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Texas Courts Strictly Construe Language in Wills The courts will generally enforce the terms of a valid will.  The focus is on the language of the will, not external evidence that suggests a different meaning for the language included in the will.  A good example of this can be found in Estate of Neal, No. 02-16-00381-CV…Continue...
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Obtaining Clear Title When Will Not Probated How do you get clear title to real estate when the owner died with a will, but the will was never admitted to probate? The court addressed this in Ramirez v. Galvan, No. 03-17-00101-CV (Tex. App.–Austin 2018). Facts and Procedural History Mrs. Ramirez was diagnosed with terminal cancer.…Continue...
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In In re Perkins, 10-17-00311-CV (Tex. App.—Waco 2017), the appeals court considered whether an estate beneficiary can bring suit in district court for damages against an executor while the probate administration is pending in the county court. Facts & Procedural History The facts and procedural history are as follows: The case involved a probate dispute…Continue...
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In the states that allow them, such as Texas, Lady bird deeds are a relatively simple and useful tool that should be used more often. The In re Estate of Maggie Williams Turner, No. 06-17-00071-CV (Tex. App.–Texarkana 2017), case provides an opportunity to consider the benefits of these types of deeds. Facts and Procedural History…Continue...
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Settlement agreements entered into during the probate process are generally binding. But what happens when one party enters into an agreement and later changes their mind? Can they get out of the settlement agreement? The court recently addressed this in Estate of Riefler, No. 07-16-00375-CV (Tex. App.–Amarillo 2017). Facts and Procedural History The facts and…Continue...
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Imagine you are appointed as the executor for a family member or loved one and, as part of the probate process, you discover that the decedent transferred their primary asset to another party during their lifetime. Also imagine that they did so when they were of sound mind and it appears that they did so…Continue...
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The probate process can present a number of challenges for surviving spouses. These challenges can include figuring out how to pay personal expenses when the primary liquid assets are tied up in probate. Texas law allows for a widow’s allowance to cover these expenses. The court in Estate of Nielsen, No. 06-17-00055-CV (Tex. App.–Texarakana 2017)…Continue...
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It may be convenient to have another party hold property with the intent that the property revert back to the owner when the holder dies. One way to accomplish this is to sell property to the other party and contract with that party to name the owner as the beneficiary of the property in his…Continue...
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When someone dies, their heirs and other interested parties have to piece together the information needed to probate the estate.  There are a number of documents and information to locate, including information about: The original documents, including wills and trusts, birth certificate and Social Security card (for the decedent and children), marriage licenses and divorce decrees,…Continue...
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There are times when a minor or child needs to open a checking or savings account.  This begs the question, can a child legally open a bank account?  Texas law addresses this. Minority Laws in Texas Generally In Texas, an individual is a minor if they are younger than 18 years of age. The law…Continue...
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