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Texas Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: I found out my sister put her name as the only living relative on our brothers death certificate can she do that!?
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jul 22, 2020

Texas death certificates do not typically list someone as "ONLY living relative." Please look carefully.

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 »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 14, 2020

It is invalid because it should have been filled out and signed by your dad.

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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 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 »

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?

Beth Ann Serafini-Smith
Beth Ann Serafini-Smith answered on Jun 25, 2020

Yes, you can file the Will for probate but there may be other probate options available to you, depending on any other property or assets that need transferred. I would recommend consulting with a probate attorney in your area to discuss the options available for you.

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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, Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Texas on
Q: How to I divide undivided interest before the estate gets passed down to my generation?

When my grandmother passed away, she left the family land to my cousins and I as undivided interest. Once all of her children pass away, the land is divided among the 12 of us. Her children no longer want to deal with the execution of the estate. How can I guarantee a portion of the property comes... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jun 18, 2020

That sounds like a Life Estate to her Children, then Remainder over to the 12 or their heirs. But I am not reading the Deed or the Probated Will of GrandMother. Hire a competent attorney to search the title, determine what exact type of conveyance it is, then draft a Quit Claim Deed for all the... Read more »

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 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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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Texas on
Q: What can I do to stop my siblings from stealing everything off my mother's the legal way?

I have a bedridden mother that I take care of her home 24/7. My older sister got my mother to sign power of attorney to her without my mother realizing what she had signed. So my mother revoke that. They were selling her property without her permission and now trying to sell her home and put her... Read more »

Hon. Richard W. B. Davis
Hon. Richard W. B. Davis answered on Jun 11, 2020

You should contact an attorney about filing an Application for Guardianship to ask a Court to make you the guardian of your mother.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: Need to close Moms estate bank account and make final dist. What paperwork does Tx require?

Provision declared our sibling had to contact remaining sibs within 5 years after Parents death. It’s now 5 years. No contact

Ross F. Tew
Ross F. Tew answered on Jun 10, 2020

It sounds as though your sibling is the administrator, executor, or trustee handling your mother's affairs. You need to make a demand on your sibling to make the final distribution. If he or she ignores you, then you can compel your sibling to produce an accounting and distribute the estate... Read more »

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.

2 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts and Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: Do I need a prenup if I am in a 12 year relationship with no plans on getting married in the near future?

We do not call each other husband and wife, no paperwork except an old rent agreement in both of our names.

Main concern is can my partner get any sort of support from me if we do split up?

Thank you

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

You might want a cohabitation agreement.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: I was poa for my dad in wa state. He stayed in wa and i went to texas. He made my aunt poa and then she died. am i poa?
Hon. Richard W. B. Davis
Hon. Richard W. B. Davis answered on May 23, 2020

The answer to your question depends on the content of the Power of Attorney that your father executed in favor of your aunt. If the language states that, by signing the document, he also revokes all other Powers of Attorney, then you have no authority to act under the older Power of Attorney that... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: My fiance's dad died awhile back n left everything to his wife. My fiance's mama. He didnt have a will.just a notarized

Affadavit.which all 7 kids signed sayin was ok. Her mama later sold my wife everything about 9 years ago.then also died without a will.do other kids have a chance of taking anything away from my fiance..

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

If things were properly sold and title transferred during life, your mother could not leave them to anyone via a Will or an heirship proceeding.

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