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The Importance of Discussing Your Estate Plan with Your Family

 Posted on January 16, 2023 in Estate Planning

Tarrant County Estate Planning LawyersAn estate plan is an important tool that everyone should have. It is not only a way to protect your assets and ensure they are used the way you want them to be, but it is also intended to give your family the peace of mind that their future will be taken care of. However, it is important to discuss your estate plan with your family before anything happens so that you can reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings or disputes. Here are some reasons why you should discuss your estate plan with your loved ones.

Preventing Discord and In-Fighting

It is natural for families to disagree on certain issues, especially when it comes to money and possessions. Without having a conversation about how these items will be distributed, disagreements can arise quickly and lead to discord among family members. By discussing your wishes with your loved ones ahead of time, you can help ensure that conflicts do not arise after you pass away.

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Strategies for Helping Your Small Business Grow

 Posted on January 10, 2023 in Business Formation

Fort Worth, TX Small Business AttorneyAs any business owner can attest, owning and operating a small business takes hard work. It is important for a business owner to always be coming up with new and innovative ways to promote the company’s success. If you are a small business owner, you should be trying to think of ways to help your business grow. You should be looking for new opportunities to expand your client base and drive up your profits. While there is not a one-size-fits-all plan for growing a small business, there are a few general guidelines that could help you achieve your goals.

Playing to Your Strengths

Are customers drawn to your business for a particular product or service? Are there patterns regarding your most loyal clients? It may be tempting to try exciting new ways to generate revenue, but it is very important to keep your primary focus on your basic strengths—or the “bread-and-butter” if you will. For example, if you run a coffee shop and customers love your custom roasts, you may wish to look for new ways to market your products with strong sales as opposed to eliminating your own brands in favor of new products.

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Your Will Could Be Used to Create a Testamentary Trust

 Posted on December 28, 2022 in Estate Planning

Tarrant County, TX Wills and Trusts AttorneyA will is an invaluable resource in ensuring that the assets that comprise your estate will go to the individuals and institutions of your choice after your passing. If there is no will, Texas’ default rules—known as the laws of intestate succession—will determine which individuals will inherit your estate and in what proportions they will inherit. Generally, intestate succession laws stipulate that a deceased person’s estate will go to the decedent’s surviving family members, starting with their spouse and children.

In some instances, it might be acceptable to rely on intestate succession, thereby avoiding the cost and delay of probating an estate in probate court. For many people, however, a will brings both specific direction and peace of mind in the distribution of wealth, property, and heirlooms after death. A will is a powerful and flexible estate planning instrument that is capable of regulating many distributions over a long time in lieu of a one-time bulk sum. The intra-will device that allows for this is what is known as a “testamentary trust.” If you have young children or relatives, a testamentary trust is something well worth considering, as is working with an experienced estate planning attorney.

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What You Should Know About Breach of Contract Claims

 Posted on December 07, 2022 in Business Formation

Tarrant County, TX Business Contracts AttorneyFor many business owners and, in fact, people in everyday life, a promise and a handshake mean more than anything that could be captured in a legally binding document. The physical manifestation of a person giving his or her word regarding an agreement or transaction still carries a great deal of psychological weight, even in today’s litigious society.

While it would be wonderful to be able to consistently rely on another’s good word in business dealings, the reality is that contracts are often necessary, and, sometimes, one party fails to comply with his or her end of the deal. When that happens, your only option may be a breach of contract claim.

Three Main Elements

All contracts represent some form of a legally enforceable promise. Some, of course, are more complicated than others, but all provide certain rights and responsibilities to each involved party. In the context of business, most contracts address the purchase of items, goods, or services rendered. When the other party fails to comply with the terms of an agreed-upon contract, you may be able to bring a claim for breach of contract before the court. To win your claim, you will be required to show:

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What You Need to Know About Powers of Attorney in Texas

 Posted on November 21, 2022 in Estate Planning

Tarranty County estate planning lawyerThe process of estate planning can be extremely difficult for some people, as it is certainly not enjoyable to confront one’s own mortality. Of course, none of us is going to live forever, and with a comprehensive estate plan, you can provide your family and loved ones with security and peace of mind that extends well beyond your lifetime.

Some estate planning elements can be set up to take effect during your lifetime, if necessary, so that you can ensure that your affairs will be properly managed. Among these are powers of attorney, and they are often forgotten about by people who are not familiar with how they work.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf. In Texas, there are two primary types of power of attorney: general and limited. A general power of attorney gives the person you appoint (known as your "agent") broad powers to handle your affairs. A limited power of attorney, on the other hand, only gives your agent specific powers, such as the authority to sell your home or sign documents on your behalf.

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Can a No-Contest Clause Prevent My Will from Being Contested?

 Posted on November 07, 2022 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning lawyerWhen a person dies, the loss can be extremely difficult on that person's surviving family members and friends. The intense emotions associated with such a situation can lead a grieving loved one to act uncharacteristically and even to unnecessary disputes over a variety of considerations. One common point of a contention is often the decedent's will, and a contested will can create instability within the surviving family for many years to come, if not forever. If you hope to keep such a fight from dividing your family after your death, you might consider adding a no-contest clause to your will.

Understanding No-Contest Clauses

A no-contest clause, also called an in terrorem clause, is a provision that can be added to a will that threatens to disinherit any person who contests the validity of the document. The clause essentially says that if anyone challenges the will, they automatically forfeit their inheritance or receive a very small percentage of what was originally intended for them.

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Understanding Transfer on Death Deeds in Texas

 Posted on October 18, 2022 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning attorneyIf you own property in Texas, you may be wondering what a "transfer on death deed" is and how it works. The short answer is that a transfer on death deed is a relatively simple estate planning tool that allows you to pass down real estate property to a chosen beneficiary without having the property pass through the Texas probate process. This alternative to traditional probate can save time, money, and stress for everyone involved.

What Is a Transfer on Death Deed?

A transfer on death deed (TODD) is a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your real estate property to someone else upon your death. The TODD does not take effect until after you die, so you can change your mind at any time and revoke the deed.

In order to create a valid TODD in Texas, you must be at least 18 years old and the owner of the property in question. The deed must clearly describe the property in question and specifically identify your chosen beneficiaries. Then, it must be signed and notarized in front of two witnesses, who must also sign the deed. The TODD must then be filed with the county clerk's office where the property is located. Once the TODD is filed, it becomes a public record.

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Common Types of Business Owner or Partner Disputes and How to Resolve Them

 Posted on October 11, 2022 in Business Formation

Fort Worth business dispute lawyerBusiness disputes between owners and/or partners are not uncommon. While some disagreements can be resolved easily, others may require the help of a mediator or even legal intervention. The most important thing is to communicate openly and honestly with each other to try to reach a resolution. Below, we will discuss some of the most common types of business disputes and offer tips on how to resolve them.

1. Disagreements Over the Direction of the Business

One of the most common types of business disputes is disagreements over the direction of the business. This can happen when partners have different ideas about where the business should go or what it should do. If you find yourself in this type of dispute, it is important to try to see things from your partner's perspective and to compromise where possible. If you are unable to reach a resolution, you may need to seek outside help, such as from an attorney, mediator, or arbitrator.

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How a Single Provision in Your Will Can Protect a Loved One With Special Needs

 Posted on September 28, 2022 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth special needs trust attorneyHave you ever worked closely with a loved one to help them apply for government assistance programs? If you have, you undoubtedly noticed that a large number of such programs have qualifying criteria that include limits on personal assets and income. Such requirements were generally put in place to ensure that the programs in question served those with the greatest need, but these limits have had unintended consequences for many families.

A good example of this is when a person who receives benefits through Medicaid, Social Security, and other income-limited programs is named as a beneficiary in another person’s will. It may come as a surprise to learn that a one-time transfer of assets—as is usually the case with an inheritance—could have a negative effect on the beneficiary’s continued eligibility for the government benefits on which they might have come to rely.

A Quick Look at Government Aid Programs

Government-funded aid programs are nearly everywhere today, and many have been serving citizens for decades. Some of them even trace all the way to the “New Deal” from the 1930s—the government-led effort to aid in recovery from the Great Depression. If you pay any attention to politics, you know that these types of programs are often debated, as lawmakers have trouble agreeing about their funding and future. It is almost impossible to deny, however, that government benefits are highly useful for people who truly need medical care and financial assistance.

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When to Think About Naming a New Executor for Your Estate

 Posted on September 17, 2022 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning lawyerA last will and testament is often the basis for a comprehensive estate plan. You probably realize that your will can include a number of provisions to distribute your assets to those you have chosen as your heirs, and you can make arrangements regarding how your minor children will be cared for in your will as well. However, one of the most important parts of your will is the selection of a person or entity to serve as your executor. Under Texas law, your estate’s executor is in charge of managing your estate and making sure that your wishes regarding your assets and property are followed.

Once you have chosen an executor, however, your work in this regard is not necessarily done, especially as more time passes after the establishment of your will. There are a few situations in which you might consider someone else to serve as your executor - here are just a few. 

Major Life Changes

The Greek thinker Heraclitus is credited with the ancient maxim about the only constant thing in life being change. This reality proves itself every day as we get older. Your current situation might be dramatically different from when you first created your will and named someone to serve as your executor. Significant life changes, such as a divorce, the death of a child or spouse, or moving to a new state, could make a complete revamp of your estate plan necessary, including your choice of executor. The individual that you originally appointed to that role might no longer be in your life, or he or she might live too far away to manage your estate effectively.

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