How to Sign Estate Planning Documents in a Pandemic

If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably procrastinated on getting your affairs in order. According to a recent study, only a third of American adults have basic estate planning documents in place. Procrastination is easy for unpleasant tasks. And there are few tasks that seem more unpleasant than estate planning. The process forces us to … Read More

Who Makes Funeral Arrangements When Someone Dies Without a Will in Texas?

A man died without a Will. He died unmarried, with two children, one 19 and the other 17. However, he and his children had been estranged for least ten years. His siblings and parents contacted me to ask who had the legal right to make funeral arrangements for him. Is there a law that outlines … Read More

Planning for a Pandemic

My children asked me yesterday how many times in my life the world has dealt with a pandemic like COVID-19. I couldn’t think of any other. COVID-19 Has Caused Significant Disruption In the past, we’ve had illnesses like Swine Flu and Ebola that have affected isolated communities; however, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced any … Read More

Beware of Social Security Scams

My husband and I disconnected our home phone number recently. We both have cell phones, and it seemed like the only calls we received were sales calls and scams. Receiving a call from someone posing as a representative of a government agency threatening legal action is scary. I remember receiving a frantic phone call from … Read More

Who Are The Heirs of a Single Person With No Surviving Parents or Children Who Dies Without a Will?

When an unmarried person dies without a Will in Texas, the Texas Intestacy Statutes control how their property will be distributed. The intestacy statutes are the Texas legislature’s best guess on how a Texan would want their property distributed when they die. In Texas, if a single person dies without a Will, and has no … Read More

What is a Laughing Heir?

I heard about “laughing heirs” for the first time during my Wills, Trusts, and Estates class in law school. A laughing heir is an heir of an estate so remotely related to a decedent that he or she feels no grief over the decedent’s death. The idea that someone very distantly related to a deceased … Read More