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February 2017 Archives

"Undue influence" in estate administration

"Undue influence," is a legal term that many Texas residents might not be familiar with. It can come up in contract situations, but for the most part our readers will likely hear this term in regards to estate planning. Trustees, executors and fiduciaries, along with heirs and beneficiaries, need to be familiar with the term.

Making a will to avoid Texas intestate laws

For many different reasons, Texas residents avoid the issue of estate planning. For some, they just don't like the idea of making a plan for when they die. For others, it is just a form of willful neglect: they know they need to have a will or some other form of estate plan, but they just keep putting it off for another day. And then there are those who don't think they need an estate plan.

Strategic use of Miller Trusts in estate planning

As our population ages, more and more of us are finding the need for long-term care such as that provided by assisted living facilities, home health aides, residential care communities and nursing homes. These types of caregiving, which range from minimal, part-time assistance provided by an in-home provider to full-service nursing home facilities with trained medical staff, can make a huge difference in the quality of life of both patients and their loved ones. The problem, of course, is that long-term care is notoriously expensive. Even lower-tier nursing home and other residential facilities can easily cost upwards of $10,000 per month. That kind of expense can quickly run through a person's entire life savings or leave their family destitute trying to pay for it.

The biggest parts of estate administration

Being named the executor of an estate is a big responsibility. First and foremost, it shows the trust that the a person had in you -- trust that you would be the right person to address the many different issues that can pop up in the process of estate administration. But, for many people, being the executor of an estate is a new experience. As a recent article pointed out, there are some big parts of estate administration that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

What are some of the best estate planning strategies?

Houston residents who begin the estate planning process want to get it right the first time. The problem is, most people who begin the estate planning process have quite a few questions about the options that are available. So, what are some of the best estate planning strategies that Houston residents should consider?

The power of trustees, executors and fiduciaries

Residents of the Houston area likely know that having an estate plan is important, but they may avoid this process for a variety of reasons. For most, it is probably that they just don't understand many of the terms involved, which can admittedly be quite legal-sounding, like "trustees," "executors" and "fiduciaries." It is important to know what these terms refer to and what power these roles hold in an estate plan.

Different power of attorney documents

Most of our readers in Houston know that estate plans aren't made up of just a will. A good, comprehensive estate plan will have several other documents included as well, especially if avoiding probate litigation is a goal. And, among the most important documents in an estate plan are the power of attorney documents. These documents come into play when a person becomes incapacitated or is otherwise unable to make their own decisions.

Facing the possibility of probate litigation

When Texas residents begin to think about their estate planning needs, they will likely start to hear a term they may not be familiar with: "probate." Probate courts are the courts that hear the cases having to do with the distribution of assets upon a person's death. For anyone who has a will as their main estate planning document, the estate going through the probate court process will be a necessary part of what occurs upon death.

Beneficiaries can be concerned about preserving assets

Many of our readers have experienced the slow heartbreak of watching an elderly relative's health deteriorate to the point of near incapacity. While the primary concern in this type of situation is obviously the health of the relative, there may be important issues involving that person's assets that need to be addressed as well. If the relative hasn't laid out the appropriate estate plan, the potential beneficiaries can have increased concerns about the preservation of the assets involved.