Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

Does Every Estate Have To Pay An Estate Tax?

I often get calls and emails from Texans concerned about the amount of federal estate taxes that will be owed after their death. They worry that their estates won’t be liquid enough to pay those taxes and that their families will have to sell property to satisfy the estate’s tax liability. The vast majority of … Read More

How To Talk To Your Family About Estate Planning

Even in very close families, discussions about estate planning are uncomfortable. It’s difficult to know the right time to bring up the subject, or even what to say. Children of elderly parents often worry that talking about estate planning will cause parents to think they are rushing them to the grave or care way too … Read More

Will a Uniform Transfers to Minors Account Negatively Impact My Child With Special Needs?

Uniform Transfers to Minors Accouts (UTMA) accounts are an easy and inexpensive way for parents, grandparents and other well meaning individuals to make irrevocable gifts to minors without the expense of creating a formal trust. They are easily established by opening the account in the custodian’s name “as custodian for [name of minor] under the … Read More

Is Real Property Purchased with an Inheritance during Marriage Separate or Community Property?

Texas is a community property state. Property is classified as community or separate property depending on when and how it was acquired. In Texas, all property acquired during marriage is presumed to be community. Property acquired before a marriage and during the marriage by gift, devise or descent is characterized as separate property. Property retains … Read More

Will My Estate Be Responsible For My Student Loans?

Statistically, having a bachelor’s degree doubles your lifetime earning potential. But that degree often comes with a high cost, which most families are unable to afford without a loan. According to a recent study, approximately two-thirds of college students borrow money to finance their education, and the average debt for college graduates in 2010 was … Read More

Should I Deed My Home To My Kids Before I Die?

Not too long ago someone called me wondering if he really needed a will. He explained that his mother had transferred her home to him many years before she died. When she died, probate wasn’t necessary.  “Is there a reason why I shouldn’t do that?” he asked. Our conversation brought to mind a story I … Read More