Prepare for the Death of the Stretch IRA

No laws affecting retirement plans are final yet, but there are certain changes on the horizon that may require tweaks to your estate plans. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (“SECURE”) Act recently passed the House with enormous bipartisan support (417-3!). If adopted by the Senate, it will significantly alter the way retirement … Read More

Can I Name a Relative Who Lives Abroad as Guardian of My Children?

A colleague in a listserv to which I subscribe asked an interesting question: Can parents name a relative who lives in a foreign country as guardian of their children? Here’s the situation: The clients are foreign nationals permanently residing in US, and their children are US citizens, having been born in this country. Neither husband … Read More

Is Property My Spouse and I Owned in Another State Community Property or Separate Property?

John and Jane Doe didn’t always live in Texas. Earlier in their marriage, they lived in another state, where John purchased a house the couple lived in and raised their children. Although they have since moved to Texas, they still own the house and spend summers there. How is the out-of-state property characterized as community … Read More

What are the Rights and Responsibilities of a Life Tenant in Texas?

A life tenant is a person who has the right to possess real property for the term of a measuring life. The measuring life is typically the life of a grantee (the person to whom a conveyance is made), although a third person can also be a measuring life. For example, Joe could grant a … Read More

A Poor Prognosis? Call Your Estate Planning Lawyer!

I worked with a young couple last year. Both were in good health. They were happily married, had two small children, and were busy balancing their careers and young family. Their plan was typical: If one died, they wanted the surviving spouse to inherit outright with minimal fuss. Their wills made an outright distribution to … Read More

Did the Texas Legislature Create a Back Door for the Creation of a Self-Settled Asset Protection Trust?

Trusts with spendthrift provisions protect assets from claims of creditors. The inclusion of a spendthrift provision in a trust provides the beneficiary with asset protection because it prevents the beneficiary or any other creditor from forcing a trustee to turn over trust assets to satisfy a judgment or a claim. Some states and foreign countries … Read More