Probate & Estate Planning

Dear Mr. Premack: The Texas legislature is out of session for 2021. Did they pass any new laws that may influence my estate planning? – R.B. In each legislative term, the State Bar of Texas makes recommendations to the legislature about new laws attorneys would like to have passed, and about modifications to estate planning and probate laws which will make the system work more smoothly. However, in this 2021 legislative session the recommended changes to the Estates Code did not pass the legislature. According to those who closely watch the proceedings, there were no substantive objections to the proposals.…
Every adult residing in Texas should have a Texas durable power of attorney. What is a Durable Power of Attorney? A durable power of attorney is a document that will allow you to appoint someone you trust to engage in specified business, financial and legal transactions on your behalf. It is called “durable” because it does not terminate if you become incapacitated. If you become incapacitated and do not have a durable power of attorney, a guardianship may be necessary to allow someone to manage your financial affairs. When Does it go Into Effect? Powers of attorney can become effective…
Occasionally, people die without a Will but have very little in terms of probate assets. They may have owned a modest home, and had a small checking and savings account, but nothing more. In such situations, probate seems like overkill. Their loved ones often ask: “Is there an easier way?” What is Considered a Small Estate in Texas? In Texas, heirs can take advantage of a Small Estate Affidavit procedure in certain limited situations. Heirs can file a Small Estate Affidavit if: The deceased person died without a Will; At least 30 days have passed since the date of death; No…
If you’re like most parents, your beneficiary designation on your life insurance probably lists your minor children as the secondary beneficiaries of your life insurance policy, behind your spouse in the following way: Primary Beneficiary: Spouse Secondary Beneficiary: My Children This is a mistake. What Happens When a Beneficiary is a Minor? In Texas, children under the age of 18 lack the legal capacity to own more than a nominal amount of assets. So, for example, if you and your spouse have named your minor children as the secondary beneficiaries of your insurance policy and you both die together, the…
When it comes to the IRS and audits, there are times when a taxpayer may feel like they can’t win. This is often true. If you have been reading this site for some time, you may recall our article involving Five Audits in Ten Years and the court concluding that this many audits in such…Continue…Continue readingWhat is a Repetitive IRS Audit? The post What is a Repetitive IRS Audit? appeared first on Kreig Mitchell LLC – Texas Attorneys.…
If you own property, your estate will be better handled if you have a Will.  However, if a loved one has died without a Will, you need to know your best options. For most estates, the best answer is opening an administration and a formal declaration of heirship.  Although more expensive than probating a Will, […] The post Dying Without A Will, What Are The Options? appeared first on Pyke & Associates PC.…
My youngest son is 16 years old now. Last summer, as Covid forced lockdowns, he and half a dozen of his friends planned a beach trip to celebrate the end of the pandemic. A friend’s parents volunteered to chaperone and rented a house for June of 2021. The promise of a week together at the beach kept them optimistic for an entire year.  I’m delighted that he’s going to get away with his friends. But as a mom and lawyer, I worry. My son recently broke his ankle while at a friend’s house. Had he been out of town with…
Each state has its own laws. This includes laws that say how one gets married and how one gets divorced. State laws provide a method for accomplishing both acts. The laws of foreign countries usually have similar laws and processes. Religious bodies and affiliations have similar rules and processes. This raises some interesting questions as…Continue…Continue readingIs a Divorce a Divorce for Tax Purposes? The post Is a Divorce a Divorce for Tax Purposes? appeared first on Kreig Mitchell LLC – Texas Attorneys.…
A California appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling requiring the DNA test of Jason Freeman (who has alleged to be the only living descendant and heir of notorious “Helter Skelter” murderer Charles Manson) to determine if he is in fact a blood descendant of the despicable Manson (who died in 2017) in a battle over Manson’s estate. Normally an heir would want a DNA test to show heirship. However, this case was different as Freeman did not want the DNA test. Michael Channels, a memorabilia collector and prison pen pal of the infamous Manson and who has claimed…
IRS publication 590-B issued recently has surprised almost everyone with its erroneous proposal that designated beneficiaries (“DBs”) will need to take required minimum distributions (“RMDs”) of inherited individual retirement accounts (IRAs) in years one through nine following the year of death of the IRA owner. When the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (the “SECURE Act”) became effective in year 2020, it was widely thought there would be no requirement for a RMD since Congress ended the “Stretch IRA” (which permitted individual beneficiaries to stretch their inherited IRA over their life expectancy giving tax-deferred growth). Under the SECURE…