4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

A will or trust contest can derail your final wishes, rapidly deplete your estate, and tear your loved ones apart.  But with proper planning, you can help your family avoid a potentially disastrous will or trust contest. If you are concerned about challenges to your estate plan, consider the following: Do not attempt “do it yourself” solutions. If you are concerned about an heir contesting your estate plan, the last thing you want to do is attempt to write or update your will or trust on your own.  Only an experienced estate planning attorney can help you put together and [...]

By |2021-09-13T20:01:23+00:00March 10th, 2021|Categories: Estate Planning, POA, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

What to Bring to Your First Meeting with the Estate Planning Attorney

If you are thinking about putting together an estate plan, it is important to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in this area of law. Your initial meeting with an estate planning attorney is a good opportunity to discuss your family’s financial situation as well as your concerns and goals. If you are able to prepare ahead of time for this meeting, there are several items you should bring with you to benefit the most from the consultation. Helpful Information to Bring With You Before meeting with the attorney, consider writing down your goals and wishes for [...]

By |2021-02-12T20:08:30+00:00February 24th, 2021|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

The Harmonious Family that Won’t Fight? The Outcome May Surprise You

Most families are happy families.  They get together for the holidays, share laughs, and tell stories.  Everyone gets along and enjoys each other’s company.  Then, the matriarch or patriarch dies.  Suddenly, years of pent-up resentment and hurt feelings bubble to the surface, and the once-happy family is now embroiled in litigation over the decedent’s estate. When everyone is alive and happy, it is easy to think that nothing will break a family apart.  Many people think that since everyone is getting along, estate planning is not needed because everyone will look out for one another and do what is fair.  [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:13:21+00:00January 7th, 2021|Categories: Estate Planning, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

James Brown’s “Vague” Estate Plan Forced Family into Years of Litigation

James Brown, the legendary singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and bandleader was known to many as the “Godfather of Soul.” Although he intended his estimated $100 million estate to provide for all of his children and grandchildren, his intentions were somewhat vague.  This forced his family into years of litigation which ended up in the South Carolina Supreme Court. Everything Seemed In Order… Brown signed his last will and testament in front of Strom Thurmond, Jr. in 2000. Along with the will that bequeathed personal assets such as clothing, cars, and jewelry, Brown created a separate, irrevocable trust which bequeathed [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:14:08+00:00December 26th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Just Like You Need a Medical Checkup, Your Estate Plan Needs a Checkup!

Whether or not you currently have estate planning documents, one important item to add to your calendar is getting an estate plan checkup. Don’t Have an Estate Plan? If you don’t already have an estate plan, then getting one in place should be at the top of your to-do list. Why?  Because without an estate plan, you and your property may end up in a court-supervised guardianship if you become incapacitated, and your property and your loved ones may end up in a time-consuming and expensive probate proceedings after you die. Worse yet, if you don’t take the time to [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:15:40+00:00December 18th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Probate and Tax Issues

They say nothing is certain except for Death and Taxes. It is no different during Probate! As the Executor / Administrator of an estate, your duty will entail among other things the duty to prepare and file all the tax returns for the Decedent and for the Estate. To help you get started, we will discuss the most common Tax documents that get filed during Probate. 1) The Decedent’s Final Personal Income Tax Return Because taxes are filed in yearly periods (January 1 – December 31), the Final Income Tax for the year of Death of the Decedent will likely [...]

By |2021-01-27T08:32:48+00:00October 29th, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Executor of an Estate in Texas

Executor of an Estate v. Administrator of an Estate In Texas someone is deemed the Executor of and Estate when there is Probate with a Will. If there is no will, but someone is appointed to administrate the Estate, that person will be called the Administrator of the Estate. In general their duties are the same, there might be some small differences, however in most cases, the terms can be used interchangeably. The Executor Duties under Texas Law The main duties that Texas law requires of an Executor / Administrator are: Identify and Collect the assets of the Decedent’s estate; [...]

By |2021-01-27T08:32:27+00:00October 22nd, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process during which someone’s estate gets distributed after their death. In Texas, an estate exists out of all the assets that are owned by someone at the time of their death. Thus, an estate may include: cash, real estate, stocks, bonds, life insurance, retirement accounts, cars, etc. Probate distributes a deceased person’s estate via two ways, the first, easiest and fastest way is to probate a Will. Most Wills in Texas are probated without any Will contest, and on average take 180-360 days, it can be longer depending on the complexity of the Estate, and the [...]

By |2021-01-27T08:31:28+00:00October 15th, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Types of Probate in Texas

They say nothing is certain except for Death and Taxes. It is no different during Probate! As the Executor / Administrator of an estate, your duty will entail among other things the duty to prepare and file all the tax returns for the Decedent and for the Estate. To help you get started, we will discuss the most common Tax documents that get filed during Probate. 1) The Decedent’s Final Personal Income Tax Return Because taxes are filed in yearly periods (January 1 – December 31), the Final Income Tax for the year of Death of the Decedent will likely [...]

By |2021-01-27T08:31:45+00:00October 1st, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Legal Zoom v. Lawyer: The Risks you NEED to know

LegalZoom, Momma-Bear and other do-it-yourself document preparation services advertise that making a Will is as easy. Although, it does not need to be complicated under the guidance of a knowledgeable lawyer, a DIY approach of filling in blanks on standardized forms, is no easy feat. We all heard the saying: “You get what you pay for!” and with legal planning this is most certainly the case. Companies that try sell you a “fast” and “cheap” fix try to make you believe that their product gives you “peace of mind”, yet there is no such thing. On the surface, things will [...]

By |2021-01-22T13:49:52+00:00September 24th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Are Any of These 11 Mistakes Lurking in Your Estate Plan?

1) Lack of Healthcare and Disability Planning. The majority of deaths occur in hospitals or other institutions. Patients may be incapacitated to the point where they can no longer communicate their healthcare wishes. Advance Directives and a Healthcare Power of Attorney can identify healthcare proxy decision-makers, specify wishes for end-of-life care, and provide a formal plan to control financial and property matters. 2) No will or estate plan. Without proper planning, your estate may be tied up in probate court for months or years after your death, at a great emotional and financial cost to your family. 3) Lack of [...]

By |2021-02-05T11:42:41+00:00September 2nd, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Why Your Estate Planning Project Must Morph into a Process

Many people put their estate plan on their to-do list as a one-time project: “Create estate plan” or “Meeting with lawyer 10:30 a.m. Thursday for estate plan.” Thinking of your estate plan as a single project or task to complete and move off your list is a common approach – but it’s also an approach that can land you in considerable hot water.  Here’s why it’s essential to view your estate plan as a process, rather than a project. Process vs. Project: What’s the Difference? A project that takes several steps to complete – like an estate plan – can [...]

By |2021-09-15T16:02:23+00:00August 12th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, POA, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Probate Costs

The bad news: probated estates are subject to a variety of costs from attorneys, executors, appraisers, accountants, courts, and state law. Depending on the probate's complexity, fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars. The good news: probate costs can be reduced by avoiding probate. It’s really that simple. Here are three simple ways to avoid probate costs by avoiding probate: Name a Beneficiary. The probate process determines who gets what when there is no beneficiary designation. So, naming a beneficiary is the easiest way to avoid probate. Common beneficiary designation assets include: Life insurance Annuities Retirement plans Create [...]

By |2021-01-27T11:27:28+00:00April 24th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Dispelling the Top 3 Estate Planning Myths

Like any other complex subject, estate planning has its share of myths and misconceptions.  Understanding the top three estate planning myths will help you to create and maintain a plan that will work the way you expect it to work when it’s needed. Estate Planning Myth #1 – You Don’t Need an Estate Plan Because Your Spouse Will Inherit Everything A common belief is that if you’re married and you don’t have a will or a trust, your spouse will still inherit everything.  Unfortunately this is not always the case.  Who will inherit your estate even if you’re married depends [...]

By |2021-09-13T21:07:50+00:00April 17th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

COVID-19 and Virtual Estate Planning

These are difficult and uncertain times. Deal with COVID-19, changes in work situation, homeschooling, and Stay-at-Home orders can be stressful and flat-out scary. With the Nations focus now on the our personal and communal health estate planning might not be of the greatest priority to you. Or if it is, you might have questions on how you are going to get it done without actually going to see and meet with an attorney. Remote Planning your Legal Documents We can help you create your estate plan from the comfort of your home. We will set up phone of Zoom meetings [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:44:06+00:00April 6th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

3 Tips for Overwhelmed Executors

While it is an honor to be named as an executor of a will or estate, it can also be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being an executor (sometimes called a personal representative) requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled. If you’ve found yourself in the position of “overwhelmed executor,” here are some tips to lighten the load. Get professional help from an experienced attorney. The caveat to being an executor is that once you accept the responsibility, you also [...]

By |2021-02-05T10:52:47+00:00March 3rd, 2020|Categories: wwPROBATE|0 Comments

The Top 2 Ways the Court Gets Involved in Your Estate, and How to Avoid Them

No one wants unnecessary court involvement in their life. But without careful and proactive estate planning, chances are that some aspect of your estate will end up being decided there. Here are two of the most common ways court proceedings can make their way into the management and distribution of your assets, along with the estate planning measures you can take to avoid them. Guardianship and conservatorship If you experience an inability to make decisions on your own behalf, also known as legal incapacity, and you don’t have provisions for what to do in this situation clearly outlined in your [...]

By |2021-01-27T12:29:59+00:00January 28th, 2020|Categories: Estate Planning, Guardianship, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Baltimore Register of Wills Can’t Find Her Father’s Original Last Will, Will Your Family Be Able to Find Yours?

While it’s not unusual for an original last will and testament to be misplaced, it is when your daughter happens to be the Register of Wills for Baltimore City. What is a Register of Wills? In Maryland, the Register of Wills is an elected official in each county and the City of Baltimore who is responsible for overseeing the administration of the estates of deceased persons during the probate process.  As an added benefit, each Maryland Register of Wills provides safekeeping for the last will and testaments of living persons. Why is it Important to Locate an Original Last Will? [...]

By |2021-09-13T20:16:25+00:00November 5th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Oral Will in Texas

I recently had a family come through my doors, asking me to probate their loved-one's recorded will. He had fallen ill without making any prior estate planning and had decided to record his "last wishes" on his phone. Now the question becomes. Is a recorded will valid? In this case it was not, because it was created in 2019! Oral Wills or nuncupative wills were valid in very limited circumstances in Texas until September 1, 2007. This means any spoken will created after September 1, 2007, is not a valid will, according to Texas law. What is an oral or nuncupative [...]

By |2021-02-05T12:33:33+00:00September 7th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments
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