Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

Is an Attorney Absolutely Required for Estate Planning?

I received a new client application requesting information about how to set up a power of attorney and Will. The person who submitted the application said she was doing so on behalf of an uncle who was so ill and incapacitated that he could not sign anything. He had not previously executed a Will orRead More

Where there’s a Will…

A few weeks ago, a journalist emailed me to ask if she could interview me for an article she was writing. The article she wrote appeared in the Statesman 50ATX Guide for Young Boomers and Beyond. Below is the article as it appeared. You can also read the article online by clicking on the followingRead More

Can I Change My Will Before My Divorce is Final?

There is a Texas statute that prohibits Courts from entering any orders that prevent parties in a divorce proceeding from changing his or her Will. Section 253.001 of the Texas Estates Code provides that a Court may not prohibit a person from executing a new Will, executing a codicil or an existing Will, or revokingRead More

Should I Name My Estate as the Beneficiary of my IRA?

A client was confused. He knew that the federal estate tax only applied to estates in excess of $11 million, so he didn’t understand why significant taxes were due on an IRA he inherited from a relative who did not have a large estate. After discussing the matter with him, I discovered that his relativeRead More

Avoiding Guardianship in Old Age

A few weeks ago, a client alerted me to an episode of the John Oliver show about guardianships gone wrong. A guardian is someone appointed by a court to act on behalf of a person who is unable to make responsible decisions regarding his or her daily affairs because of their age, disability, injury, orRead More

Can My Husband Give His Children Our Homestead If He Owned It Before We Married?

I received a note from a concerned wife. Her husband had purchased the home in which they reside two years before they were married. Throughout their marriage, she contributed to paying the mortgage and paying bills associated with its upkeep; however, she discovered that he was writing a Will giving the home to his childrenRead More