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Key Life Events That Trigger an Estate Plan Review

 Posted on September 11,2023 in Estate Planning

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.

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Five Things to Know Before Appealing for Medicare Benefits

 Posted on August 25,2023 in Elder Law

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: 

Understanding the Benefits of Hiring a Medicare Attorney

 Posted on August 16,2023 in Elder Law

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. 

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The Top Five Mistakes that People Make During Probate

 Posted on July 28,2023 in Uncategorized

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. 

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What Is Undue Influence in Texas Probate Litigation?

 Posted on July 12,2023 in Estate Planning

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:

  • Active threats to the testator if they do not change their will (i.e., direct threats of physical harm)

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Who Should I Choose as the Executor for My Estate?

 Posted on June 26,2023 in Estate Planning

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. 

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How Does the Lookback Period Work for Texas Medicaid Trusts?

 Posted on June 05,2023 in Estate Planning

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.

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What Are the Advantages of a Spendthrift Trust?

 Posted on May 23,2023 in Estate Planning

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.

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Signs It May Be Time to Change Your Durable Power of Attorney Agent

 Posted on May 08,2023 in Estate Planning

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. 

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What is a Family Settlement Agreement in a Probate Dispute?

 Posted on April 20,2023 in Estate Planning

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.

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