Cain & Kiel Law

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Tarrant County Contested Will LawyerWhen a beneficiary or family member of a deceased individual believes that the individual's will does not reflect the decedent’s actual wishes, they have the right to contest the will. Unfortunately, will contests are often extremely stressful and emotionally charged. If the dispute advances to litigation, the case becomes even more complex.

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method in which a third party facilitates constructive discussions and negotiations between the opposing sides. If you are involved in a dispute regarding a deceased person’s estate, mediation may be a worthwhile option.

How Does Mediation Work?

One of the most common situations in which a will is contested is one in which a party believes that the decedent intended for them to receive certain property, but the will does not reflect this. Will contests can also occur when beneficiaries believe that the decedent's property has been distributed unfairly or in a way that the decedent would never have chosen.


Hood County Estate Planning LawyerTexas law allows individuals to dictate how their possessions and property are distributed upon their death. A last will and testament is the most common estate planning document used for this purpose. However, a will must be valid in order for the court to follow the directions contained in the document. There are many different reasons why an individual can contest, or challenge, the validity of a will. Arguing that the will-maker, or testator, did not have the testamentary capacity is a common reason for will contests in Texas.

What is Testamentary Capacity?

Like any legal document, a will must be entered into willingly. If an individual does not have the cognitive ability to understand their will and what they are agreeing to, the will is not valid. If someone contests a will on the basis of lack of testamentary capacity, they are essentially arguing that the testator did not understand what was happening when they created and signed the will.

Concerns about testamentary capacity are most commonly seen with elderly individuals, people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease, or individuals with mental health conditions.


Tarrant County Living Trust AttorneyEstate planning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Each person's individual situation and wishes must to be taken into account when constructing a plan that meets their needs and the needs of their loved ones. One of the most popular estate planning choices that may be useful to you is a living trust—a written agreement that designates how assets are distributed upon death or incapacitation. Living trusts can offer numerous advantages, including avoiding probate court, reducing estate taxes, and providing more control over the distribution of assets.

Assets Transferred with a Living Trust Do Not Have to Pass Through Probate

Probate is a long, often costly court process involved in settling a deceased person's estate. During this time, assets are frozen until the courts have sorted through them all and distributed them. Understandably, most people want to avoid putting their surviving loved ones through the probate process. Unlike assets transferred through a will, assets transferred through a living trust avoid probate for faster and simpler distribution.

Living Trusts May Help Reduce Estate Taxes

Estate taxes can be a considerable expense, but certain living trusts may help reduce them. You can set up a living trust as a revocable trust or an irrevocable trust. With an irrevocable trust, assets are transferred out of the grantor's estate into the trust, reducing the value of the estate and thus, the amount of taxes due upon death.


Hood County trusts attorneyMost people equate estate planning with writing a last will and testament. While a will is a crucial element of most estate plans, it is not the only estate planning instrument available. Individuals with complex estates, significant wealth, or special needs often require additional planning tools. An irrevocable trust is an estate planning tool that can be used to provide asset protection, tax benefits, and asset management. However, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of an irrevocable trust before deciding to utilize it.

The Difference Between a Revocable Trust and an Irrevocable Trust

Trusts allow the trust maker, called the grantor, to transfer assets to the trust under the care of a third party, called a trustee. The trustee manages the assets and handles the distribution of assets to beneficiaries. Unlike assets distributed through a will, assets held in a trust usually do not have to pass through probate. 

Revocable trusts can be amended or revoked by the grantor at any time during his or her lifetime. In contrast, an irrevocable trust cannot be changed once it is established. 


Tarrant County estate planning lawyersIf your child has a severe physical or mental disability, you know just how important it is for them to have the right type of care. One concern many parents have is what will happen to their disabled child after they have passed away. Your child may depend on you for daily needs like bathing and eating as well as money management and other financial needs. How will your child receive care and assistance after you are no longer around to provide this care yourself?

A special needs trust is an estate planning instrument that allows you to place funds in a trust that are used for your child’s benefit. Read on to learn more about the advantages of using a trust and what you can do to get started.

Basics of a Special Needs Trust  

A special needs trust or supplemental needs trust is a fiduciary relationship often used to transfer funds to benefit a disabled person. The person who creates the trust, the grantor, transfers money into the trust. A trustee is tasked with managing these funds and using the money to benefit the beneficiary. Trust funds may be used to pay for medical needs, caretaking or home healthcare expenses, transportation, and other needs.

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