may be best for your situation.

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints a person (the guardian) to make decisions on behalf of another individual (the ward) who is unable to make those decisions for themselves. In Texas, guardianship can be established for minors, incapacitated adults, or persons with disabilities.

Types of Guardianship in Texas

Texas law recognizes two main types of guardianship:

  • Guardian of the Person: This kind of guardian is in charge of making choices concerning the personal care of the ward, including aspects such as accommodation, medical care, and education.

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When Should You Choose an Advance Medical Directive?

 Posted on February 26, 2024 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning lawyerYour advance medical directive plan goes into effect only when you can no longer make decisions for yourself due to illness or injury. Determining when to create an advance directive depends on your individual circumstances. A Texas lawyer can help you create this legal paperwork, so you know it is handled properly. Understanding several common life stages or situations where setting up a medical directive would be ideal is helpful.

If You Are Diagnosed With a Serious Illness

Receiving a diagnosis like cancer, heart disease, or another serious health condition means that difficult treatment decisions may arise during the course of your care. Stressful hospitalizations that call for complex options could also occur. An advance directive would allow you to think through your values and priorities in a less stressful period, such as during remission, and document what types of life-prolonging care align with your wishes. Your loved ones and physicians will be prepared to honor these choices.

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What You Should Know About a Special Needs Trust

 Posted on February 14, 2024 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning lawyerIf you have a disabled family member who relies on needs-based government benefits like Medicaid or SSI, you may have heard about special needs trusts. But what exactly are they, and how can they help protect your loved one’s eligibility for public assistance programs? Knowing what to expect with a special needs trust and how it can provide value to your family is beneficial. A Texas lawyer can help you gain understanding and help you form this type of trust.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust, sometimes called a supplemental needs trust, is a legal instrument designed to hold and manage assets for a disabled beneficiary without affecting their eligibility for public benefits. The assets in the trust are used to pay for costs of living that government aid does not cover, such as specialized medical equipment, educational expenses, modifications to vehicles or housing, and more.

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What Should You Know About Contested Estates?

 Posted on January 30, 2024 in Estate Planning

TX estate lawyerWhen a person passes away, their estate goes through probate, which is a court-supervised process of distributing assets. Usually, this goes smoothly, but sometimes beneficiaries or creditors dispute the will or trust. This can lead to a contested estate where different parties battle over the deceased’s property and assets. A Texas estate planning lawyer may be able to help if you find yourself in this situation.

What Triggers Estate Disputes

Several common issues tend to spur estate contests:

  • Unequal distribution of assets that seems unfair to heirs
  • Confusion over an ambiguous will or trust
  • Suspected incapacity or undue influence on the testator
  • Discovery of newer wills or amendments

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Why Is Title Insurance So Important?

 Posted on January 15, 2024 in Alamo Title Company

TX real estate lawyerPurchasing a home is likely the largest financial investment most people will ever make. With such a major commitment on the line, buyers want assurance that the property they are buying is truly theirs—free of any undisclosed liens, debts, or other defects in the title that could present future legal or financial issues. This is where title insurance comes in. A Texas real estate lawyer can help you with the process of making sure this is done properly.

Provides Protection for Your Investment

Title insurance provides protection for real estate owners and lenders against issues in the title that occurred prior to your ownership. This could include mistakes made in public records, forgery, fraud, undisclosed heirs, and other issues that could impact your rights and ownership in the property.

If a valid claim is made against your title, the title insurance company will typically pay the legal fees to defend your title, as well as pay valid claims so you do not incur losses. This protection, which is typically a one-time fee paid during closing, gives homebuyers invaluable peace of mind that their investment is covered.

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Choosing a Power of Attorney

 Posted on December 28, 2023 in Estate Planning

TX estate planning lawyerSetting up a financial and healthcare power of attorney (POA) while you are still legally competent allows you to appoint trusted individuals to manage your affairs if injury, aging, or illness affects your independence. It is important to understand the planning involved and the significance of choosing your POA wisely. A Texas estate planning lawyer can ensure your documents are correctly prepared for your protection.

Weigh Both Capabilities and Integrity Critically

Ideally, a power of attorney demonstrates sufficient skills to handle the responsibilities involved. These responsibilities are financial portfolio dealings, tax documentation organizing, or home maintenance contracting in areas needing to be addressed perhaps someday as health fails you. However, strong ethics and integrity ensure that your advocate won’t misuse control over assets for personal gain, preventing unnoticed theft until it is too late. power of attorney (POA) corruption can severely harm vulnerable victims when greed overcomes good judgment. A smart selection process prioritizes ethical integrity over just technical skills.

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What Should I Do If My Parent's Estate Gets Contested?

 Posted on December 15, 2023 in Estate Planning

TX estate planning lawyerSettling a deceased parent’s estate can be an emotionally complicated time, even under the best of circumstances. When hostilities emerge, and family members legally contest the will or trust, grieving while managing high-stakes legal affairs becomes exponentially more difficult. A Texas estate planning lawyer can help figure out how to get through this and prove there are no grounds for this.

Let the Attorney Handle It

If you are the executor of your parent’s estate and a family member or heir challenges the will, your first move is handing things off to the probate lawyer. They have the expertise in Texas inheritance law and procedures to address the legal contestation directly. Trying to manage the dispute as a non-attorney not only causes more stress, it risks procedural mistakes harming your own standing.

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