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Questions Answered by Terry Lynn Garrett
1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: Estate Trust executor being sued for undue influence. How to defend
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 24, 2020

Hire a fiduciary litigator.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: Hello, this is a probate question. I am at the end of my probate, my attorney wants me to bring my account current.

The agreement was that they would be paid once I sold the house. I was laid off due to COVID, I informed them of this and they stated it was not their problem. I only have a couple of more steps to close the case. I am not sure how to proceed, I am located in Texas. How will this affect my case?... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 22, 2020

You do not note whether the agreement is written. Everyone's memory is fallible.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on
Q: Do Elder Law attorneys deal with financial and isolation abuse of an elderly family member?

If I have these suspicions, should the police get involved first, or should I consult with an attorney first? I no longer have access to current financial records and the elderly woman would probably deny any abuse.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 21, 2020

You can make an online report to Adult Protective Services. You can also find an elder lawyer near you on the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (www.naela.org).

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: My mother recently passed away and my youngest sister is the executor. She has also been the sole power of attorney

since 2016. The will is now in probate and I would like to look at the records of how my moms money was managed, but when I asked my sister, the request was denied. What do I need to do to be able to review the records, not just current estate value, but historical records as well?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 21, 2020

With regard to your sister's actions as your mother's agent under the Durable Power of Attorney (that is, while your mother was alive), there is a provision of the Texas Estates Code which allows anyone who would be an heir or beneficiary or who can persuade the court that they have a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on
Q: Will I still need P.O.A before the ladybird deed or will either of them work? Do they need to be submitted thru court?

Can the forms be notarized or will they both be submitted through courts?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 20, 2020

These documents serve entirely different functions.

A Durable Power of Attorney shares authority over the property of the person who signs it while she is alive. Both her signature and that of her agent must be notarized. If it is to affect real property, it must be recorded in the county...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: My husband died 16 years ago. A vacant lot paid for is in both our names. Our home still being paid for is also in both

our names. All the children are grown and out of the house. There was no will. How do I get the properties in my name?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 19, 2020

If your husband left a Will, you can still probate it to transfer title. If not, you should file an Affidavit of Heirship in the county deed records.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Texas on
Q: If my grandmother decides to give her house to me, what do I need to do to go about this?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 16, 2020

The best way for your grandmother to give her house to you is through a Transfer on Death or Lady Bird Deed. That way, if she ever needs Medicaid (and many of us will, especially if we have to go to a nursing home), the gift will not count against her in qualifying to receive it and the house will... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: How to deal with rich stepmother when father died intestate in the state of Texas.

My Father never signed prenuptial agreement with my stepmother. They lived in a triple wide trailer on my grandfathers land with tractors and other large equipment. She completely abandoned everything and moved to Dallas. My Grandfather is my POA because I live in another state. He has brought to... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 9, 2020

See whether you qualify for Volunteer Legal Services (Legal Aid) in the area in which your father lived and died. If not, see whether you qualify for the Modest Means program of Lawyer Referral Systems there.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: If property is put in a trust are you exempt from inheritance taxes?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 3, 2020

Yes but keep in mind that Texas has neither an inheritance nor an estate tax and that the federal estate tax exemption is now $11.58 million per spouse, set to decline to $5 million in 2026 if Congress does not act. You and your beneficiaries may not need a trust.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: I am on SS and SSI. May I receive a life insurance payment from my deceased boyfriend without penalty?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 1, 2020

No. You can have no more than $2,000 in the bank. In the same month in which you receive the life insurance benefit, transfer it to an account establishing a self-settled trust. The cheapest is with the ARC of Texas Master Pooled Trust. Open it now: it could take them two months to process... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: Do I need to draw a new will if I purchased homes after I married? Current Will leaves all my assets to my spouse.

Do I need a new will listing new assets or does “all my assets” include post marital purchases?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 31, 2020

"All my assets" should do.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Texas on
Q: Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2015.

Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2015. Sister has Mother. I was joint Power of Attorney and in Trust for 50 percent estate. In 2019, sister took Mother to a doctor (after Mother's MD in Tucson already said Mother was unable to make financial decisions in 2018) and had me removed... Read more »

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

Only your mother can remove you as her agent under a Durable Power of Attorney. Depending on what the trust declaration says, it may be that only she can remove you as co-trustee.

In Texas, anyone who would be a beneficiary under a Will, an heir if there were no Will, or can convince the...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: I am executor of a small estate In Texas. There is a credit card debt around $7500.00. There is no money in this estate.

There are assets such as house land and car. Can they make me sell any of the listed above to pay them off? If not, what can they do?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 20, 2020

As the attorney representing you might advise, there may be a set aside for a surviving spouse and minor children. Aside from that, all properly presented claims must be paid before anything, including the house and the car, can be distributed. If you, the executor, do not pay the bills out of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: Can I fire my probate lawyer?

Our lawyer hasn’t done much to help us with my grandmothers will and we haven’t settled this in 5 years. Can I hire a new lawyer at any time?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 19, 2020

Most engagement agreements provide that you can fire the lawyer at any time for any reason or for no reason. Some courts will not allow the probate lawyer to withdraw until the Inventory has been filed and approved.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: She was already deceased. But we had filed taxes under the deceased tax filler. Is that the law to return her portion?

Probated estate holder for mom who reciwved stimulus and credited for my children.

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

While the stimulus checks were first sent to people who had filed tax returns for 2019, they are independent of tax refunds. You should thus send back the $1,200.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: I am probated for my mothers estate, she got stimulus also credited for my kids can I cash it?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 18, 2020

That depends on whether your mother was dead or alive when the stimulus check arrived. If she had already passed, return her portion.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: If 2 people, not related, buy a property together and then they both die, do their respective heirs co-own the property?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 17, 2020

That depends on what the deeds say and what their Wills say.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: I have been told by the two children of an Aunt that she (their Mother my Aunt) provided a trust fund for me in her will

They told me her estate was worth between 1 and 3 Million and the trust fund was to receive 20%. However I have been unable to get further info from them. There is no probate info on line. My only income is from SSI and I am 68 years old. How can I get specific info?

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 12, 2020

You can request an accounting from the trustee....but for that you have to know who the trustee is. The trustee might be a person, a trust company or a bank with trust powers.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: Is there a way to get an Affidavit of Heirship (my deceased parents home) if my other 3 (half) siblings refuse..

Is there a way to get an Affidavit of Heirship (my deceased parents home) if my other 3 (half) siblings refuse to uphold their financial responsibilities with the home? My mother passed away in March 2018. I reside & have been taking care of the mortgage. The house needs repairs & I need to... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 12, 2020

You are referring not to an Affidavit of Heirship but to an Application for Determination of Heirship and Issuance of Letters of Administration. This can be awarded without your siblings' agreeing to an Independent Administration. It will be a Dependent Administration, meaning that it must... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Texas on
Q: Does 6 tax returns claimed as married work as proof

If the marriage is common law to get his belongings

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 11, 2020

The judge will decide.

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