Family

Child Custody Mediation Advantages: Full Checklist

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,...

7 Things to Know About Getting a Divorce in Texas

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,...

Everything You Need to Know About Marital Trusts

With all the different kinds of trusts available, as well as the specific ways they differ from state to state, it can be hard to figure out exactly what a marital trust is, much less whether or not you and your spouse need one. What is a martial trust? Let’s start with the basics. A trust is a legal arrangement that allows a third party to hold valuable assets — like...

Medicaid Planning – Paying For Nursing Homes

Planning A Must Have you priced nursing homes lately?  In Texas, you are looking at an average annual cost of $50,000.  And we are on the low end; nationally, the average annual cost is closer to $75,000.  New Jersey costs a whopping $109,500 annually.   Who the heck can afford that?    Hello Medicaid.     Medicaid provides several programs that are funded through a state-federal agreement.  One of the programs provides long-term nursing home care benefits...

Coronavirus Estate Planning

Crisis Planning at its Finest.. There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned pandemic scare to bring up the specter of entire family units perishing at the same time.     If this idea is keeping you awake at night, then you need to take a moment and map out what would happen to your estate in the event of a catastrophe.  Review your will, trust, and the beneficiary designations on life insurance, financial accounts...

How To Pay For Long Term and Nursing Home Care

Paying For Long Term Care Through Medicaid and VA Pensions There are two primary public benefits programs that can help pay for nursing home or long-term care:  VA Pension and Medicaid (there is another VA program for veterans with a service-connected disability).  Both programs have strict requirements for qualification and they are, to put it mildly, complicated. What is a VA Pension and How Is A Veteran Eligible? VA Pension is a federal...

What To Do If Someone Dies

The Body in the Library Clues to Your Next Step There are few things more disconcerting than waking up to find a dead body in your home.  It might be helpful to know what you should do next.   What To Do If Someone Dies If you are certain that the person is dead, then do not move the body or otherwise disturb the scene. If the deceased was enrolled in hospice, then call the hospice...

Cemetery Plot Sales and Laws

Picture yourself walking through a peaceful cemetery at dawn, light filtering through the leafy canopies of ancient oaks onto an array of crumbling carved gravestones.  In the distance you see a small mausoleum fronted, jarringly, with a white sign saying FOR SALE BY OWNER.   That’s probably not going to happen, at least in Texas where cemetery plots are controlled by a confusing mixture of state law and local rules.  When you...

Great Ideas for Families: Preparation Goes a Long Way

This may sound harsh, but you need to do more for your family than just sign a will. You should also leave them a map to follow. How do you go about it? Prepare your executor.  You should have a list of all of your beneficiaries and professional advisors with their contact information. Tell your executor where you keep your original will. Tell your successor trustees where you keep your original...

Note-Worthy: The Business Side of Family Loans

Here is a wonderful way to sow seeds of dissension among your children:  lend money to one of them. To understand the calamity that you have unleashed, let’s go back to business basics. A loan is a transfer of money to someone in exchange for his or her promise to repay it.  The terms should be agreed upon before the money is transferred.  The obvious, and correct, way to handle this...

I DON’T HAVE A WILL… SO WHAT? (PART 2)

Not long ago, I published Part 1 of this Article in which I discussed the State of Texas’s rules for how your property is divided if you die without a will. For many people, that division is far from what they want done with their own assets and possessions.  It also causes sticky joint management issues between children from prior relationships (or their parent/the ex-spouse), and current spouses.  That thought...

A Thanksgiving Message: Getting the Word Out to the Family

Use the Thanksgiving family get-together wisely. Sometime between that first cocktail and the opening kick-off, gather the family around for a brief 10-minute conversation about you. It could go something like this: “I have made some plans.  I want to share them with you. “Here is a folder containing copies of my powers of attorney, directive to physicians, and designation of burial agent.  Keep it someplace handy. “Here is a list with contact information...
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