Monday, January 27, 2014

Relocating to The Woodlands Texas

Relocating to a new area can be exciting and challenging! 

The Woodlands Texas is growing fast.   Exxon Mobil is expanding in the area, with a 365-acre campus currently under construction.  This expansion will bring Exxon Mobil employees to the area and will also bring other business, and opportunities to the area, including new small businesses of all types.  Here is an interesting piece in this Houston Chronicle Blog about the expansion.  And for a perspective on how the Exxon Mobil expansion is affecting The Woodlands, check out this article on Woodlandsonline. And here is an interesting article on "The Exxon Mobil Effect" by Houston Chronicle writer Nancy Sarnoff. 

A 2012 Article on CNN Money named The Woodlands as a "Top Earning Town". 

The Woodlands is full of business and investment opportunities and is a great place to raise a family. For more demographics, statistics and information about The Woodlands, check out the "Visitors Guide" at woodlandsonline, and also 

If you are relocating, we can help you by drafting and negotiating  leases, contracts for purchase of property, and employment contracts. We can help you draft or update your Last Will and Testament (especially important if you are coming here from out of state).   If you or your spouse are looking to open a new business, we can assist you with the legal aspects of new business start-up in Montgomery County, Texas and surrounding areas.  

Our family law attorneys are ready to assist our new neighbors with family law cases including adoptions, modification of visitation and child support cases, and other family law situations. 

We at Kalish Law Office have a long history in this geographical area, and have developed excellent working relationships with a variety of other professionals in complimentary areas of expertise, such as Realtors, bankers, mortgage brokers, CPAs, insurance agents, commercial property owners and others. Even if you are just considering relocation, we can give you guidance from the outset and help you make a long-range plan and help you put together a "relocation plan". 

Kalish Law Office welcomes the Exxon Mobil employees and other new residents to our community and are proud to be a part of this exciting period of growth in our area.   We are celebrating our 30th year in business during 2014!     se habla español

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The "Why", "When" and "How" of Having a Will

The laws governing wills vary state by state. When a person dies without a will, state law will determine who gets the property.   This can result in unhappy surprises for the surviving family, especially in a step family situation. 

If you do not decide how you would like your property to be distributed and put this into writing it will be decided for you! So it is very important to be sure that you have a will that specifies your wishes.

Other issues that can be dealt with in your will include the following: whether you would like burial or cremation, where you would like to be buried, who should get specific items and who gets the family pets. (Pets are important family members who are unable to speak for themselves, so it is a good idea to think about who would take them if you were no longer around). 

Your state law will specify the formalities and language that should be followed in order to make  it easier to transfer property upon your demise with minimal expense and court involvement.

Although some states allow  handwritten wills, certain specifications must be followed and these types of wills can easily create a need for court interpretation. So can writing your own will (even if you use a computer program).  Having an inaccurate will can be worse than having no will at all because it can be ambiguous (which can give a result you were trying to avoid), and may need to be interpreted by the courts (which costs money).

Since probate law varies by state, if you move to another state you should check with an attorney in your new state about executing a new will.

If you add a child to your family and your will does not provide for that event, you should update your will.  Deciding who should raise children in the event of the death of both parents is often one of the toughest decisions that parents have to make.

If you have a significant change in your financial status, you should re-evaluate and update your will and consider whether you need further estate planning. If someone who you have named as a executor, trustee, or major beneficiary dies, you may need to update your will. 

Although no one enjoys thinking about these things, having an advance plan can give peace of mind to you and your family.

Since 1984  Se habla español

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tax Time is Review Time!

It is easy to get busy with daily life and forget to leave time for review and updating.    Whenever I am advising clients to periodically review certain information, I tell them to pick a certain time of year for review and use that same time every year.   It is easier to remember that way.

No matter what kind of calendaring or "to-do" lists you use, whether you use apps or a plain old paper wall calendar, you can benefit from scheduling your own "yearly review time".

We often advise "tax time" as the best time to review because it is easy to remember and you are going to have your bookkeeping and paperwork spread out anyway.

A few important things that I advise you to review yearly:

  1. Your Will: Think that you "just" updated your will? Look at the year you signed it.  You may find that it was much further in the past than you think.  Time to update!
  2. Medical powers of attorney & Durable Powers of Attorney (for day-to-day business);
  3. Beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies, retirement accounts and investments;
  4. Your business books and records. If you have a Texas corporation, LLP, or general partnership, you will need to be certain that you have updated your books (whether hard copy or scans) by documenting important events that happened during the last year, paying business taxes or fees due to the state and taken other actions necessary to keep your business in good standing. 
  5. Ongoing business contracts for landlord, service providers, suppliers and so on.  Some contracts automatically renew if you don't say otherwise.  

Calendaring these tasks for the same time every year will help you get them done and avoid an emergency!

Kalish Law Office    Business & Family Attorneys in The Woodlands Texas
Now Celebrating our 30th Year in business!  
se habla espanol

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lawsuits over Same-Sex Benefits - City of Houston

Legal cases currently in the news deal with questions of equal rights & protection, and State versus Federal law

An important and fascinating issue is currently working its way through the court system.   Here is a summary of what has happened so far:

November 20, 2013:  Houston Mayor Annise Parker announces that all legally married city employees are eligible to enroll their spouses for spousal benefits in the city's health care plan. This includes all same-sex couples who are legally married in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage as legal.  Couples enroll in the plan.

December 17, 2013:  Two Houston GOP leaders file a lawsuit in the 310th District Court (family law) alleging that Mayor Parker's policy violates the city's charter and Texas bans on same-sex marriage.   Judge Millard issues a temporary restraining order against the policy. (A temporary restraining order of this type may be granted without notice being given to the opposing party; in this case, the city if certain legal criteria are met).   The attorney who filed the case stated that he filed the suit in family court (which normally only hears divorces, adoptions, custody cases and the like) because the case relates to statutes which ban same-sex marriage and are contained in the Texas Family Code.

December 18, 2013:  The case is discussed in the last city county meeting of 2013.

December 27, 2013: The Houston City Attorney has the case moved from Houston family court to Federal court (due to the "Federal questions" presented in the case).

December 26, 2013:  The civil rights organization Lambda Legal files a federal lawsuit against Mayor Parker and the City of Houston on behalf of three City of Houston employees who are legally married to their same-sex spouses. These three employees had enrolled their spouses in City of Houston benefits. One month after enrolling them the benefits were withdrawn and cancelled, due to the restraining order of December 17, 2013.

January 9, 2014:   A Federal Judge will hear opening arguments in the case removed from family court. The Judge will be deciding whether or not the case should stay in Federal Court or return to State Court, and which judge will be hearing the case.

The two opposing sides will be arguing over whether the fundamental issue is one of federal or state law.  An important issue is the future protection and financial security of same-sex spouses affected by this case.

We will be watching this case closely!

Kalish Law Office- Since 1984
Family & Business Law
The Woodlands, Texas

Se habla español

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thinking of a Separation? Here are some tips...

If you are thinking of separating from your spouse.. here are some things a Texas family law attorney wants you to know...

  1. There is no "legal separation" in Texas.  Here in Texas, you can't file a family law case and ask to be granted a "legal separation". You can, however, file for divorce and ask for "Temporary Orders"  which are court orders that are in effect from the time you separate until further order of the court (which will be the time of final divorce OR dismissal of divorce OR granting of newer temporary orders).
  2. There are things that you can do to make your separation less problematic, even without court intervention. You don't have to file for divorce if you are not ready. 
  3. You and your spouse should decide who is responsible for what, financially speaking.  Decide who is staying at the home and who is paying which bills.  It is best for everyone if you can figure out a way to get through the separation without loss of property (such as threatened home foreclosure, auto repossession, loss of insurance benefits).  
  4. If children are involved, you and your spouse should decide about visitation and child support. How can you get through the separation in a way that is least disruptive and traumatic to your children? 
  5. If children are involved, you and your spouse should decide how to tell them, and when.
  6. You should decide how and when to tell friends and family. 
  7. It may be helpful to have a written agreement between the two of you. This will keep things straight between the two of you but still is not the same thing as having a court-enforceable legal separation.   
  8. You can get help from a family law attorney.   A family law attorney can guide you through the process. You don't have to be ready to file for divorce to benefit from legal advice and legal advice at this stage can actually save you money in the long run. 
  9. Consider counseling if you believe the marriage has a chance and you want to save it. 
  10. Consider all of your options and be ready to be flexible in deciding the next move.
Kalish Law Office -  Family Law Attorneys in The Woodlands, Texas
We are celebrating our 30th Anniversary this year!!