The Texas Transfer on Death Deed

Effective September 1, 2015, Texas joined the growing number of states that allow owners of real estate to transfer property to their beneficiaries outside the probate process by creating a Texas Transfer on Death Deed. The deed works like a beneficiary designation on a retirement plan or an insurance policy. It allows you to name … Read More

DIY Planning Can Be a Nightmare!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a phone call from a woman whose ex-boyfriend had died, naming her as the sole beneficiary and executor of his multimillion dollar estate. Despite her ex-boyfriend’s substantial wealth, he had forgone the advice of a lawyer and prepared a Will using DIY software. He told her verbally that … Read More

Are Stepchildren Legal Heirs in the State of Texas?

When someone dies without a Will in Texas, their assets pass according to a statutory formula that takes into account a number of factors, such as whether they are married or single, whether they have children, and if they are married, whether their property is classified as separate or community property. The Texas Intestacy statutes … Read More

What is a Pooled Special Needs Trust?

Special needs trusts are trusts that hold assets for a disabled beneficiary and distribute funds in a way that preserves the beneficiary’s eligibility to receive public benefits. Pooled trusts are a special needs trusts established by non-profit organizations. Those who wish to join a pooled trust sign a joinder agreement, which dictates the trust’s terms, and then … Read More

Does Property Passed by Transfer on Death Deed Receive a Step-Up in Basis?

When someone receives a gift, the recipient of the gift is not responsible for reporting the value of any gifts as income. Rather, it is the gift-giver, or donor of the property, who is required to pay gift taxes if the value of the gift exceeds the annual gift tax exclusion. Taxes become an issue … Read More

Is an Advance Directive Signed In Another State Valid in Texas?

A living will, or directive to physicians, is a document that allows you to instruct your physicians not to use artificial methods to extend your life in the event you are diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible condition. A question I often get asked is whether an advice directive signed in another state is considered … Read More