If a party enters an appearance in a guardianship proceeding, do they still have to be personally served with a new application that is filed in the same case? Texas law requires service when a guardianship application is filed, but is this necessary when the party is already entered an appearance? The court addresses this […]
One generally has to be an “interested party” to participate in the probate process in Texas. If an interested party in an estate is distributed property in full satisfaction of their interest, are they no longer an interested party? The court addresses this in Estate of Daniels, No. 06-18-00049-CV (Tex. App.–Texarkana 2019).
When co-owners of property are at odds over the property, it may be necessary to have a court appoint a receiver to manage and/or sell the property. This remedy isn’t always available, as evidenced by the In re Estate of Martinez, No. 01-18-00217-CV (Tex. Ct. App.–Houston 2019) case.
If a probate court appoints a temporary administrator and approves a settlement for outstanding lawsuits against the estate, heirs with an interest in the estate may have limited options for challenging the decision to settle the lawsuit. The Chabot v. Estate of Sullivan, No. 03-17-00865-CV (Tex. App.-3d Dist [Austin] – 2019), case provides an example.
Special needs trusts can provided additional resources for disabled minors and adults. Special care has to be taken in planning for these trusts. The recent Estate of Mendard, No. 14-18-00434-CV (Tex. App. — Houston [14th Dist.] 2019) provides an example. It involves a special needs trust that ended up owning a house that the disabled beneficiary’s relatives lived in rent-free, thereby depleting the assets of the trust for the benefit of the disabled beneficiary’s relatives.
Will contest suits often involve children whose inheritance is being claimed by a third party who asserts to be common law married to the childrens dead parent. This raises questions as to whether the new spouse is entitled to all or some of the decedent’s assets. The recent Estate of Durrell, No. 13-17-00431-CV (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi [13th] 2019) provides a prime example of this type of will contest suit. Read more
Generally, for a will to be valid, one has to communicate their wishes in a will and the will has to be signed. This begs the question as to how someone who cannot speak or sign a will can execute a valid will. The court addressed this in Estate of Luce, No. 02-17-00097-CV (Tex. App.-Ft. Worth 2018), in a case involving a will executed by an estate planning attorney for his quadriplegic client who could not speak or sign the will.
Estate planning is about you, the person who is alive and in control of property, and those who will eventually control and/or receive your property. It is about your wishes and what will happen in the future.
Having worked with clients to develop estate plans, there are some common basic goals that are considered. This includes providing for loved ones, mitigating or avoiding probate, minimizing taxes, providing for the orderly distribution and stewardship of assets, protecting assets, and planning for incapacity. Read more
Within 90 days after qualification, the personal representative must file with the Court a sworn inventory, appraisement and list of claims (“Inventory”) of the estate. The Inventory must include all estate real property located in Texas and all estate personal property regardless of where the property is located. And it must specify which portion of the property, if any, is separate property and which, if any, is community property. Tex. Estates Code 309.051. Read more
An independent administration is a non-court administration. After a person has applied for letters testamentary and been qualified as independent executor by the court, the executor files an inventory of the estate’s assets and their appraised value, and a list of claims of the estate. Thereafter, the executor administers the estate without any court involvement or supervision, much the same way as trusts are administered. Read more