Wills

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,...

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...

It is Twenty Years Later – Do You Know Where Your Lawyer Is?

Talk about an aging profession. More than 35% of the licensed attorneys in the State of Texas are over the age of 55. Ouch. Just like other professionals, lawyers can retire, move, get hit by lightning, or die. If that happens to your lawyer, then it can leave you, the client, in a mess. You need to protect yourself from the unintentional fallout. Before we get to the steps you should take, consider...

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...

Top 6 Legal Documents You Should Have In Place

A lot of people have some extra time on their hands these days. Being stuck in the house means there’s no excuse not to finally get around to some of those projects that you knew you needed to do, but just never could make yourself address.  If you’ve already done all the gardening, cleaning, and closet sorting in your house, maybe now you can take some time to get...

Probate and Its Process Explained

What does it mean to probate a will? Probate is the legal process of making sure the property and assets of a decedent (deceased person) are managed and distributed correctly. Probating a will essentially means proving that the will really was the decedent’s last will and testament and following the directions it outlines for settling the estate—distributing the estate’s assets and paying off the estate’s debts. While it is...

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...

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...

What Happens If The Original Will Is Lost?

Don't Lose the Original Will Wills only take legal effect when the person who made the will dies and the will is admitted to probate. Probate is a legal process where a court hears evidence to prove that the will is valid and should be given legal effect.  Normally this requires that the original will ( not a copy) be filed with the clerk of the court. Most wills are self-authenticating,...

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...

This Is What Happens To Your Debt and Assets When You Die

Unfortunate fact: your debts do not die with you.  They continue to burden your property after your death.   This is a big deal.  Your creditors can go after the property that goes through your probate estate and the property that passes under beneficiary designation.  It is fair to say that your beneficiaries or heirs take their share of your property under the threat that it may be pulled back by a...
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