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October 2014 Archives

When beneficiaries are unintentionally left out of an estate plan

When it comes to planning an estate, attorneys must keep an eye out for potential problems and issues that could come up later on down the road. For example, what if a Texas grandfather decides to leave the majority of his estate to his grandchildren. He might create several trust funds to dispense his assets out to his beneficiaries over time. However, what if another grandchild is born a couple years before the grandfather's death, and the grandfather never had time to update his estate plan to include the new grandchild?

Probate options available to Texas estate administrators

In the state of Texas there are three varieties of probate administration. They are distinguished by the amount of court supervision involved. Each has its advantages and each has its disadvantages, depending on your situation and needs. At the Law Office of Sharon C. Stodghill, we are committed to helping you determine which form of probate administration is most appropriate for you.

How to choose trustees for trusts

Setting up a trust is one thing. Choosing the person who will be in charge of investing the assets within the trust is another. That person must be skilled at maintaining records, handling taxes and staying on top of payments to the beneficiaries of the trust. That person is the trustee, and he or she will usually be a family member, trusted friend, financial professional or perhaps yourself. Alternatively, hybrid trusts exist in which a Texas trustee is named to administer the trust, but a financial professional is hired to invest the assets.

What is estate administration?

When a Texas resident passes away, his or her estate must be distributed among heirs and beneficiaries. The estate administration process refers to the action of gathering the decedent's assets, paying off the decedent's debts and ultimately distributing what is left to heirs. Estate administration can be a complicated process for the average person to carry out.

Texas estate planning in the digital age

Thinking about the day our lives will come to an end is frightening, and most Texas residents put it off for as long as possible. What that means is that they put off estate planning too. In fact, as unbelievable as it may sound, over half of Americans who have children do not have a fully planned estate on file.