Law Office of Sharon C. Stodghill

Call Us Today

713-464-6412

March 2018 Archives

Understanding a valid will and why it might be challenged

When a loved one dies in Texas, heirs or prospective heirs who believe there is an issue with the decedent's will often want to move forward with a legal dispute over the document. There can be a variety of reasons for this. What is important, however, is knowing the law when it comes to wills. There are several situations in which challenging a will can come about. Will formation and its requirements are key to having a valid will. If there is a problem in one or more of these areas, then it could be the foundation for a challenge.

New tax laws not the only reason to update an estate plan

Texas residents who were estimating how the new tax laws would affect them should know about the changes to the estate tax. The amount that is exempted has doubled to around $11.2 million for an individual and twice that for couples. While this is important to those with a large amount assets and who would like to ensure that the amount subject to tax is minimized, there are reasons to think about estate planning and periodically update documents regardless of the size of the estate.

Have you considered how an estate plan could benefit you?

Many people may live their lives without giving much thought to when they will die. While this live-in-the-moment type of attitude may seem positive and uplifting, it may not benefit everyone to avoid thinking about their potential demises. If you die without an estate plan, your affairs and your loved ones could face complications.

Trusts are often preferable than simply willing assets to heirs

Texans who are crafting an estate plan might want to keep the document as simple as possible and give their heirs their inheritance immediately. This is especially true when the testator has adult children and believes they are of sufficient education, age and maturity that they can handle the inheritance which, in some cases, might be substantial. Leaving the assets to the adult children outright is what is frequently done. Trusts are generally perceived to be for children under the age of 18 and those who need special assistance. But trusts can also be valuable for adult children.

Common mistakes made when crafting living trusts

Estate planning strategies inevitably differ based on the individual's needs. Texans who are in the process of deciding what form of estate plan they want to use might be confused by all the available options. Trusts are a common method of estate planning. However, those who have a revocable living trust could be missing out on the advantages they can use with a living trust. Knowing those advantages is step one in utilizing and maximizing them.