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3 vital estate planning documents you need

 Posted on May 05, 2021 in Uncategorized

Estate planning is a way to ensure your wishes come to fruition even when you are no longer able to carry them out or supervise their fulfillment. Yet, according to InvestmentNews, in 2017 only 36% of parents with minor children and 42% of adults in general in the U.S. had a living will or trust.

It is important to begin preparing for the future early to take care of your loved ones. As you do, there are certain vital estate documents you need to assemble.

1. Last will and testament

This is the document in which you specify the distribution of your assets. It is also where you appoint a guardian for any underage children in your charge.

2. Medical directive

Also referred to as a living will, an advance directive or a Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates (the latter two are Texas labels), this is where you spell out important medical decisions in case you are later unable to advocate for yourself. For example, if you fall severely ill or suffer an injury that keeps you from speaking or making choices, this document tells medical personnel your desires. Subjects you may address include if you agree to life support, if you are willing to donate your body to science and more.

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4 signs your father’s will may not reflect his true wishes

 Posted on February 10, 2021 in Uncategorized

If your father drafted a will before he died, he had more of an estate plan than most. In fact, according to a recent study, nearly 70% of Americans do not have even a basic will. Still, whether you stand to inherit considerable wealth or nothing at all, you want to be sure your father’s will reflects his true wishes.

Undue influence happens when an influencer pressures a person to draft a will in a way that benefits the influencer often to the detriment of traditional beneficiaries. Here are four signs someone may have exerted undue influence over your father’s will.

1. Too much participation

While there is nothing inherently wrong with having a friend, family member or someone else help draft a will, too much participation from a nonprofessional may be a sign of undue influence.

2. Recent or unexplainable changes

If the will you review after your father’s death has recent or unexplainable changes from a version you saw before, someone may have convinced him to rework it. This is especially true if the will adds or removes beneficiaries.

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What is a special needs trust?

 Posted on November 10, 2020 in Uncategorized

There are some valuable estate planning tools available to individuals who have disabled family members, friends or other loved ones. One of these, a special needs trust, goes hand-in-hand with means-tested government programs, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income.

To be eligible for many types of public financial assistance, individuals must have limited income and assets. This is a problem in the estate planning context. After all, if you give cash or other assets directly to your loved one, you may inadvertently disqualify him or her from receiving government help.

Paying for supplemental expenses

To ensure your disabled loved one remains eligible for government assistance, the special needs trust you establish may not pay for his or her ordinary living expenses. Therefore, the beneficiary should use public assistance to pay for rent, food, utilities, medical bills and other necessary expenditures.

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What happens if you die in Texas without a will and have a surviving spouse?

 Posted on August 04, 2020 in Uncategorized

If you make no Last Will and Testament prior to your death, the state’s intestacy laws determine who inherits your estate and in what proportion. However, if you draft an enforceable will with the help of an estate planning attorney, you can determine exactly how you want your estate distributed, rather than leaving it up to the probate court. Otherwise, the following situations may apply if you have a surviving spouse:

Surviving spouse intestate situations

Texas intestacy law provides for the following five surviving spouse scenarios and their respective distributions:

  1. Surviving spouse, but no surviving parents, siblings or children: Your spouse inherits your entire probate estate.
  2. Surviving spouse and surviving children born to or adopted by you and (s)he: Your spouse inherits your share of the community property, plus one-third of your separate personal property. Your children inherit the rest of your probate estate. Your spouse also gets all your separate real property, but only during his or her lifetime. On his or her death, that property passes to your children.

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It may be time to review and modify your estate plan

 Posted on July 03, 2020 in Uncategorized

There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you finally create a comprehensive estate plan. Even though it forced you to think about the future, you’re now in better position to protect both you and your loved ones (as well as your assets).

However, there’s a big mistake lurking: neglecting to review your estate plan as time goes by.

It may not be something you enjoy, but there are times when you have to review and modify your estate plan. Consider the following:

  • The passage of time: As the years go by, there’s a greater chance that your estate plan will no longer suit your needs. Review it every year for potential changes. It’s your hope that everything can remain the same, but you never know when you’ll have to tweak it.
  • Divorce or marriage: When your marital status changes, so should your estate plan. For example, if you divorce your spouse, you probably want to remove them from your estate plan, as you don’t want them to receive anything in the event of your death.

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Do you need a family limited liability company?

 Posted on May 28, 2020 in Uncategorized

If you are fortunate enough to enjoy a supportive, loving and friendly family dynamic, you may consider starting a business together. Perhaps you and your spouse have the type of relationship where you work well together and complement each other when it comes to strengths and weaknesses, which would certainly contribute to your success.

You may also want to pass on the business to your children when you retire and want to protect it for that purpose. Another of your goals may be to protect your assets from creditors and/or have the ability to bypass probate after your death.

Would you consider forming a family limited liability company?

You may already know that a limited liability company provides members some protection from personal liability for the debts and legal obligations of the business without all the paperwork and legal requirements of a corporation.

This makes an LLC attractive to many people. If you happen to be a family-only owned business, you could form a family LLC, which also helps with your estate planning. A family LLC also allows you to provide profit distributions for generations of your loved ones.

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Laying the foundation for your company's future success

 Posted on May 08, 2020 in Uncategorized

Every business is different, and what you will need to do to ensure your Texas company's success depends on what you hope to accomplish, the type of business you plan to start and multiple other factors. The choices you make during the business formation process will impact your company for years to come. It's smart to know how you can make decisions that will lay the foundation for your future success.

There is a lot to think about and consider during the business formation stage, but you do not have to walk through it alone. There is significant benefit in having experienced guidance from the earliest stages of your business, lowering the chance of costly missteps or regrettable decisions. There is a lot at stake during this stage, but you can take steps now that will greatly benefit you in the future.

Your success starts now

Laying the foundation for your business starts with having a solid business plan. Starting a business without a plan is not a good idea, and it can cause you to drift off course down the road. Besides, investors and potential partners will want to see any plans and documents. The first step in the business formation process is to have a strong business plan in place. After this, the following tips can help you start strong:

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Does your single-member LLC really need an operating agreement?

 Posted on April 30, 2020 in Uncategorized

Instead of operating as a sole proprietorship, you decided to take advantage of the personal protections of a limited liability company. Since you are the only member, you may not think you need an operating agreement.

After all, aren't operating agreements meant to outline the relationship among members? Since you are the only member of the LLC, you shouldn't need to worry about one, right?

There's more to it than that

Outlining those relationships isn't the only reason for an operating agreement. Even a single-member LLC needs this document for the following reasons:

New business owners may be worried about frivolous lawsuits

 Posted on April 01, 2020 in Uncategorized

As a relatively new business owner, you know that you have to stay on top of every transaction that occurs with your company. You undoubtedly put up a lot of funds to get your business off the ground, and you do not want anything to jeopardize the operations you have going, especially until you can start turning a regular profit.

Unfortunately, some people know that new small businesses do not have a lot of extra money at their disposal. As a result, they may try to file frivolous lawsuits against your business in hopes that you will simply settle rather than facing the expenses of litigation. However, rather than immediately settling with someone over a frivolous claim, consider your legal options.

Dismissing the case

Though learning that someone has filed a lawsuit against your business can certainly feel shocking and nerve wracking, you do not have to feel out of hope. You may have the ability to request that a judge dismiss the frivolous suit on the basis that the plaintiff does not have a genuine cause to sue your company. Your legal counsel could file a dismissal motion with the judge, but the plaintiff could also oppose the dismissal.

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Is a breach of contract worth pursuing legal action?

 Posted on February 27, 2020 in Uncategorized

When conducting any type of business venture, having a contract is a must. These agreements can be verbal or written, but it is typically more advisable to have a written record of any business dealings. In particular, having a written contract may act as better evidence in the event that the other party involved violates the terms of the agreement.

Even with a written agreement, there is no complete guarantee that the other party will abide by the terms. As a result, your company could experience setbacks or other damages, some of which could be seriously detrimental to the company. In such a situation, you may need to decide whether taking legal action is necessary.

What type of contract breach took place?

Yes, there are different types of contract breaches. If the other party breached the contract in a way that did not cause much harm to the overall business relationship or transaction, a minor or non-material breach likely took place. Often, non-material breaches do not present much cause to pursue legal action. After all, the slight is often minor enough that the company can continue on with the venture without any lasting negative repercussions.

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