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Estate Planning

Are Simultaneous Signatures Required for a Will?


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 […]

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Estate Planning

Signing a Will With a Rubber Stamp


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 […]

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Estate Planning Probate Law Blog

Can a Letter be Treated as a Handwritten Will in Texas?


Can a handwritten letter that names an executor and does little else count as a valid will in Texas? The court addresses this in Estate of Silverman, No. 14-18-00256-CV (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2019).

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Estate Planning Probate Law Blog

Planning for Special Needs Trusts


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 […]

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Estate Planning Probate Law Blog

What if You Cannot Talk or Sign a Will?


What if You Cannot Talk or Sign a Will? 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 […]

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Estate Planning Probate Law Blog

Common Estate Planning Goals


Common Estate Planning Goals 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 […]

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Estate Planning Probate Law Blog

Lady Bird Deeds in Texas: An Often Overlooked Opportunity


In the states that allow them, such as Texas, Lady bird deeds are a relatively simple and useful tool that should be used more often. The In re Estate of Maggie Williams Turner, No. 06-17-00071-CV (Tex. App.–Texarkana 2017), case provides an opportunity to consider the benefits of these types of deeds.

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Estate Planning Probate Law Blog

Can a Minor Child Open a Bank Account in Texas?


There are times when a minor or child needs to open a checking or savings account.  This begs the question, can a child legally open a bank account?  Texas law addresses this. Minority Laws in Texas Generally In Texas, an individual is a minor if they are younger than 18 years of age. The law […]

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Estate Planning Probate Law Blog

Example of Why a Will Needs to be Updated After Divorce


The Haga v. Thomas, No. 01–12–00218–CV (Tex. App.–Houston (1st Dist.) 2013) case provides an example of why wills need to be updated after divorce.  While Texas law provides a remedy for when a will names a former spouse as executor and beneficiary, as demonstrated in the court case, the remedy does not always apply.