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Recent Blog Posts

Texas Closes the Loophole Used to Defraud Seniors and Others

 Posted on July 10,2024 in Elder Law

TX elder law attorneyS.B. 576 went into effect almost a year ago to restrict the exploitation of senior citizens and mentally disabled people. While scams and scammers change from week to week, this vulnerable group of seniors and the mentally disabled are common targets of "friends" and caretakers looking for a quick buck. All too often, these fraudsters have been able to get away with stealing money, possessions, and even identities, thanks to a loophole in Texas law. Comprehensive estate planning can help prevent unscrupulous people from taking advantage of the elderly.

If you suspect a vulnerable person is being taken advantage of by dishonest caretakers, friends, or greedy family members, take immediate action. A skilled Flower Mound estate planning attorney can help determine whether fraud has occurred and, if so, how to hold the person who committed the fraud accountable and ensure your loved one is safe. This can be a difficult time and a complex situation that benefits from speaking to an experienced lawyer.

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Reasons to Create Statutory Durable Powers of Attorney

 Posted on June 21,2024 in Estate Planning

TX estate planning lawyerAging generally brings with it a need to have plans in place for the future. People want to make sure their finances are in order, and their medical wishes for a variety of scenarios are stated clearly so that if at some point in the future, they are not able to speak up for themselves and say what they want, someone can do it for them based on what they have said they would want in that situation. You can draft a legal document known as a statutory durable power of attorney (SDPOA), which allows you to appoint someone else, otherwise known as an attorney-in-fact or agent. This agent has the authority to make various decisions for you in the hypothetical event that you become incapacitated and unable to express your wishes. If you are interested in creating an SDPOA, speak with a qualified Denton County, TX elder law attorney to find out more.

Why Is an SDPOA Necessary?

When you set up an SDPOA, you are considered the “principal,” and you can appoint an agent who can make legal or financial decisions for you. You can establish an SDPOA to be effective immediately or once you are incapacitated. Your appointed agent will then be able to manage your finances, pay your bills, invest funds, and handle other issues for you.

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Incapacity Planning in Texas

 Posted on June 10,2024 in Estate Planning

TX estate lawyerMany people decide that the time has come for estate planning when they become concerned that they may become incapacitated and unable to make sound decisions. Incapacity planning is the term that refers to plans you make when you are still capable in case you become incapacitated in the future. With extended life expectancy seeing people live much older than they used to, age-related impaired capacity is more prevalent than it used to be. When you are young and healthy, you have no way of knowing whether you might end up with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or some other form of cognitive decline. Once that happens, it is generally too late to put your affairs in place. If you are wondering about incapacity planning, speak with a trusted Flower Mound, TX estate planning attorney to find out more.

What Does Incapacity Planning Include?

A robust plan for hypothetical incapacity includes several documents. Each serves its own distinct purpose. Some of the documents you might wish to include in your incapacity planning for the future of your estate are:

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Financial Elder Abuse

 Posted on May 27,2024 in Elder Law

TX elder law attorneyAs people age, they become vulnerable to criminal attempts to take advantage of them. Unfortunately,  the more people depend on others, the more likely it is that someone will use that to exploit them, often for financial gain. Anyone who is seemingly helping a senior citizen, whether they are their child, spouse, sibling, neighbor, or caregiver, can find themself in a position where they can con the person into giving them money or control over their money in a way that goes against the senior citizen’s interests. If you are concerned that your aging parent is a victim of elder financial abuse, speak with a Texas elder law attorney to see what you can do to stop it.

What is Considered Financial Abuse?

Often, people of advanced age seek help with their financial management. People with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other forms of cognitive impairment may not even realize they need this assistance, but a caring family member often handles it all on their behalf. Even though they require help, the money is still theirs to benefit from, and someone helping them manage it does not have the right to use it however they see fit. Unfortunately, victims of elder financial abuse are often unaware of what is happening and are unable to speak up for themselves or take steps to stop it.

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Texas Spendthrift Trusts Explained

 Posted on May 08,2024 in Estate Planning

TX estate lawyerIt is common for people to spend more money than they probably should. Sometimes, this happens out of necessity, if you simply need to buy food or pay rent and do not have enough money to cover it all. Other times, it is simply a matter of mismanaging funds, for example, if someone feels like going on a shopping spree or buying a car they cannot afford because it seems like something fun to do. Regardless of the reason why, overspending is quite common in America, leaving people in debt or with bad credit. If your child tends to spend money irresponsibly, you might be worried about how they will manage an inheritance you plan on leaving them. In such cases, it might be advisable to create a spendthrift trust. If this is a situation you can relate to, speak with an experienced Flower Mound, TX estate planning attorney to find out more.

What is a Spendthrift Trust?

If you want to leave your children an inheritance to ensure they are financially stable in the future, you might feel uncomfortable with the idea of simply leaving them money in a will. Inheritances are generally left to people you hope can benefit from and appreciate them. If you have reason to worry that your children will burn through their inheritance irresponsibly without using their money in a wise and responsible manner, you might want to put some restrictions on how the money you leave behind can be used. That is just what a spendthrift trust can do.

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What Is a Living Will?

 Posted on April 24,2024 in Estate Planning

TX estate lawyerOne thing you can be sure of is that you have no way of knowing what will happen in the future. You could be in great health with a regular exercise routine an excellent diet, and an unforeseen accident or illness could change everything. While it is never nice to think about the worst-case scenario, it can be useful to force yourself to do so anyway and come up with plans for various possible situations that might occur. For example, if you are in a coma and the doctors are sure you will not recover, would you prefer to stay connected to a feeding tube and ventilation? If not, would you want to donate your intact organs to others?

Questions like these are certainly challenging to consider and can be made even more difficult to answer in the heat of the moment. You can draft a living will, which is an aspect of estate planning that can detail the types of medical care you wish to receive or refuse if you are incapacitated and unable to make or express decisions in real-time. Medical teams then refer to your living will and act in accordance. If you are considering a living will, speak with a qualified Flower Mound, TX estate planning attorney to find out more.

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When Is It a Good Idea to Conduct an Estate Plan Review?

 Posted on April 09,2024 in Estate Planning

TX estate planning lawyerWhen you draw up a will, it is like you are giving a wonderful gift to the people you will leave behind because you are taking the guesswork and uncertainty out of the equation. Your loved ones will know exactly what you want to be done with your assets and property even though you will not be there to tell them yourself. It eliminates any need for them to fight over who should get what.

However, even though having a will already sets you apart from about half the country according to a recent Gallup Poll, it does not mean that you are now set and do not need to think about this again. Like with everything in life, things can always change.

Maybe you want to leave everything you have to your children when you pass, but they were both minors living under your roof when you first wrote up your will, and now one is a single parent struggling to get by while the other is a successful CEO of a global company. Maybe a sister you were planning on leaving assets to has cut you out of her life. Maybe you have gotten married again since you wrote it. Maybe you have gotten involved with a charitable organization since you drew up your will and you would now like to leave it with something as well.

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Life Insurance Estate Planning in Texas 

 Posted on March 21,2024 in Estate Planning

Flower Mound estate planning lawyerProtecting your hard-earned assets and ensuring a secure financial future for your loved ones is one of the most vital aspects of life plans. Estate planning is a crucial aspect of this process, and life insurance plays a vital role in preserving and transferring wealth to your beneficiaries. A Texas lawyer can help you properly incorporate life insurance into your estate planning strategy.

Liquidity for Estate Taxes

One of the primary concerns is the potential for estate taxes when handling life insurance. These taxes can significantly reduce the value of your estate, leaving your beneficiaries with a lesser inheritance than intended. Life insurance can provide the necessary liquidity to pay estate taxes, ensuring that your assets remain intact and can be distributed according to your wishes.

Wealth Replacement

Life insurance can also serve as a wealth replacement tool in your estate plan. For example, if you own a business or possess illiquid assets you intend to pass on to specific beneficiaries, life insurance can provide the funds to compensate other beneficiaries equitably. This ensures that your estate is divided fairly among your loved ones, preventing potential conflicts and preserving family harmony.

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Estate Planning for Blended Families in Texas

 Posted on March 06,2024 in Estate Planning

Flower Mound estate planning lawyerEstate planning can be a complex process, especially for blended families. With the rise of divorce and remarriage, many families now include children from previous relationships, making the distribution of assets and decision-making responsibilities more challenging. A Texas attorney can help you understand the essential aspects of estate planning for blended families and provide guidance on how to ensure your wishes are carried out.

What You Should Know About Texas Estate Planning Laws

Texas estate planning laws differ from those in other states, so it is crucial to work with a knowledgeable attorney who understands the nuances of Texas law. In Texas, if you pass away without a will (intestate), any assets will be distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws, which may not align with your wishes. This is particularly important for blended families, as the default distribution may not provide for your stepchildren or other family members as you intended.

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The Good and Bad of Texas Probate

 Posted on February 21,2024 in Estate Planning

Denton County estate planning lawyerProbate in Texas is not always as complicated as it may seem. However, it is often made easier with the help of an attorney. In an ideal circumstance, the probate process will run quickly and efficiently. However, it can just as easily become a nightmare for the loved ones left behind. There are both pros and cons to the probate process that you will want to know about before tragedy strikes.

What is Probate?

Probate is the process of the Probate Court where a decedent’s assets are distributed. It is often administered through a will or the deceased who died intestate. The deceased’s assets are collected and used to pay for any remaining liabilities their estate may still have before being adequately distributed to other beneficiaries. All assets that cannot pass directly to beneficiaries must undergo probate.

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