fraudulent deeds

Many thanks to all who sent me comments on published columns and suggestions on topics for future columns. Please keep them coming!

This week we are addressing some of those questions. 

What is the best way to utilize VA spousal benefits?

Several veterans made suggestions on the best way to maneuver the VA benefit maze. Top suggestion – do not rely on the VA or any other governmental agency to help you, because the government is not your advocate. A better strategy is to use one of the many nonprofits that are set up specifically for that purpose. The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) are just a few examples of organizations that advertise that they help veterans. As always, do your research before signing up with an organization, because scammers abound.

What is TRICARE for Life and who is eligible?

TRICARE is an insurance program for military retirees and their dependents and now a third product is available. TRICARE for life is a supplemental program for TRICARE beneficiaries who have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. It is available worldwide.  

How to avoid fraudulent deeds?

Some counties have a free property alert system. If you are signed up, then you will receive an email notification when your personal or company name is used in a real property filing within that county. Some counties also allow you to create a property alert based upon a document that is already filed in the deed records. Among counties offering a version of the free service:  Dallas, Denton, Tarrant, and Collin.  

How does property ownership change with marriage?

The ownership of property is determined at the time it is purchased. That is called the Inception of Title Doctrine. If you buy real property and the title and mortgage are in your sole name, then the ownership does not automatically change when you get married. You still own the property individually. There is a caveat, however. If, after marriage, you use community funds to pay the mortgage, then your spouse may be entitled to a reimbursement of his or her share of those community funds.  

How to get the most out of the client-attorney relationship?

Regarding your relationship with your attorney: you can fire your attorney at any time, with or without good cause. In contrast, your attorney can only fire you for good cause. Most common reasons for an attorney to fire a client: failing to pay a bill, lying, or making his or her representation unreasonably difficult.  

Is Medicare changing in 2022?

Although the government now admits it is charging too much for Medicare Part B premiums, it just announced that it will not reduce the premiums for the remainder of 2022. The government had increased premiums by 14.5% based on faulty estimates.  

The government promises, however, to apply any “lower than estimated spending” from 2022 to the calculation for the 2023 premium.  

On related news, the 2022 report by the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds projects long-term financing shortfalls in both programs. The costs are projected to grow faster than the gross domestic product because – and apparently this is a complete surprise to the government – the US population is rapidly aging.  

Who are the Trustees? There are supposed to be 6 of them: the Secretary of the Treasury (Janet Yellen), the Secretary of Labor (Martin Walsh) , the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Xavier Becerra), the Commissioner of Social Security (Kilolo Kijakazi) and 2 at-large trustees appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. However, the 2 at-large positions have been vacant since 2015.  

Your government at work, folks. 

Hammerle Finley Can Help

If you need legal assistance, schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to discuss your options. 

Virginia Hammerle is in her fourth decade of practicing law. She is Board Certified in Civil Trial by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and an Accredited Estate Planner. Contact her at or visit This column does not constitute legal advice.