Law Office of Sharon C. Stodghill

Call Us Today

713-464-6412

Estate Administration Archives

Late celebrity chef's beneficiaries could be up for dispute

It can be difficult for Texans - even those with significant assets and wealth - to compare themselves to famous people and their estate plans. However, important lessons can be gleaned when examining the legal issues that often surround a celebrity and their estate after death. Complicated factors often muddy the water with these individuals and it makes the distribution of assets, the organization of their wills, the determination of beneficiaries and other factors a topic of discussion. Such is the case with the late chef, television host and author, Anthony Bourdain.

What can spur a judge to modify or reform Texas wills?

A Texan who crafts a will does so to ensure that the assets and anything else he or she owns will go to the designated heirs. Regardless of the intent and the comprehensive nature of the document, legal issues can often arise with wills and other estate planning devices. In some cases, this will necessitate judicial intervention. Understanding when the law dictates that there can be judicial modification or reformation of a will is important when the legal issues are such that it must be done to make certain the document achieves its desired ends. As always, legal assistance with handling estate complexities is a must.

Probate issues, applications and necessary information in Texas

When a loved one dies in Texas, handling estate complexities can be an arduous task. Probate issues are part of that. Since a will does not go into effect until it has gone through probate, this is not to be ignored. Once the will has been admitted into probate, it will go into effect. Knowing important factors in probate, such as who can apply for probate and what information must be provided for the probate to move forward, are foundational and should be understood from the start.

How the federal government can affect heirs' tax responsibilities

There is an ongoing debate in Washington D.C. about the estate tax and how it will be handled. Texans who have a substantial enough portfolio where it will be affected by the estate tax if it stays in place or if it is repealed should keep track of the proposals and potential changes that might be made as it will be important to their estate planning and how it affects their heirs. In general, people who are considered wealthy are affected by the estate tax. However, the argument to repealing it is to make certain that those who have hefty assets will have a chance to maintain their wealth.

Overview of the claims process in Texas estates

One of the most important part of estate administration is the reviewing and paying of claims against a deceased Houston, Texas, resident's estate. After all, very few people leave this world with owing absolutely no money to anyone, especially if they have a final doctor or hospital bill that they incurred during their last illness.

How do I estimate the value of the family-owned business?

A previous post on this blog discussed the important duty the executor of an estate has to value the property of the estate accurately, particularly when the person who died had a lot of wealth and may be subject to federal taxes as a result.

Placing a value on an estate's property

Although sometimes not discussed as much as it really should be, one of the most important legal issues that comes up in the estate administration process is the valuation of the property of the estate. Valuation is particularly important because putting the wrong value on a piece of property can mean the estate does not get divided correctly in accord with terms of the will or Texas law, as the case may be. Poor property valuation can also create tension between heirs and beneficiaries and even lead to litigation.

Preventing family fights over your estate

Watching your family grow and change, you may feel sad when you see the tensions that exist among your children, stepchildren or other family members. Perhaps you even anticipate that, after you leave this world, those tensions may become worse, especially if your heirs squabble over your estate. While it may be tempting to leave it all to fate, doing so may result in lifelong discord among your loved ones and bitterness directed at your memory.

Don’t navigate the estate administration process alone

Losing a loved one is one of the most stressful and traumatic experiences a person can go through. While dealing with the emotional impact, there are unfortunately a number of practical and important matters that need to be dealt with. When it comes to estate administration, having an experienced and compassionate guide is crucial to making sure the wishes of the deceased are carried out properly and without incident. If you’ve never gone through this process before, however, it is important to understand exactly what estate administration is and how it can affect you and your family.

How trusts can be used to protect a child if a marriage ends

Texans who are considering ways to provide for their loved ones after they have passed will frequently be torn between wills and trusts. For some, the idea of inserting a trust into the will is taken into consideration. There could be a variety of reasons for this, but one that is common is to save on taxes after the testator has died. For 2017, the estate tax exemption in almost $5.5 million for an individual and $11 million for a couple. However, this justification is being surpassed by parents who are trying to protect a child's assets if there is a divorce. Understanding how a trust can protect these assets is key when deciding if this is the strategy to take.