In the movies or television, it seems that anyone disappointed with an inheritance can simply challenge the will in court. In reality, there are only a few specific grounds on which to contest a will.
- The document fails to clearly express a desire to make a gift effective at death
- The document is not properly signed with all the necessary formalities
- The person making the will lacked sufficient mental capacity
- The person making the will was unduly influenced to make a will contrary to their true wishes
Sometimes the validity of the will is not questioned, but its terms are vague or confusing. In those cases, a court may need to consider how the language in the will should be construed. No matter the question, call us immediately if you are concerned about preserving your rights under a will.
When a loved one has died, ownership of their assets immediately transfers to someone else. If there is a will, the assets pass to the beneficiaries. If no will, everything transfers to the heirs according to Texas law. Any debts or obligations left by the decedent have to be settled up first before the assets can be distributed. Settling those debts and preparing to distribute the property is called “administering” the estate.
Often the entire probate process, particularly the thought of an administration, scares people. It does not have to be a frightening process though. We are here to guide you through the process. If you are appointed to take charge of the estate, we will advise you of the various duties and deadlines. In fact, we can take care of many of the required tasks for you and help you clean up any legal issues the decedent left behind. Call us now to find out how we can help you.
A trust is simply a relationship in which one person holds title to property for the benefit of another. Typically the trust relationship is documented in a written trust agreement, although sometimes that is not the case.
The person in charge of the trust is called the trustee. The trustee owes several strict legal duties as a “fiduciary” to any beneficiary of the trust including duties of competency, loyalty and full disclosure. Generally speaking, the trustee must always put the beneficiary’s interests first, even to the trustee’s own detriment. Commonly enough, this often leads to problems between the trustee and the beneficiary.
Trusts can be a great estate planning tool, whether they are created while the creator is still alive or upon the creator’s death. We can help you resolve any disputes that might arise once a trust has been created. Sometimes this involves advising a trustee accused of wrongdoing. Other times, we may be helping a beneficiary pursue claims against a trustee for failing to do what is right.
If you have concerns regarding a trust, give us a call. We stand ready to help preserve your rights in the trust.
Has your loved one lost the ability to make decisions for themselves? Do they need someone to make financial decisions for them? These are the types of questions asked when considering a guardianship. A guardian manages the affairs of an incapacitated person (call a “ward”) under court supervision. Guardians are fiduciaries to the ward with important obligations and duties, including duties of competency, loyalty and full disclosure. Texas law also imposes many procedural requirements upon guardians to make sure the ward’s affairs are properly handled.
If you have questions about Texas guardianship law, please call us. We are certified to handle guardianship cases in Texas and stand ready to help you protect the rights of your incapacitated loved one.