Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

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 revoking … Read 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 relative … Read 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, or … Read 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 children … Read More

Can a Relative Notarize My Estate Planning Documents?

According to the Texas Secretary of State, there is no rule that specifically prohibits a notary from notarizing documents for a relative; however, notaries should refrain from notarizing any documents if they are a party to the document or if there is a potential that they may be financially or beneficially interested in the transaction. … Read More

Will My Estate Have to Pay an Estate Tax?

NB: For information on the current state of the estate tax in light of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, click here. One of the biggest issues of concern for my clients is the federal estate tax. Their concern stems from the fact that some politicians have labeled it the “death tax,” which gives them the … Read More