Texas Tidbits

Here are some interesting tidbits of law that probably won’t come up in casual conversation, but could someday be VERY important to you.

Texas courts and lawmakers like Texas law.    Contracts for construction or repair of  buildings, homes and other improvements located on property in Texas are interpreted under Texas law.  Any provision in the contract that makes the contract subject to another state’s law or arbitration in another state is voidable.

Certain consumer contracts can be cancelled by a consumer within 3 business days after the contract is signed.  The merchant has to provide the consumer with a copy of the contract, and notice of the right to cancel.  This covers contracts for goods and services exceeding $25 or purchase of real property for more than $100, where the merchant personally solicited the sale and the consumer signed the contract at a place other than the merchant’s place of business.

Making a transfer (like a gift or a sale for less than fair market value) to defraud or hinder a creditor is illegal under the Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.

Statute of Frauds makes unenforceable any oral agreement that promises to pay the debt of another person, contracts for the sale of real estate, or is not to be performed within one year from the date of making the agreement.

A person cannot refuse to sell or rent a dwelling to another because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin.  “Familial status” includes someone who is pregnant, living with someone younger than 18 years of age, or in the process of obtaining legal custody of someone younger than 18 years of age.   A person can discriminate against someone who has been convicted of the illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance.

Rules for trustees and trusts are determined by the trust instrument.  If the trust instrument is silent, and the Trust is subject to Texas law, then the default rules are found in the Texas Property Code.

Lots used for the burial of the dead are exempt from seizure for the claims of creditors.

Texas has an entire section for Residential Construction Liability that requires a homeowner has to jump through complex and lengthy  procedures before bringing a claim against the contractor.

A person has one year to register with the Secretary of State  the right to use the name of a deceased individual’s name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness.  If the ownership of the right wasn’t transferred at or before the death of the individual, then the right vests in the surviving spouse and children.