When estates are left behind, particularly large ones, there is often a dispute. Such is the case with the estate of the late Michael Jackson. Even though he left this earth over a decade ago, the value of aspects of his estate is just now being decided by the courts. Michael Jackson was undoubtedly one…Continue readingCourt Makes Ruling in Michael Jackson Estate Case
Muniment of title is an alternative to the probate process in Texas. It is cost-efficient. It is fast–relatively speaking. A Will is required. Instead of appointing you as the executor, the probate court enters an order distributing property according to the Will. And walla! But what if the story does not end there? What if…Continue readingProbate After a Muniment of Title
The beneficiaries and heirs of a probate estate are not stuck with the distributions set out in the decedent’s will or by Texas intestacy laws. The beneficiaries and heirs can agree among themselves to some other distribution scheme. This usually involves negotiating and recording the agreement in a family settlement agreement. A carefully drafted settlement…Continue readingDrafting Agreements in Probate Cases
Many courts shifted to online zoom hearings when the COVID virus situation started. This includes probate courts in Texas. This makes sense. Many probate hearings require witnesses. The witnesses are usually friends and acquaintances of the deceased. As with the deceased, generally, they are usually older. They may be more susceptible to have a strong…Continue readingNonresident Executor Subject to Texas Jurisdiction
There are laws that conflict with other laws. These conflicts are often due to competing policies. What may have been a good policy for one fact pattern, may not be a good policy given a slightly different fact pattern. The recent Marshall v. Marshall, Nos. 14-18-00094-CV, 14-18-00095-CV (Tex. App–Houston [14th]), case provides an example. The…Continue readingAnti-Defamation Law Trumps Terms of Trust
Guardianship Claim Bars Probate Claim? Imagine that you are owed money by someone who becomes incapacitated and they have a guardian appointed. Your debt is not secured by any property, such as real estate. The guardian sends you a notice to submit your claim for payment. The debtor is of an advanced age or not…Continue readingGuardianship Claim Bars Probate Claim?
The making of a will is serious. A valid will dictates who gets your property and when they get it. An invalid will can result in your property passing according to Texas intestacy law. It can also set up an expensive probate dispute. This is why estate planning attorneys take such care in helping clients…Continue readingAre Simultaneous Signatures Required for a Will?
There are some strict deadlines for contesting a will in Texas. The will contest generally has to be filed within two years of the time the will is admitted to probate. What happens if one of the parties hides the existence of the will and secretly probates the will? What if they make statements to…Continue readingThe “Discovery Rule” in Probate Disputes
A will has to be executed with the proper legal formalities. This includes having the terms of the will be in writing and signed by the decedent. There have been a number of disputes as to what counts as a writing and what counts as a signature. The courts have developed a body of case…Continue readingSigning a Will With a Rubber Stamp
What happens if someone makes a promise to leave property to another person in their will, but then they update their estate plan and fail to provide the property as promised? Can the person who expected to receive the property recover from the property from the probate estate? If so, what if the promise was…Continue readingBroken Promise to Leave Property to Heir