Estate Planning

Run Silent, Run Deep – Silent Trust is the Secret

SHHHHH. Can we talk privately? It’s about the kids. I know you have some assets that you want to set aside for them, but…….. you’ve been worried. You don’t want the kids to become trust fund babies. If they get even a hint about how much wealth they will have when you die – well, let’s just say they won’t have much incentive to pursue an education or trade. I have...

Here’s an Heir, There’s an Heir, Everywhere’s an Heir

Let rich Aunt Meg die without a will and then just wait for the swarm of heirs to descend on her estate.  You won’t be able to move through her mansion living room without stepping on one. There is an orderly process of inheritance under the law.  It is called the law of descent and sets out the order that Aunt Meg’s kindred will inherit. A kin who steps into line...

Types of Probate in Texas

In the public mind, the term “probate” is often associated with expense, delay, suffering and, sometimes, prolonged legal disputes. While there are many probate myths and misconceptions, it is basically a court-supervised method of handling the property of a deceased individual. During probate, the court will appoint someone to be in charge of the deceased person’s financial affairs, property, assets, and debts. Outstanding debts are addressed, and the remaining...

Dash for Cash – Informal Funding of Inheritance Has Hidden Dangers

Several years ago I had a probate consultation with three very nice people whose great-aunt had recently died.  They apologized for their somewhat disheveled appearance and explained that they had spent the day dismantling furniture, prying up floorboards and digging up the backyard of their great-aunt’s residence.  It seems that their great-aunt did not believe in banks, and so she kept her savings in cash and hid it in...

Keeping Track of Your Estate Planning Documents

You did the right thing: you went to an estate planning lawyer and had documents prepared. What you do now? Perhaps it is easier to describe what you should not do. What You Shouldn't Do With Your Estate Planning Documents You should NOT lose them. You should NOT put them in a place where they cannot be easily found. You should NOT interlineate changes, mark through names or addresses, or spill coffee...

6 Types of Real Estate Deeds You Need to Know About

If you’re in need of an attorney, we want you to know that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our firm is open during regular business hours. We are meeting clients in our office while practicing social distancing, keeping everyone six feet apart and, for the time being, foregoing all handshakes and hugs. If you prefer, we can schedule telephone or video conferences, and we also make off-site appointments. Whatever your preference,...

The Words You Choose – Law Regarding Wills Archaic, Counter-Intuitive

Before you draft your own will, consider the cautionary tale of Mildred L. Ethridge. We will helpfully count the mistakes as we go. In 1990, Mildred drafted her one-page will. She did it without wasting money on silly things like legal advice. Mistake one. In her will, Mildred wrote that she made it “for the purpose of distributing my entire estate, real, personal and mixed.” She further wrote “I give Fred D....

The COVID-19 Hole in your Living Will – The Safety Net That Wasn’t

COVID-19 has put your Living Will directly to the test, and the results are not pretty. A Living Will, formally known in Texas as a Directive to Physicians, is a document specifying your medical wishes in the event you become critically ill and are unable to communicate them. In it you can direct whether you want artificial measures, such as a ventilator, used to prolong your life. There is a catch,...

Estate Planning Lessons Learned from Coronavirus

To get straight to the point, having an estate plan is one of the most important things you can do for your peace of mind and the benefit of your loved ones. Unfortunately, it is also one of the things that far too many of us dread and put off dealing with until much later in life. But at Hammerle Finley, we firmly believe that it is never too...

Estate Planning for Young Adults – Why You Need It

If you’re in your 20s, just starting a career, living on a meager income and perhaps struggling to pay off your student debt, estate planning is probably the last thing on your mind. All things considered, however, it should not be. You may ask, why is estate planning important, especially for a young person? The answer is that estate planning is not just for the well-to-do and the elderly. It...

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

When individuals think of estate planning, wills and trusts are usually the first things that come to mind, but it is strongly suggested that you also consider creating a durable power of attorney as well. Life, as we well know, is filled with uncertainties. Completely unforeseen circumstances can place an individual in a situation in which they are unable to make or execute key business, personal, legal or financial...

What To Do When A Loved One Dies: Full Checklist

When a family member or other loved one dies, the natural response is to feel overwhelmed. However there are some very practical and legal matters that need to be attended to “immediately if not sooner”. What Happens To a House When The Owner Dies? Sad as it may seem, when a person dies his property becomes at risk. Sometimes friends and family use this as an opportunity to help themselves to...
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