When a loved one passes away, cleaning out the house can feel like an impossible task. Not only is it difficult to know what needs to be done in a practical sense but it is emotionally devastating. Keeping organized is key. There are legal, practical and humanitarian considerations. First of all, make sure that any pets are fed, watered and taken care of right away. This is primary. Secondly, … [Read more...] about How to Clean out and Care for a Home After Someone Passes
Our pets are family members. They are also very vulnerable to changes in family situation. Just like other family members, they deserve consideration when you are planning for the future. Have the conversation. Regardless of your age, if you have a pet, you should always consider what would happen if you were gone. If you have a spouse or partner, what would happen if the two of you … [Read more...] about What Will Happen to your Pet if You Die?
In order to transfer Texas title to a vehicle that was owned by a person who is now deceased, certain steps must be followed. First of all, it must be determined if there is a lien on the vehicle. If money is still owed, it can't be transferred until the loan is paid off. Secondly, who should get the vehicle? Is there a Will? If there is one, and the Will was probated, then the Executor … [Read more...] about How to Transfer Vehicles After a Person Passes Away
"Family heirlooms" can present a problem when drafting a will or when dividing property in an estate. When I am helping clients with their wills, I have noticed that this is often a sticking point. They sometimes agonize over which family member should inherit an item, a collection, or a piece of land. Since I help Executors in probate cases, I also see how heirlooms are ultimately divided. I … [Read more...] about Family Heirlooms: Gift or Guilt?
Most people think that their Last Will and Testament is a “simple” one, but that is not always the case. A “simple will” is a will that leaves the person’s entire estate to their spouse, or to their children equally. Or to their spouse first, then to their children equally if their spouse does not survive them. Having a step-family can create a need for a more complex will (but not … [Read more...] about What is a “Simple Will”?
Most people in their twenties do not consider getting a will to be high on their list of priorities. That is understandable. However, there are many reasons why you should consider having a will. Here are the most important ones: You have a child (whether the child lives with you or not) You have any assets (even a bank account, car, or personal items) You have debts and they could … [Read more...] about I’m too Young to have a will…. aren’t I?
"Beneficiary designations" transfer property to beneficiaries after the owner is deceased. They are used for bank accounts, investments, insurance policies and the like. Often people fill them out once, then forget about them. They may not update them for years, or ever. However, life goes on. Divorce, death of a beneficiary, estrangement of family members, children growing up, aging of … [Read more...] about Why Beneficiary Designations are important
Deciding what to put into a Last Will and Testament is a VERY individual choice! We prepare wills that are a few pages long, and also wills that are like a booklet. And the difference is not always how much money and property that the client has. So, how specific should you be? Generally, we advise against putting in provisions that may make it difficult for your Executor to do his or her … [Read more...] about How Specific Should Your Will Be?