Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

Will Your Surviving Spouse Disinherit Your Children

I have written before that if you are part of a blended family, making an outright distribution to your spouse may result in your children from your prior marriage being disinherited. Why? Because when you make an outright distribution to your spouse, your spouse has the power to do whatever he or she wants with … Read More

Can I Name Someone Other Than My Spouse As Beneficiary Of My 401(k)?

A concerned relative contacted me. Her cousin had been married for eight years before her recent death. Her deceased cousin had a son from a prior marriage. Her cousin started a 401(k) plan three decades before her marriage and she wondered whether her cousin’s son would be entitled to any portion of the 401(k). A … Read More

Do I Need to Execute a Lady Bird Deed before Applying for Medicaid?

A concerned daughter called me recently. She said she needed a Lady Bird Deed prepared by the end of the day. When I asked why she was in a rush, she explained that her mother was going to be applying for Medicaid the next day, and someone had told her that the Lady Bird Deed … Read More

Will Jointly Owned Property Automatically Pass to My Spouse When I Die?

A lot of people mistakenly assume that all jointly-held property automatically passes to a surviving spouse when one spouse dies. That is not necessarily the case. Jointly-held property can be held as tenants in common or as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Most couples who own property jointly in Texas own the property as … Read More

Have You Reviewed Your Will Lately?

I always schedule a document review conference with my clients before they sign their Wills. It gives my clients the opportunity to ask questions they may have about various provisions in their documents to that they have a clear understanding of all the provisions in their documents before they sign them. One of the things … Read More

Will the Balance of a Joint Bank Account Automatically Pass to My Spouse When I Die?

Most spouses have at least one joint bank account. Both spouses contribute to the account and can write checks or make withdrawals out of it. The fact that it is a joint account causes many to assume that when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse will automatically inherit the balance of the account. That is … Read More