Estate of The Union

We’ve decided to move our blog to WordPress.com (specifically, estateoftheunion.wordpress.com). We will periodically cover a variety of topics related in some way to estate planning and probate issues. These topics include wills, trusts, guardianships, disability documents (such as financial and medical powers of attorneys and advance directives, or “living wills”), transfer taxes (such as the dreaded “death tax”), business succession planning, and more.

Once there, you can “Follow” us by clicking on the link down in the lower...

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It came to our (REPTL’s) attention late last week that Estates Code Section 352.003 may have been inadvertently repealed. It hasn’t been, but because there are sources out there that indicate it has been repealed, we thought it important to get this message out.

The short version – you may have a publication indicating that it was repealed. If so, that publication is incorrect, and you should make a note of that fact. You can stop reading here if you don’t care to know why. If you do care, then sit back. This will take a while.

Section 352.003 was enacted in 2009 as part...

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An Optional Streamlined Method of Will Execution Went Into Effect September 1, 2011.

Most wills in Texas are “self-proved,” making them easier to admit to probate following the testator’s death. Up until September 1, 2011, this required the testator and both witnesses to sign the will twice. Last year, the legislature simplified the process.

Background

Unless a will is entirely in the testator’s handwriting, a Texas will must be “attested to” by two witnesses in order to be valid. But if a will only has the signature of the testator and two witnesses, one of those...

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At the beginning of this year, Congress passed a tax act that extended many of the Bush tax cuts that expired at the end of 2012. But as many practitioners know, the devil is in the details – in this case, the exact statutory language. For example, it took ten years for many to understand that EGTRRA’s one-year repeal of the GST tax in 2010 did not mean that 2010 transfers were forever exempt from GST taxes. When the 2010 tax act passed, I prepared a “translation” of its transfer tax provisions into language more easily understood by tax professionals. Earlier this year, I did the same...

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As many of you know, the Probate Code was amended last year to allow independent executors to file an affidavit in lieu of a full inventory in certain situations. Because of pushback from some probate judges due to common language in wills directing the filing of an inventory, we posted a blog entry on the old site explaining why the affidavit should still be available. Today, we’re recycling that entry due to what we consider to be its importance – at least until the issue can be fixed legislatively.

Background

“Living trusts” designed to avoid probate have not found as...

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We’re back! As many of you know, I switched firms for the first time in my career (after over 30 years at the first one) last summer. It’s taken a while for us to get a website up and running, but I’m now ready to continue our blog – Estate of the Union. We will periodically cover a variety of topics related in some way to estate planning and probate issues. These will relate to wills, trusts, guardianships, disability documents (such as financial and medical powers of attorneys and advance directives, or “living wills”), transfer taxes (such as the dreaded “death tax), business...

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