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Texas Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: My mother is moving from Louisiana to Texas. She has a simple Louisiana will. Does she need a new will?

Mom will be living in her own trailer on my sister's property. I live in Michigan and am appointed Executrix in the will. Is an ou of state Executor acceptable in Texas?

Lorenza G. Cigarroa
Lorenza G. Cigarroa answered on Oct 22, 2020

Great question! Technically yes, Texas courts are supposed to apply other states laws in this situation. In practice, this is very difficult because Louisiana has a different legal system than Texas, and wills unfortunately don't travel well across state lines.

For example, in...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: if the beneficiary of an estate is a minor can the administrator be paid & when? estate to remain open wrongful death

I am the administrator in an estate with a minor heir. The estate had been handled except for a pending wrongful death suit. When can I be paid as the administrator of the estate? And does the payment have to be approved through the court?

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

In most counties this will be a dependent administration. You must apply to the court for your fees.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: My father passed almost 8 months ago. He had 2 vehicles that were not left to anyone in the will but he gave one to me

And the other to my brother. My brother is the executor and has since decided to get mad at me and take the truck back. He has also told me not to go to my Dads house. As executor, does he have that right?

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

If your father did not put the title in your name, the vehicle belongs to his estate. Your brother, as executor, has not only the right but the duty to assemble all of your father's property, pay the debts (perhaps selling the property to do so) and only then distribute the remaining property... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: Am I, as a surviving spouse, entitled to any part of my husbands estate, even though we were separated?

When my husband died, we’d been separated for several years. His family informed me of his death and said his will stated that everything went to his brother. Can I be totally disinherited or do I have any legal claim to part of his estate?

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

In Texas separation has no legal effect, only divorce does.

However, unlike in the states which were party of the English colonies or in Europe, you are not automatically entitled to part of your husband's estate. You keep your 50% community property interest -- and all property...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: Can I represent myself without a probate attorney for my brother's estate in Nueces county TX?

My brother recently passed away. In his will, he left his estate to me and wished that I use the money to help take care of our elderly mom. The value of the estate is around $150k.

I believe there is approx. $8k in medical bills which need to be paid from the estate. No other bills... Read more »

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

You cannot represent yourself. The cost depends on whether the Will is properly drafted and has a self-proving affidavit.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Texas on
Q: Future inherited access rights to land lived on for free?

My daughter owns acreage in Travis County Texas. She has a friend, who no longer has any immediate family, who wants to move onto a piece of it. Drilling a well, installing septic and either moving in a mobile home style structure or a pre-fab. This friend, upon her passing (not expected in the... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 10, 2020

It sounds as though your daughter and her friend need a written agreement stating that (1) the friend will pay for septic and well in lieu of rent and (2) within a certain period following her death, the mobile home and all her possessions will have been removed by her heirs or beneficiaries or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Texas on
Q: Unwanted land in Texas

My husband's grandfather passed away in 2005 and he owned worthless land. Probate lawyer said he would not transfer deed to my husband as the executor. We were recently served by the tax assessor in that county for back taxes. How do we get out of this mess especially if the deed is not... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 7, 2020

If the land is both worthless and not yours, let the tax authority foreclose on it for back taxes.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: What happens if a beneficiary of a will refuses to sign a waiver of consent to provisions that were changed in the will
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 3, 2020

Only the person who wrote the Will can change its provisions. Whether a beneficiary consents or not is irrelevant. You may be seeking a Family Settlement Agreement. If so, the beneficiary is not obligated to agree.

3 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: Can the executor of a will change the provisions without all the beneficiary's consent?
Ross F. Tew
Ross F. Tew answered on Oct 3, 2020

Generally speaking, no. Texas law allows for the beneficiaries of a will to amend the terms by family settlement agreement, which would require every beneficiary to consent.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: What do I need to do to get durable power of attorney in the state of Texas?

My dad was just diagnosed with terminal cancer and my mom does not read or write and I need to handle the financial affairs. They do not have a lot of money so I do not know what the cost is to get this process done . Any advice would be appreciated .

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Oct 2, 2020

Your father may want to grant a Medical Power of Attorney as well as a Durable [Financial] Power of Attorney. You can find an elder lawyer near you on the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (www.naela.org).

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.

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 and Probate for Texas on
Q: Can a vehicle be put in the name of someone that is incarcerated?

Father passed away and left his son his property. Son is incarcerated and will be for some time. Son inherited a vehicle. Can the vehicle be put in the son's name?

Hon. Richard W. B. Davis
Hon. Richard W. B. Davis answered on Sep 8, 2020

Yes.

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...
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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.

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