Articles Posted in Estate Planning

In the recent Texas case of In Re Estate of Tillotson, the administrator of a deceased individual’s estate filed a motion to have the deceased individual’s husband turn over the deceased individual’s community property interest in several accounts. When the trial court granted the motion, the surviving spouse appealed. 

The court of appeals found that the administrator had the power to file a motion seeking partition of community property. The appeals court noted that the state’s estate code provides that an executor or administrator through a written application can request the partition and distribution of an estate. The court also noted that if an intestate deceased spouse survives a child, the deceased spouse’s undivided one-half interest in the community estate passes to the deceased spouse’s children. 

The appeals court went on to discuss the Texas estate code that permits a surviving spouse to seek a partition but noted that this code does not make this right exclusive to the surviving spouse. Consequently, the court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s order.

If you decide to create a trust as part of your estate plan, there are various tasks that you must successfully navigate including appointing a trustee who can oversee the trust. A trustee performs the critical task of both managing the trust and distributing assets in a manner that conforms to the trust’s terms. 

While a trustee performs a critical task, many people have misconceptions about the role. For example, some people think that picking a friend or family member to serve as a trustee is a wise idea because it’s a potentially cost-effective option. In reality, there are some distinct benefits to selecting a professional trustee. This article reviews some of the important to consider when deciding whether to select a professional trustee or a loved one to function as a trustee for your trust.

Experience Can Prove Helpful

Older people are at an elevated risk of being adversely affected by Covid-19. Another group harshly impacted by Covid-19 are individuals with medical conditions like respiratory illness and kidney disease. Both of these populations make up a large number of the nursing home residents in this country. 

Unfortunately, various factors at nursing homes can exacerbate the spread of the disease including things like employees who work in multiple facilities, frequent physical interaction between residents and staff, sharing resident rooms, and shortages of personal protective equipment, understaffing. These factors have led to nursing homes spreading various diseases and providing an undesirable environment during a pandemic. If your loved one resides in a nursing home, there are some critical details you should understand about Covid-19 and what you can do to protect your loved one. 

How Nursing Homes Are Trying to Control the Virus

Estate planning is a critical process in planning for your eventual death or incapacity. Unfortunately, however, too many people neglect estate planning or do the bare minimum. In reality, however, to make sure that your goals are achieved, it’s critical to treat estate planning seriously. This means engaging in activities like routinely updating your estate plan and speaking with an estate planning attorney if you have concerns about your estate. To make the most of your estate plan, it’s also a good idea to consider the various wise asset location strategies that you might utilize to make the most of your estate. 

What Qualifies As “Smart” Can Change

To a degree, smart asset location is subjective. While one person might decide that their assets should only pass on to charity, another individual might decide to pass on their life savings to their children. Often, it’s not the question of how much is left behind but instead what is left after a person’s death or incapacity and who receives what. 

Senator Bernie Sanders recently introduced the “99.5% Act”, which is focused on the assets of the top 0.5% of wealthy Americans. This marks the first legislation introduced following President Joe Biden’s coming into office that would result in the lowering of the federal estate tax exemption. For many people interested in passing on assets to loved ones, it’s critical to understand the nature of these changes.

Changes Introduced by the Bill

The bill would lead to several critical changes in many of the country’s federal tax provisions, which include:

Many people realize that life insurance can play a valuable role if someone unexpectedly passes away. What a much smaller group of people is that life insurance can play a critical role in estate planning because it can be utilized to provide liquidity when needed. 

With adequate estate planning, insurance proceeds can then be used to pay for things like estate tax. In the hopes that you make the most of life insurance in your estate plan, this article reviews some critical details to remember about utilizing life insurance.

# 1 – Avoid Common Mistakes

Business owners led hectic lives. Understandably, some things on business owner’s “To Do” lists end up getting delayed. Estate planning, however, should not be something that ends up postponed. Not only is estate planning critical for business owners, but some unique issues arise. This article reviews just some of the unique and nuanced issues that business owners often must navigate while estate planning.

# 1 – Unintentional PPP Borrower Change of Ownership

To respond to the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CARES Act was signed into law in March 2020. As part of the implementation, the Small Business Administration as well as the Department of Treasury implemented the PPP Program so lenders could loan money to both small and medium-sized businesses to maintain their payroll as well as hire workers who were laid off and cover applicable overhead. These loans are forgiven provided the proceeds are used in accordance with applicable laws.

In the recent case of Odom v. Coleman, a brother and sister initiated legal action against another in a matter involving their father’s estate. The dispute between the two siblings focused on whether the father’s estate should be reformed in accordance with Texas Estates Code Section 255.451(a)(3) that allows courts to modify or reform a will if necessary to correct a “scrivener’s error” in the terms of the will to conform with the testator’s intent which must be based on clear and convincing evidence.

The Will In This Case

The will in this case contained a residuary clause that passed on personal property to the son and then the daughter. A rigid interpretation of the will found that the deceased man’s real property would not be included in the residuary cause instead passed through intestacy. The son then initiated legal action to revise the will to omit the word “personal” in the residuary clause. The trial court ultimately for the son and the daughter appealed.

Regardless of your age, it’s critical to engage in estate planning to make sure you assert adequate choices over your financial and medical choices. Estate planning is also critical regardless of your economic status. While you will need to make estate planning decisions as you get older, even young people should also make your wishes known if anything happens. The Covid-19 pandemic has fortunately made many people appreciate the importance of being prepared for the unexpected regardless of age.

While estate planning is important regardless of how old a person is, a person’s estate planning needs to change as a person ages. This often means that younger people need fewer estate planning documents, but require more as they age. This article reviews some critical estate planning steps you should remember regardless of your age.

# 1 – Update Beneficiary Designations

If you have a Google account, you have various data as well as tools to manage your account. What many people fail to realize, however, is that you can tell Google how to manage your account as part of your estate plan. People rely on Google accounts and applications for various purposes including managing documents, photos, and spreadsheets. Google accounts are also becoming increasingly common because a Google account is needed before a person can use Android phones, tables, or other Android-based devices. Managing digital assets, however, is often overlooked when people engage in estate planning. To better prepare you for navigating this process, this article reviews some critical details to consider about implementing your Google account into your estate plan.

# 1 – Make An Estate Plan for Your Google Account

There are several important steps that you should take while creating an estate plan for your Google account. These steps include the following:

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