Estate Planning

Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act – What Is It?

No Thanksgiving would be complete without sending up a big thanks to Congress for the Garn-St. Germain Act.   What? You’ve never heard of Garn -St. Germain? Grab yourself a cup of coffee and settle into a comfortable chair. This is one story you want to hear. Why Did The Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act get Passed? It starts back in 1982 with a seemingly-innocent little paragraph known as the “due-on-sale clause.” This...

Received An Inheritance? Here Are Three Ways to Manage It

Let’s start with the numbers: 10 and 1,000,000,000,000.   Over this decade,  $1 trillion is expected to change hands through inheritance.  The majority of that will end up in the hands of Baby Boomers.  And while one study found that the average inheritance was only $50,000, there will be a lot of inheritances in the $1 million plus range.    That is serious money, folks. If you live in Texas and one of...

Estate Planning Around an Addict

Dealing with an addict in the family is, to put it mildly, challenging. The impact on a family can range from mere nuisance to major disruption. It is no wonder that the reaction of many is to cut the addict out of their estate plan. There is a better way. Create a written revocable living trust naming the troubled relative as the beneficiary. This is by no means a cookie-cutter document. Think...

Agents on the Cloud – Digital Assets Lost Without Planning

Merrily we have drifted into the world of the internet while abandoning file cabinets, stripping picture albums and tossing piles of unwanted paper along the way. The lure of the cloud is impossible to ignore. You alone hold the magic formula of logins and passwords and URLs where your treasures may be found.  Financial documents and accounts for banking, brokerages and cryptocurrency, frequent-flier and credit-card points, photos, blogs, social-media accounts,...

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 Property 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,...
Hammerle Finley Law Firm is open during regular business hours, and we are accommodating special appointment requests.   Learn More