Legal Talk

The Dirty Dozen Scams, 2021 Style

Every year the IRS publishes a “Dirty Dozen” list of scams. The 2021 list is must-read. Pandemic Scams We start our count-down with the pandemic-related scams. Top is the stimulus payment theft, which comes in the form of text messages, phone calls and emails asking about bank account information or requesting recipients to click on a link or verify personal data to receive the payment. These should be deleted without opening....

The Rule Against Perpetuities Fades Away

If you are the grantor, beneficiary, creditor, trust protector, CPA, financial advisor, attorney or trustee of a trust, or if you just generally think trusts are a nifty idea and want to learn more, then you will find this of interest. The Rule Against Perpetuities for trusts in Texas is going on life support as of September 1, 2021 and Texas dynasty trusts are now a real thing. No fooling;...

Looking For the Storybook Ending – Plan Before the Crisis

The storybook picture of aging looks something like this: grandfather sitting comfortably in his cozy chair in his tidy home, beverage of choice at hand, his multi-generational family gathered ‘round as he relates yet another folksy, but morally instructive, story garnered from his long and fulfilling life. The alternative picture of aging looks something like this: grandfather, thirsty and alone, sitting in a worn chair in his dirty home surrounded...

Wellness Checks and the Fourth Amendment: A Safety Net for the Elderly

It isn’t often that the folks on the United States Supreme Court talk about the elderly falling at home, but that is exactly what happened in a recent opinion.  What is a Wellness Check?  A wellness, or welfare, check is when police go by a person’s home to check that person’s well-being. To define the issue, we turn to the example given by Justice Kavanaugh: “Suppose that an elderly man is...

Epitaph Examples – Having The Last Word

What Is An Epitaph? Epitaph n. An inscription on a tomb, showing that virtues acquired by death have a retroactive effect. Following is a touching example: Here lie the bones of Parson Platt,/ Wise, pious, humble and all that,/ Who showed us life as all should live it;/ Let that be said — and God forgive it! Short Epitaph Examples Your epitaph may be your last and best chance to rewrite your history. Do...

What Is An Inventory Sheet In A Texas Divorce?

By Jennifer Lynn Alcock, Paralegal Your petition for divorce has been filed. You are in the throes of Texas Family Law and Texas Civil Procedure. Your head is spinning and your to do list is growing. A good law firm will guide you through the divorce process but be aware that your participation will be required. One of the many possible participation opportunities for you will be creating an Inventory Sheet....

You Can Now Be Sued Through Your Social Media Account

You are sitting at home scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, and you see that you have a new message. When you click on it, you see the words “You have been sued.” This is a joke, right? Unfortunately, no. Your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts became toxic on December 31, 2020. If you blinked, then you might have missed it. That is the day the new rules for serving legal documents...

Religious Freedom Restoration Act – How It Works

A new year and a new cause of action – life doesn’t get any better than that. Unless, of course, you are a government official. That is because the new cause of action makes you, the government official, personally liable for your wrongdoing. What Is The Religious Freedom Restoration Act? It all centers on a federal law known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which generally prohibits the government from placing a...

Breaking the Chains of Christmas Past A Gift for the Ages

If truth be told, most families harbor a lot more Marleys than they do Scrooges.  It is not too late to cut the chains. Marley appeared in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” as a ghost of Scrooge’s deceased partner burdened with chains. Marley was the first to warn Scrooge that all was not well with his world when   he gave an ominous explanation of his unusual garb:  “I wear the...

Through the Ages – Last-minute Gift Ideas

Christmas is rapidly approaching and you are in a panic to about what to get for that special someone. Rest assured that you are not alone. General Sherman found himself there in 1864 when he had not had time to go shopping for his Commander-In-Chief. His solution was to wire Lincoln with the following: “I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the City of Savannah, with 150 heavy...

Earth, Wind and Fire When Disaster Hits, Head for the Insurance

If you live in Texas then you know that a bright sunny sky can shift to a blinding hailstorm in a matter of minutes.  Tornados?  Earthquakes?   Wind storms?  Texans know these can, and do, pop up with alarming regularity.   That is why most sane Texans carry property insurance.  That is also why insurance-toting Texans need to know about  the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act.   The TPPCA may well be...

A Stroke of Optimism

In October of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke. Rather than follow the constitutional protocol that dictated Vice President Thomas Marshall should serve during President Wilson’s incapacity, the First Lady, Edith Wilson, took the reins. While Woodrow Wilson languished, paralyzed on one side and barely able to get out of bed, Mrs. Wilson drafted official correspondence in her famously childlike handwriting, met with cabinet members, and most importantly,...
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