Trusts

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage… Or does it?

By Kendra Rey Just what is your relationship with your Valentine?  In this month of l’amour, do you know if that person you are cozying up with is your spouse or just a close friend? And what is the legal effect of that? (Leave it to a lawyer to make “Love” something debatable!) If you have gone through a ceremonial marriage with your significant other, then you know you have a...

What Is An Independent Administration in Texas?

(This is the second in a series regarding probate procedures in Texas) In California, probate of a will for a simple $1 million estate takes 2 years and costs $23,000 in attorneys’ fees.  In Florida, the probate of the same estate takes at least 9 months and costs $30,000. Then there is Texas, where the same probate takes less than 6 months and costs under $5,000. Can we get an Amen? Texas can...

Pulling off a Muniment of Title in Texas

(This is the first in a series regarding probate procedures in Texas) Going through probate is never convenient. For many families it is the first time that they hire an attorney. Add to that the timing, which often comes amid grieving the dearly departed, and the archaic court procedures, and it is no wonder that probate falls somewhere below limb amputation on the pleasure scale. The most common probate procedures are...

What is a Special Needs Trust in Texas?

How do you best support a family member with a disability?  Consider setting up a Special Needs Trust. First, a little background.  Many people with a disability qualify for government benefits in the form of SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or Medicaid.   However, both of these programs are awarded on a “need” basis, meaning the person can only qualify for the program if he or she has limited assets and income. For...

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...

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...

A Horrible End to a Beautiful Beginning – Cohabitation Nightmare

So you want to live with someone to whom you are not married?  We call that “cohabitating” or “inviting a lawsuit.” Whatever. Cohabitation is legal, but that does not mean it is a relationship you should leap into lightly.  Before you make the move, you should consider the cautionary tale of Stephen Carl Smith and Mary Deneve. Smith and Deneve began living together in 1991. They neither married nor signed a cohabitation...

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...

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...
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