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Dear Mr. Premack: My husband and I already have a Will that we got online, but more research on Google seems to show us that Wills may not be the best approach for privacy. We would like to avoid probate using a Revocable Living Trust. Can you run through the pros- and cons- of that type of estate planning? – T.O. There are several different kinds of Trusts. Many are set up by you solely to benefit someone else. The exception is a Living Trust. It is set up by you to solve your own estate and probate problems and…
Dear Mr. Premack: My brother has unexpectedly died of Covid. He was just 61 years old and refused the vaccine. He never married or had children. He worked with lots of people, and that is where we think he got exposed. He was hospitalized for nearly three weeks. His broker called me after he found out about the death to say our mother was listed as beneficiary of a rather large brokerage account. But she died nearly five years ago, so the broker said the account would be paid to my brother’s estate. I know he never made a Will…
Dear Mr. Premack: My wife and I have different opinions on disposition of our properties. Can you outline the procedures we should follow in order to take our community property and fairly convert it into separate property? In that manner, we each can make dispositions as we see fit. — L.F. In Texas, all property acquired during marriage is community property except for 1) the things you owned before marriage, 2) items you received during marriage as a gift or inheritance, and 3) items that are partitioned between spouses by written agreement. Those items are separate property. The Texas Family…
Dear Mr. Premack: My parents are living. They still live at home and are doing fine. One of their friends died and the family had to do a probate. What is probate and when is it necessary? Does it have to happen? What can be done to reduce the chances of needing probate? –K.S. One part of Probate is the process of “proving” that a Will is valid. Another part of probate is distributing the remaining assets to the intended heirs. When your Will is properly made, you are clearly aware of it. The witnesses are aware of it. Someone…
by Paul Premack, JD, CELA The Texas Legislature passed SB 968, and the Governor signing it into law on June 16, 2021. It went into effect immediately. SB 968 creates a new provision in Chapter 161 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, numbered as Section 161.0085. By state law, businesses are banned from asking a customer about the customer’s Covid-19 vaccination status. The business cannot condition entry to, access to, or provision of services to any customer based on that customer’s vaccination status or post-transmission recovery. If a business does ask about a customer’s vaccination status, it loses eligibility…
Dear Mr. Premack: My wife and I completed a Community Property Survivorship Agreement with you years ago. We remember that the primary reason for the Agreement is to avoid probate. We have some questions and hope you can give us some answers. Thanks. – R.W.B. Question: Does having a Community Property Survivorship Agreement really avoid probate? Does it have to go before a Judge when one of us dies? Answer: A Community Property Survivorship Agreement (CPSA) passes title to the surviving spouse without court action when the first spouse dies. It is a written agreement prepared by your Attorney based…
Dear Mr. Premack: My husband and I recently moved to Texas from Illinois. Do we need to make any changes to our Wills? – RS Welcome! Texas is a community property state while Illinois is a common law state. Your out-of-state Wills should be modified. Here are some Texas formalities, among others which your experienced Texas legal counsel should consider so your desires can be fulfilled. A) Texas allows for appointment of an Independent Executor. If the Wills have the correct instructions, your Executor will not need to be supervised by a Judge after you die. B) Texas allows for…
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.…
Dear Mr. Premack: I am approaching my 60’s and have what I think is a problem which is more common that many people would expect. I am unmarried, have no children, have no siblings, and my parents are deceased. I am aging solo. Yes, because I didn’t have children, I am financially stable. I also have a few close friends who are near my age. I just don’t know how to plan for the future, when someday I may become ill, need a caregiver, need a financial assistant, and someday need to leave my remaining assets to someone when I…
Dear Mr. Premack: My father, a widower, has an account into which Social Security made his monthly deposit. He died on March 30 this year, and on the very next day a deposit appeared in his account from the Treasury marked “economic impact payment”. He had been quite comfortable and paying high taxes for years. His deposited amount was lower than we heard others were receiving. Was this deposited money the pandemic payment that Congress just authorized? Do I have to return the money, or does it stay in the account? – H.O. This stimulus payment, authorized by Congress and…