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Executors & Fiduciaries Archives

Review of the prudent investor rule

This blog has previously discussed a trustee's duty to the beneficiaries of a trust. Among other things, a trustee must refrain from self-dealing or conflicts of interest, must manage the trust according to the legal requirements and must act in the best interests of the trust.

Decanting a trust in Texas

Many residents of Houston understand the meaning of "decanting" when the subject is fine wine. Decanting involves pouring a wine that has sufficiently aged into a bottle that allows the wine's sediment to separate from the wine. Decanting also adds oxygen to the aged wine to improve its flavor. The same word -- decanting -- is now being used to describe a technique for managing the assets in irrevocable trusts.

Understanding the fiduciary duty of a personal representative

When a resident of Texas dies, the property of the decedent must be distributed to the decedent's heirs and beneficiaries according to state law. If the person dies with a will, the person who oversees the collection and distribution of the decedent's estate is called an executor. If a person dies without a will, the state will appoint a person called an administrator to oversee the liquidation of the decedent's estate. In both cases, the person who is put in charge of handling the estate is called a "personal representative," and that person owes a fiduciary duty to the estate and to the decedent's heirs and beneficiaries. But, what, exactly, is entailed in that fiduciary duty?

Choosing an executor for a Texas estate

Making a will can be a complex tax. The maker of the will must give considerable thought to who will be beneficiaries under the will, specific bequests of property, charitable donations and similar issues. One of the most important decisions is choosing an executor to carry out the instructions in the will. Many Texans wonder if there are rules or guidelines for choosing an executor. The answers to these questions depend in a large part on the nature of the estate.

Report on artist's business reveals risk of undue influence

Peter Max is one of the best-known visual artists in the world. His brightly colored artwork symbolized the pop art and psychedelic art movements of the 1960s and '70s, and has only grown more popular since then. He has been named the official artist for numerous sports events, including the Super Bowl, the World Series and the World Cup, and his work has adorned album covers, U.S. postage stamps and even the side of a cruise ship. Indeed, in recent years many of his works have been sold at galleries aboard cruise ships.

Creating a trust is advantageous for trustors and beneficiaries

As mentioned previously in this blog, there are many estate-planning options available to those who wish to ensure their legacy is preserved after they are no longer alive. However, the process may seem overwhelming initially for those beginning it, as they struggle to figure out which arrangements will work out for them. One option is to create a trust.

Are you establishing your power of attorney carefully?

There are a number of steps Texas residents can take to ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes after they pass away. However, it is also important to take steps to ensure one's legacy is protected while they are alive but unable to make important financial decisions on their own, such as when their cognitive function declines due to a medical illness like Alzheimer's or due to a sudden accident.

Can I provide directions for digital assets in estate plans?

These days, one's digital presence and digital assets are just as, if not more important, than one's real property and presence. People pay their bills, manage and access their accounts, and even buy cryptocurrency, making their digital assets and information an integral part of their portfolio. When one dies though, digital assets are not treated the same way real property is treated and it is important to keep that in mind as one is drafting their estate plan. Locking heirs and beneficiaries out of inheriting digital assets and executors and fiduciaries without access to them can be detrimental to one's estate plan.