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College Station Family & Estate Law Blog

Identifying the right executor for your will

When you are looking to create or update your will in Texas, you should give special consideration to who you name to act as the executor of your will. It is best to avoid the temptation to just automatically select someone very close to you. Your spouse, adult child or sibling, for example, may logically be important to you but that does not mean that they are best suited for this very important task. 

As explained by Fidelity Investments, an executor of a will holds many essential fiduciary responsibilities and therefore you will want to make sure that the person you put into this role is truly capable of handling these. Taking a look at a person's skillset for the executor role is akin to selecting the right person for any job. How well does your intended executor understand financial and tax matters? How fiscally responsible are they?

What information is needed to secure a guardianship?

A guardianship can be a great way to ensure that your needs are met and your wishes are honored if you ever become incapable of expressing them. It can also provide protection for any family members you leave behind. If you have decided that a guardianship will be the best option for your estate planning in Texas, you can begin the process of creating one.

According to TexasGuardianship.org, the rules dictating the information that is needed may be different depending on the age and competency of the proposed ward. If you are creating this position to benefit a minor, you will need to include information about whether or not the parents are still alive and who qualifies as the next of kin. You will also need to inform the court of any prior legal conservatorship proceedings involving the minor within the previous two years.

Can a divorce be healthy?

If you are considering ending your marriage or maybe are already in the process of a divorce in Texas, you know that this process can be an emotionally charged one. However, it does not have to be done in such a way that wrecks you or your children emotionally. The American Psychological Association indicates that there are steps you can take to help make sure the emotional health and well-being of you and your children is properly addressed even during a divorce.

One thing that is important to do is to stay connected to friends and family members. These people can provide valuable support for you and help you retain social connections that are good for you in the long term as well as the short term. Another important thing for you to do is to consider how you think about your divorce.

Protecting your rights and interests during the probate process

Many people do not understand the probate process or know what it means to go through it when settling an estate. You may think that simply because a loved one left you property or assets in his or her will that there is nothing else you need to do except to accept it, but that is not always the case.

Probate is the legal process of transferring property. This formal process allows for a careful review of the will, the final payment of any debts still owed by the Texas estate and a secure way to make sure the right people get the right property. You may find it beneficial to know how to protect your rights and interests during the probate administration process. 

When a will can be contested

While you may assume that once your loved one has created a will, the final say has been made and all arrangements are concrete, the truth is that the validity and veracity of a will can be contested. One key to following the correct legal procedures is knowing when this can happen. This can help you determine whether you have the right to challenge a will’s validity, but can also help you understand the charges if someone else is questioning your loved one’s will. We at the Law Office of Randy Michel can help you present any evidence that supports the need to change a will or fight for the protection of a will that you feel is being improperly contested.

 

Do I need a postnup?

Are you one of the many married people in Texas who has heard about postnuptial agreements and wonders what the fuss is all about? If so, you are not alone. While these marital contracts like their counterparts for engaged people, the prenuptial agreements, were once thought to be needed only by the rich and famous, that is far from the truth today. Understanding what a postnup can do for you may well be very important.

According to SmartAsset, there are several very specific situations which may make considering a postnup worth your time and investment. One of these is if you and your spouse decide to go into business together. This may mean starting an all-new business or one of you joining an existing business. In addition to providing some individual protections for each of you, the contract can offer valuable protections for your business. These protections may well extend to any employees and customers your business has as well.

Reviewing the rights of guardians

You may hear the word “guardian” and assume that one is referring to a person designated to care for a minor. Yet in many cases, adults in College Station may also be placed into guardianships. This is typically done only after a court has ruled that a person is unable to care for him or herself. Oftentimes, that guardian may not even be one that a ward is acquainted with, but rather a person who is certified through the state. People often come to us here at The Law Office of Randy Michel with concerns that their loved one’s professional guardian may be abusing his or her powers. If you share the same fear, it helps to first understand what those powers may be.

According to the Texas Estates Code, a guardian is authorized to do any of the following:

  •          Determine where a ward will live
  •          Provide care, supervision and subsistence for a ward
  •          Offer consent for any medical, surgical or psychiatric care a ward may need
  •          Manage a ward’s income and assets through a trust (with the court’s approval)
  •          Sign documents to facilitate a ward securing employment

Finding support from others during a divorce

When a couple in Texas makes the difficult choice to end their marriage, one thing each person may be interested in and in need of is support from others. While divorce is nothing strange or unfamiliar anymore, it can sometimes feel like nobody else understands or has experienced this event to those who are in the midst of it. However, that is not true and in fact, a list of 15 cities  show which areas in the United States have the highest populations of divorced people.

The list is based upon data from an American Community Survey taken two years ago. The survey reviewed areas with at least 10,000 residents identified. While there are no Texas cities on the list, Santa Fe, New Mexico did come in at the number five position. There, it is said that 17.1 percent of the residents have experienced at least one divorce.

Understanding the generation-skipping trust

If you have been evaluating your options for how to evolve or update your estate plan in Texas, you no doubt have realized that there are many different types of trusts available for your use. Some have very specific purposes and understanding these is important if you are interested in maximizing your estate and beneficiary benefits.

Forbes explains that one particular type of trust people may find useful is called a generation-skipping trust. As the name implies, one potential use of this trust is to allow people the ability to leave assets directly to their grandchildren instead of to their children first. For people with adult children who may not be financially trustworthy, this can be beneficial as it allows them to ensure that there will actually be something left for their grandchildren to inherit. It can also help to protect assets if an adult child has married someone who may not be completely honorable and may have access to squander money.

Collaborative divorce: a better way to end your marriage

The process of ending a marriage is never easy, even when both parties are amicable. Fortunately, litigation and a stressful court battle is never the only option for Texas couples. Collaborative divorce provides a way for a couple to end their marriage without stepping foot in a courtroom and spending extra time and money on litigation.

Collaborative divorce is not the right choice for every situation, but it may be the most appropriate option for you. If you believe that you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may cooperatively work together and reach a final agreement that is reasonable and sustainable, you would be wise to consider the many benefits of collaboration.

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