Trusts

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...

How to Settle an Estate With a Trust

Settling and estate — especially an estate with a trust — can be lengthy, emotional, and complicated. Trusts and wills serve different functions and are handled differently after a person’s death. If an estate has both a will and a trust and you are both the executor of the will and the trustee (the person in charge of the trust), you will have additional responsibilities. The trustee must be...

What Is A Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) In Texas?

What Does A Transfer On Death Deed in Texas Do? There is a snappy little document called a “transfer on death deed” that is very much in vogue right now.  You can use it to transfer your real property in Texas upon your death, making it a valuable tool if your estate plan is geared toward avoiding probate. If you are leaping to your computer to download an internet form of...

To Probate vs. To Not Probate – Should You Avoid It?

One of the more difficult decisions that must be made after the death of a loved one is whether or not to probate the will.   For our purposes, assume the will was properly drawn under the Texas law.   The person who made the will is known as a testator (male) or testatrix (female).  The person named as the administrator in the will is an independent executor (male) or independent...

Do I need a Revocable Living Trust?

Trusts In Different States Many people get invited to well-intended financial seminars in which the presenters push trusts for everyone.  Or they move from states in which they had a trust, and they think they need to replicate that estate plan in Texas.  But in Texas, we don’t all need trusts like in other states.  In many other states (like California), the probate system is more onerous than ours –...

What is a Pet Trust and Why Is It Important?

Setting Up A Pet Trust To Take Care Of Buddy Worried about who will care for your beloved pet after you die?  There’s a trust for that.   Texas has a statute creatively called “Trust for Care of Animal.”  In common parlance, that is known as a “pet trust.” You can only create a pet trust for the care of an animal that is alive during your lifetime.   By statute, the trust terminates...

Special Needs Trusts – Planning for Disabled Folks

Many families are blessed with a child (or adult) who happens to have a disability. There is obviously some concern regarding that loved one’s care and standard of living once a parent or other caregiver is no longer able to provide for them. SSI and Medicaid Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid can help, but they are limited and require the disabled person to have very depressed levels of assets and...
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