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Denton County, TX estate planning lawyerA 2020 Gallup Poll revealed that just under half of Americans (46 percent) have a will outlining their wishes for their estate after their passing. Surprisingly, this statistic has remained relatively consistent since 1990. If you are among those who already have a will, you might think your job is done. However, it is crucial to recognize the importance of periodic reviews and updates. 

This becomes particularly critical during significant life events such as marriage, the addition of a new child, or divorce. Seeking guidance from an experienced Denton County estate planning attorney is invaluable in ensuring your estate plan is up-to-date and aligned with your intentions while addressing any potential tax implications.

Review Your Estate Plan After Marriage

Whether it is your first marriage or a subsequent one, tying the knot prompts a necessary review of your estate plan. This moment is opportune for including your new spouse or even stepchildren in your plan. For those who have been through a divorce, this is a crucial juncture to confirm that your former spouse has no unintended entitlement to your estate.


Denton County, TX medicare appeals lawyerAppealing for Medicare benefits can be a challenging process. It is important to familiarize yourself with the necessary steps to ensure a fair and successful outcome in your appeal. Today, we will outline five crucial things you should know as you prepare to appeal for Medicare benefits. As you move forward with your appeal, it is in your best interest to obtain legal representation from a Medicare attorney, as the appeals process can be a long and difficult process, necessitating the assistance of a legal professional.

Understand the Appeals Process

Before diving into the appeals process, it is crucial to comprehend the different levels of reviews available to you. The Medicare appeals system consists of five levels: 

  • Redetermination


Flower Mound, TX medicare lawyerNavigating the complexities of Medicare and understanding the rights and entitlements can be daunting, especially for those unfamiliar with Medicare and its complexities. That is where a Medicare attorney can play a crucial role. By providing legal advice and representation, a Medicare attorney can help you navigate the ever-changing Medicare system, ensuring you receive the benefits you are entitled to. Today, we will explore the various ways a Medicare attorney can assist you in dealing with Medicare-related issues. 

Claims and Appeals

One of the primary roles of a Medicare attorney is to assist with claims and appeals. If your Medicare claim has been denied or you are unsatisfied with the provided coverage, a Medicare attorney can guide you effectively through the appeals process. They have the knowledge and skill to decipher complex regulations and advocate for your rights, increasing the chances of a successful appeal and working to get you the coverage or reimbursement you deserve. 

Understanding Medicare Regulations

Medicare regulations can be complex and subject to frequent changes. A Medicare attorney can help you navigate the intricate web of regulations, ensuring that you fully understand your rights, eligibility criteria, and available benefits under Medicare. By staying up to date with the latest developments in Medicare law, they can provide accurate and tailored advice specific to your situation. 


Flower Mound, TX probate lawyerThe probate process in Texas is difficult enough with all of the paperwork and requirements. But many people make it even harder on themselves when they try to handle the process on their own and make mistakes. Errors could mean further delays in the probate process, leading to additional stress and family fighting. Here are five mistakes that people make that can slow probate down.

Failing to Pay Income Tax

The executor of an estate must complete an income tax form for the last year that the deceased person was alive. Death does not excuse the obligation to pay full taxes to the federal and state governments. This obligation is passed along to the estate.

Not Paying Close Attention to the Paperwork

Courts are very technical about the paperwork requirements during probate. The important nature of interpreting and executing a will means that people must be very precise and that probate judges cannot give anyone the benefit of the doubt. If you make mistakes on your forms, they will be sent back. Having to complete them again will add time to the process. 


Flower Mound, TX estate planning lawyerIn order for the terms of a will of a deceased person to be fulfilled, the will must have been executed when the writer was of sound mind. However, a person writing a will may have been influenced wrongly by someone who wanted the will to be changed for their own benefit.

Someone who suspects a parent or other loved one was unduly influenced when writing their will may try to challenge the validity of the will in court. Undue influence can be grounds for invalidating a Texas will

Undue Influence Means Some Form of Coercion

In an undue influence case, there is someone who has access to or control over a will’s creator, known as the will’s testator. The person exerting undue influence knows that the testator is in a vulnerable position, and they attempt to take advantage of it. There could be the following:


Flower Mound Power of Attorney LawyerYour choice of an executor for your will is crucial. This person will perform a vital role in administering your estate. Your heirs are relying on the executor to properly execute their duties. You should look for certain qualities in the person who you will trust. A Texas estate planning attorney can help review your situation and advise you on your choice.

Pick Someone Trustworthy

Above all, the person whom you select should be dependable. The executor takes on fiduciary responsibilities to the heirs that they must uphold. The executor may be transacting on behalf of the estate, and they must be trusted to do the right thing. In this context, the “right thing” means both that the executor uses reasonable care, and they put the estate’s interests above their own.

Select Someone with Financial Savvy

The executor may be called on to perform financial transactions on behalf of the estate. They may need to sell estate property or respond to creditor claims. The executor should be someone who is familiar with financial principles. While they do not need to be an expert, they should have some degree of financial literacy. 


Flower Mound Elder Law AttorneyYou cannot simply move assets out of your name and immediately qualify for Medicaid coverage to pay for your long-term care in Texas. The state will be able to look back for five years to see if you have transferred assets. Thus, you need to establish a Medicaid trust well before the time that you may need long-term care. There is a point where it can be too late to protect your assets from high nursing home costs.

Medicaid Trusts Can Protect Your Family

Families often consider establishing trusts to preserve assets and still be able to receive long-term care. Medicaid has certain income and asset requirements in order to restrict benefits to people with lower incomes. If you do not qualify for Medicaid, you would need to use your own money to pay for nursing home care. With annual costs topping $100,000, your assets may become depleted, keeping you from leaving your money for your loved ones.

You can keep assets and still qualify for Medicaid when you move the assets into a trust, which is managed by a trustee. The fact that the property becomes titled in the name of the trust, and you do not make decisions, is sufficient to ensure that you do not legally own it.


Flower Mound Estate Planning LawyerMost of us have experienced situations in which we spend more money than we intended to. Whether we neglected our budget on vacation, overestimated our ability to manage expensive car payments, or let a love for shopping lead to significant credit card bills, overspending is something most people have done at least once in their lives.

If you intend to leave an inheritance to a loved one who tends to overspend, you may be worried about him or her misusing the inheritance funds or spending the funds too quickly. A spendthrift trust is a trust specifically designed for this type of situation.

Basics of Spendthrift Trusts in Texas

Many people assume that the only way to leave an inheritance to a loved one is through a will. Although wills can be useful in a variety of situations, they are also quite limited in their functionality. Trusts offer much greater control over how and when assets are distributed to beneficiaries.


Denton County Power of Attorney LawyerThe individual you select as your power of attorney agent has significant decision-making authority. A power of attorney for healthcare allows somebody else to make medical decisions on your behalf. This may include making decisions about artificial ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, and other medical treatments. A financial power of attorney has control over your finances and is expected to pay bills and manage assets if you are unable to do so yourself.

Circumstances change over time, and sometimes the person selected as the power of attorney agent is no longer the appropriate choice. In this blog, we will discuss some signs that it may be time to choose a new power of attorney and how you can do so.

Your Power of Attorney Agent Has Suffered a Serious Illness or Personal Problem

Acting as a power of attorney agent is a serious responsibility. An agent has considerable authority and is asked to fulfill complicated, often emotionally charged duties. If the person you originally selected has come down with a long-term illness or disability, they may not be up to the task. 


Denton County Estate Planning LawyerCountless issues can lead to disputes regarding a loved one’s estate. Family members may worry that an elderly loved one was coerced into making changes to their will or that they did not have the testamentary capacity needed to make an informed decision about the terms of asset distribution. Accusations of forgery or fraud may also lead to a will contest. In some cases, family members believe that an honest mistake was made during the writing of a loved one’s will and that the will does not reflect the testator’s true wishes.

Whatever the reason, disputes regarding a deceased person’s estate can be contentious and complex – both legally and emotionally. A Family Settlement Agreement is one option for resolving a dispute regarding a loved one's will. Read on to learn more.

The Basics of Family Settlement Agreements During a Probate Dispute

A Family Settlement Agreement is a legally binding agreement about how a deceased person’s assets should be distributed. For many families, reaching an agreement is the best way to resolve a probate dispute without the need for litigation. Heirs negotiate the terms of the agreement and discuss various options until they reach a distribution of assets arrangement that everybody can agree to. The heirs all sign the agreement and then file it with the court. The agreement is a legally binding contract that cannot be undone.


Flower Mound Elder Law AttorneyIf you pass away, would you want your organs to be donated to another individual? If you were in a coma and there was no chance of recovery, would you want doctors to keep you alive through artificial ventilation and feeding tubes? These are not easy questions. However, these are questions that you alone can answer.

A living will is an estate planning document that allows an individual to decide on what types of medical care they will receive if they are incapacitated. For example, if you were terminally ill and could not speak or otherwise express your wishes regarding medical treatment, doctors would follow the directions provided in your living will. A living will is a legal tool that often gets overlooked. However, it is essential to include it in your estate plans.

Why Should I Draft a Living Will?

A living will is an advanced directive that addresses medical decision making. The document instructs health care providers in the event that you cannot instruct them yourself. One of the greatest benefits of a living will is that it puts you in control of the medical care you receive regardless of whether you are conscious and aware. Another crucial benefit of a living will is that it shields your loved ones from having to make extremely difficult decisions on your behalf. Too many families end up in huge disagreements or even legal battles over whether to take a loved one off life support. When you describe your wishes in a living will, you save your loved ones the burden of making these decisions on your behalf.


Flower Mound Estate Planning LawyerWe live in a litigious society, and for certain individuals, the threat of a lawsuit is ever-present. For example, doctors and other medical professionals are at significant risk of being sued at some point in their careers. Research conducted by the American Medical Association found that one in three physicians has had a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against them.

Business owners, real estate developers, and individuals in high-profile careers may also worry about the risk of being sued at some point. If this is a concern for you, one option you may want to consider is an irrevocable trust.

Irrevocable Trust Benefits

There are many different types of trusts that serve a variety of purposes. As the name implies, irrevocable trusts cannot be easily terminated or modified once they are established. When property is placed in an irrevocable trust, it becomes the property of the trust. The person who created the trust, the grantor, no longer owns the property. This means that if a grantor is sued, the assets in the trust cannot be touched – they are safe from creditors and plaintiffs. Furthermore, because the assets are removed from the grantor's estate, an irrevocable trust relieves the grantor of the tax liability generated by the assets.


Flower Mound Elder Law AttorneyMedicare is a crucial healthcare benefit for many older adults, but unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to get Medicare to pay for your medical treatment or services. If you have received a denial from Medicare on a claim you submitted, there are some steps you can take to try and appeal the decision.

If you feel that you have been unfairly denied a claim, your first step should be to consult an elder law attorney. Your attorney will help you understand the details of the denial and advise you on how to proceed with an appeal.

Responding to a Medicare Denial

Dealing with health concerns is difficult enough. When Medicare denies you coverage of a medical service, supply, or medication, it can exacerbate the stress immensely.


Denton County Estate Planning LawyerLife is anything but predictable - which is why estate planning is important for individuals of any age. A power of attorney (POA) document allows you to designate a trusted individual to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.

When selecting an individual to serve as your power of attorney, it is essential to choose someone you can trust with the responsibility and authority that comes with the role. To help ensure you make an informed decision, consider the following five questions.

Can This Person Handle the Responsibilities that Come With Being a Power of Attorney?

Serving as a power of attorney means making significant decisions and taking on important financial responsibilities. The person you select should be able to handle the potential challenges that come with the role. Ask yourself if this person has the skills to make sound decisions and handle the legal and financial aspects of managing your affairs.


Flower Mound Wills and Trusts LawyerGiving money to charity is a great way to leave a legacy and help others in need. Incorporating charitable giving into your Texas estate plan can have several significant benefits, both for you and the organizations that will receive your support. In some cases, thoughtful philanthropic planning can also reduce the amount of tax due on your estate.

When it comes to estate planning in Texas, there are several ways to incorporate charitable giving into your plan. Some of the most common methods include creating a charitable trust, donating through an estate plan beneficiary designation, and making a bequest in your will.

Exploring the Benefits of Charitable Trusts

A charitable trust is a legal document that establishes an account funded by your assets and held for the benefit of one or more charities. Charitable trusts allow you to donate a large sum of money to the organization(s) of your choice and receive significant tax benefits, as well as the satisfaction that comes with supporting the causes you believe in.


Denton County adult guardianship lawyerTexas law allows an individual to become another person's guardian under certain circumstances. A guardian is someone who is legally responsible for taking care of another person's physical or financial wellbeing. In the case of an aging parent, a guardian may be needed if they are no longer able to make sound decisions on their own or manage their own property.

If your parent is getting older and struggling with cognitive decline or physical health concerns, you may be interested in exploring your legal options. Guardianship is a serious decision, and it is important to understand exactly what the process involves before making any decisions.

Basics of Adult Guardianship in Texas

There are two main types of guardianship in Texas. "Guardianship of the person" gives an individual authority over another person's healthcare. A guardian of the person is responsible for making decisions about medical care and living arrangements.


Texas estate planning lawyerAs the term "Autism Spectrum Disorder" implies, autism exists on a spectrum. Some individuals with autism may require minimal support, while others require substantial assistance with decision-making and everyday life activities. If you have a child with autism, a special needs trust (SNT) is an important tool that can help ensure their financial security into adulthood.

A special needs trust allows you to set aside funds that are used exclusively for the benefit of your child without impacting his or her eligibility for government benefits. This blog will explain the fundamentals of a special needs trust as well as the unique benefits it may provide to families with autistic children. 

Basics of a Special Needs Trust 

A trust is a legal document that defines how assets are to be managed and distributed. A special needs trust is specifically designed for individuals with disabilities, such as autism, who receive government benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 


Estate Planning for Texas Snowbirds

Posted on in Elder Law

Texas estate planning attorneyFor many people, after working all their adult life and saving for retirement, the satisfaction when that last day of work finally arrives can be exhilarating. Once they retire, many people choose to split their time between states, depending on the seasons and weather. For example, some Denton County retirees split their time between North Texas in the warmer months and heading to warmer climates during the winter months. But just how does this splitting of residences impact a “snowbird’s” estate plan and which state laws should be followed? The following is a brief overview. For more detailed information about your particular situation, an estate planning attorney from our firm can help.

Establishing Residency

Each state sets its own estate laws, so where you live will determine which laws will apply to your estate it needs to be determined which state you actually live in. In some cases, this can be fairly easy. If you only own real estate property in one location, do your banking with one financial institution, and register your vehicle in one state, this would likely be your state of residence.

However, if you own real estate in both Texas and the other state you spend in, have financial accounts in multiple banks, or even have changed your vehicle registration depending on where you are staying, it can be more difficult to determine which state is your legal residence. If you fall into the multiple-factor category, then the state you are registered to vote in is the state that would be considered your legal residence.  


When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

Posted on in Estate Planning

flower mound estate planning lawyerExecuting a will or creating a trust is not the end of estate planning. You may have created these documents years ago, or even decades ago. You may not even know where your original copies are anymore. If it has been a long time since you visited your estate plans, it may be time to dust them off and review them to make sure the plan you have on paper is still the plan you want. Additionally, laws change over time. A higher court ruling could have affected the way your documents will be interpreted since you made them. It is wise to have your estate plans periodically reviewed by a lawyer - and to periodically look over them yourself. 

When to Revisit Your Estate Plans

If you have experienced any of these life changes, you may want to review and possibly edit your estate plans: 

  • Moving - If you changed apartments across town, you probably do not need to worry. However, if you sold your house and bought a new one, or you moved across state lines, then you will definitely want to take a look. Your old plan may specifically reference the address of a house you no longer own. Plus, state laws regarding estate planning can vary wildly. 


Should I Use a Will or a Trust?

Posted on in Estate Planning

flower mound estate planning lawyerIn a previous blog, we discussed incapacity planning. Incapacity planning is an important part of estate planning that involves planning for your own future care. The other part of estate planning - testamentary planning - is exactly what people think of when they hear the term “estate planning.” Testamentary planning is deciding during your lifetime who will receive your property when you pass away. 

The two main ways to accomplish this are through trusts and wills. Some people choose one or the other, and others use both. Which one will work better for you depends on a number of factors, such as the size of your estate and who your beneficiaries are. Our attorneys can work with you and help you determine which documents you need in your testamentary estate plan. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Will or a Trust

Each estate, each family, and each testator are unique. You will need to think about what your personal priorities are in estate planning. A few things to think about include: 

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