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When Is A Living Trust A Waste Of Money

One of my biggest pet peeves over the years has been the over-selling of living trust packages to folks doing their estate planning. There are definitely times when a living trust is a good estate planning tool. However, for many individuals a living trust is an unnecessary expense.                                                  

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Don't Wait Until The Holidays To Do Your Estate Planning (That Might Be Too Late)

The time of year is coming up for holiday travel and family gatherings. Holiday travel frequently causes clients to make a desperate last minute call to my office to make estate plans. If the call comes very close to the holiday travel date, it may not be possible to get the documents drafted in time. Attorneys like to take time off to enjoy the holidays too.    
                                            

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The Holidays: The Perfect Time To Talk To Your Family About Legal Arrangements

Now that we’re past Halloween, we are head-long into the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, and soon, you’ll be surrounded by friends and family. Believe it or not, those are perfect times to talk to your loved ones about estate planning. After all, it beats talking about politics, doesn’t it? 


                                                               

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When Is A Living Trust A Good Estate Planning Tool?

The term “Living Trust” has become a buzz word for people looking at estate planning information online or in other resources. Some of those sources of information simply may be a marketing tool to drum up business, without analyzing whether the expense involved in setting up a living trust is really justified for the individual.   

Years ago, traveling seminars would roll into town, serving steak dinners, and selling estate planning packages with living trusts for everyone, at a cost of several thousand dollars. Many of those people had absolutely no reason to have a living trust to deal with their simple estates.


My advice is that if you are thinking about a living trust for your estate planning, set up an appointment with a qualified estate planning attorney to fully discuss why you may or may not need one. 

Below are some of the reasons a living trust might be a good tool for your estate planning:

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Slick Trick In Texas To Transfer Real Estate Without Probate

For many people, their residence and other real estate comprises the biggest part of an estate that requires probate to pass title. Texas law has recognized an estate planning trick that is extremely effective and low cost, called a deed with a retained life estate or “Lady Bird” deed. This tool can be used for all types of real estate interests. If you have drawn up this deed to real property prior to your death, you might be able to probate entirely, if the rest of your assets have been designated with beneficiary or payable on death arrangements.

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What Is Involved In Setting Up A Living Trust

Setting up a living trust is the best way to ensure your assets are passed onto the right people if you pass away. So how do you start the process?          

The first advice I would give you is to consult an estate planning attorney. This is in the area where self-help and online resources like LegalZoom can get you into trouble. If the trust and follow-up steps are not done correctly, you can have totally wasted the time and money you may have invested in the program. 

After you have found a qualified attorney, follow these steps...


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Part 6: The Cost Of Probate Alternatives

In this series of blogs, I am outlining various types of probates or probate alternatives to settle an estate and their likely costs. As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, the cost is predominantly determined by the type of procedure followed. 

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Part 5: The Cost Of A Full Dependent Administration

In this series of blogs, I have outlined various different types of probates and probate alternatives to help you settle an estate and understand the potential costs. As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, the cost is predominantly determined by the type of procedure followed. 

  • In Part One, I discussed probate as a muniment of title, which is usually one of the least expensive procedures. 
  • In Part Two, I discussed the cost of an independent administration of the estate. Both of those procedures require the decedent to have had a will. 
  • In Part Three, I discussed how if there is no will, the least expensive way to settle the estate through a court proceeding is a small estate affidavit. 
  • In Part Four, I discussed the high cost of a proceeding to determine heirship and for administration of the estate.

Today, I’ll walk you through dependent administration, a type of proceeding that can potentially be more expensive.


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It’s Not Too Late For A “Postnup” Agreement

Your wedding day has come and gone, and you never got around to drawing up that prenup agreement. 

There is good news. If you and your spouse can agree on the parameters, it’s not too late to outline how your property will be classified, as community or separate, how your joint finances will be handled, and support for children from prior marriages —even if you’re already married. You can still accomplish this through a postnup agreement. 

The sooner you create a postnup after the marriage, the easier it is. However, a postnup agreement can be done at any time, regardless of how long you have been married. 

A postnup agreement even can be a tool in an estate plan to clearly delineate each spouse’s separate property if the plan for distribution of that separate property is different from the rest of the estate plan. 

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Part 4: The Cost Of A Determination Of Heirship Proceeding

In this series of blogs, I am outlining various different types of probates or probate alternatives to settle an estate and their likely costs. As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, the cost is predominantly determined by the type of procedure followed. 

In Part One, I discussed probate as a muniment of title, which is usually one of the least expensive procedures. In Part Two, I discussed the cost of an independent administration of the estate. Both of those procedures require the decedent to have had a will. In Part Three I discussed how if there is no will, the least expensive way to settle the estate through a court proceeding is a small estate affidavit.

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