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Questions Answered by Terry Lynn Garrett
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Texas on
Q: I recorded a TOD deed on my dad's home with the county clerk in Texas a few years ago.

I left out two pages that were blank regarding beneficiary selection that did not apply (option A & B). I did complete section C, but did not mark the box indicating my choice. Based on the above info, is this TOD deed still valid, or will it be deemed invalid at the time of my father's... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jul 14, 2020

Your father should file a correction deed.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for Texas on
Q: I need advise on transferring a home deed into my name.

The deed is in my dad name with moms being second. Dad passed in 1980. Mom is 83 and had lived in the home since his passing but never dropped his name from the deed. Dad left no will. Mom has a will with me as POA. How and what do I need to do to get this deed tranfered into my name before she... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jul 8, 2020

The first step would be to transfer your father's 50% community property interest to your mother. At this point, she could do this with an Affidavit of Heirship recorded in the county deed records.

It is not clear that your mother should transfer the home to anyone while she is alive....
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: My dad died, step mom is beneficiary on life insurance. Are his children entitled to any of that or His pensions?

Step mom left him and was living in Oregon. He did not have a will but 401k, life insurance and pension from a job before they were married. Are his children entitled to any of that money or not because she is listed as beneficiary? I

Know we have property rights.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jul 6, 2020

She is entitled to the life insurance and anything else on which she is named the beneficiary. The 401k passes to her unless she wrote the plan administrator waiving her right to it.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: My Grandfather passed away in 2018 - His assets were split 3 ways between my Mom, Uncle and Aunt. My Mom was in the

process of setting up a will and living trust and then passed away (None of her Assets were put in the trust in time). My father is still with us but nothing was in his name. We are still trying to locate all the assets. My Father has an estate attorney involved and has filed for probate. But... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jul 6, 2020

In Texas inherited property is always separate property. It passes to the spouse if all children of the deceased are also children of the surviving spouse. The children only have a share if there are children of the deceased who are not children of the surviving spouse.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: TRYING TO FILL OUT SMALL ESTATE PAPERWORK AN NEED HELP
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 29, 2020

When people try to complete these on their own, half are rejected. There are some persnicketty, non-obvious points. When people use a lawyer, 90% are accepted. A word to the wise?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Texas on
Q: My minor son's father died 5.5 years ago. No will. We lived as a family, but were not legally married.

The estate was probated into my minor son's name for him to obtain at the age of 18. My question is: can I withdraw the funds on the scope that I, as his BIOLOGICAL Mother (only surviving natural parent) in which he lives with and I have SOLE responsibility for, believe those funds provide the... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 29, 2020

As a parent, you have a duty to provide food, shelter and medical care for your child. You do not have a right to use his inheritance for these. You can apply to the court to receive reimbursement or funds for things which a parent is not legally obligated to provide: summer camp, music lessons,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on
Q: Can my elderly mother purchase my home to make it into her primary residence and still qualify for Medicaid?

This will be an arm's length transaction.

Once she purchases my house, all her cash will be converted into home equity. She doesn't own another house. This will be her primary residence.

She currently lives with me so I can look after her. If we make this transaction, will... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 27, 2020

She should record it with the central appraisal district as her homestead and live there at least a month before entering a nursing home and applying.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: My mother passed away and left the house to my sister and me,we are the beneficiaries. We want to sell the house.

The will appoints my sister as executor. The deed is in my mother and father's name,both are deceased. All taxes and bills on the home are paid and current. Can we file for probate?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 25, 2020

Yes. While the Will names your sister as Executor, she cannot act as such until a court appoints her and issues Letters Testamentary. Keep in mind that your father's estate must also be probated. If he died before your mother, probate (prove) his estate first.

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: My stepmother wants me to sign a paper to relinquish my rights to my father's estate.

My dad passed away a couple of years ago she contacted me yesterday to sign a paper to relinquish my rights to his estate. The will has not been probated I asked to see a copy of the will and a suicide note and she has not replied what are my rights and can I represent myself put a complaint in... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 25, 2020

Do not sign. Hire a probate lawyer who practices in the county in which your father lived and died to require production of the Will or, if there is none, file an Application for Determination of Heirship and Appointment of Independent Administrator. If the Will gives your stepmother more than... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: About wills and living trust:

My parents are married but dad was previously married and has 3 children (1 deceased and 2 living). My parents do not want previous children to receive any inheritance do they need a will or can they get by with a living trust? and IF they need a will can it go without being probated?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 23, 2020

While they could use either a Will or a Revocable Living Trust, either a Will or any estate which was not in the Trust when they died would need to be probated. A Texas probate may be cheaper and faster than you imagine.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: Can beneficiaries of a will ask for bank account information that was joint with rights of survivorship? 5yrs. after DOD

Beneficiaries are asking for details of a bank account that was held jointly with rights of survivorship. Not with them. It passed directly upon death, as such, did not go through probate. All holdings were POD or joint w/right of survivorship. They received all of their POD monies directly from... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 18, 2020

They can ask but there is no reason that they should expect an answer.

An account held joint with right of survivorship passes to the survivor on presentation of the death certificate. Absent a suit for elder exploitation, no one else ever had any right to the money or any right to inquire...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: My mother in law recently passed away and has left my daughters some funds from her estate.

The executor wants me (father) to attain a statement or p.o.a. so that I will receive the money and manage it as well.What do I need to do? My daughters are 18 and 16.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 17, 2020

The 18 year old is as legally capable of receiving the money as she is of naming you her agent under a Durable Power of Attorney.

The 16year old is legally capable of neither. Her inheritance should be paid into a Uniform Gift to Minors Trust at a bank (up to $35,000), an...
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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on
Q: I fully understand!! Thank you so much!!

I just found this organization today and I appreciate your help. Does this organization set up virtual meetings? Could I make an appointment or would I have to help my boyfriends mother set it up since she is the one who would qualify for services?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 16, 2020

Individual lawyers set up virtual meetings. Like our courts, many of us are now operating by Zoom. It may be your boyfriend's mother who would want to set up the meeting.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on
Q: Thank you! So she can apply for Medicaid right now to get help with prescription drug costs?

Or does she only qualify for nursing home costs due to home ownership? And.... would taking a home equity loan to pay for improvements to the house affect social security payments or potential Medicaid benefits?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 16, 2020

One would have to know the full picture to answer these questions.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on
Q: Hi, does a Lady Bird Deed allow someone to qualify for medicaid who would not qualify because of home ownership?

My boyfriends mother owns a house in Austin that has drastically increased in value but is currently in great disrepair. I want to figure out how to help her fix her house up to make it more livable and safer for a person in their 70's and help her qualify for Medicaid benefits. She is... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 16, 2020

In Texas a home is not counted in determining eligibility for nursing home Medicaid.

The effect of a Lady Bird Deed is to transfer ownership of the home on death, free of probate and so, in Texas, free of Medicaid estate recovery. A Lady Bird Deed has no effect on ownership or property...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: If my father just died and had no will! SIL says we will go to jail if we go there! FIL had no debt

My FIL died made me medical power of attorney no will has three at least properties that we no of mayb more but has no will what are our next steps! Also trying to plan a burial but family won’t way in options what do I do

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 15, 2020

The Medical Power of Attorney and any Durable [Financial] Power of Attorney were effective only during her lifetime.

You and any siblings can bury her. Most (maybe all) funeral homes will require agreement before cremating. If you and your siblings cannot agree, there is going to be a...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: Was left a property by deceased father. Wife was given life estate but has not lived there in 5 years what are my rights

My father died without a will and was remarried. We went through mediation for settlement of assets. I need to know how or if I can get access to the home since my step mother is no longer living in the home. What are my legal right to the home since she does not live in the home.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jun 1, 2020

She has abandoned her life estate. The home is now that of your father's children.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: Would a trust be the best way to help pay for college for my former exchange students who live in different countries?

I hosted three exchange students; Mozambique, Paraguay and Nigeria.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on May 30, 2020

Creating a trust can be expensive.

You can create a Texas corporation online yourself using the documents on the Texas Secretary of State's website and register it as a not-for-profit corporation the purpose of which is promoting education. You must have three people on the board....
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: Signed over my share of probate money to my sisters 2 years ago. Can I get that money back now?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on May 28, 2020

Only if they want to give it to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Small Claims and Contracts for Texas on
Q: someone ripped me off on home repairs

they claimed to know what to do. a local handyman service. found them on facebook marketplace. they didn't do the job right. i paid for materials and paid 500 for work. it was the underneath of the belly of my trailer. now the insulation is hanging down and the belly is on the ground- what... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on May 27, 2020

Take good pictures. Keep your written contract. File in Justice of the Peace (small claims) court.

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