Monday, December 28, 2015

What are Your Goals for the New Year?

The start of a New Year is an excellent time to evaluate your life and set some goals! Whether you call them goals, wishes or resolutions, there is a feeling of promise about starting a fresh new year.

One efficient way to focus your energies is to make a list of the different areas of your life. Then you can decide what you want to accomplish in each area.

For example:
  1. Personal/ Family Life
  2. Health/ Nutrition
  3. Work/Career/ My Business
  4. Spiritual/ Helping others
  5. Time with Friends/Neighbors
  6. Personal Growth/ Learning
Don't forget #6! It is important to actually schedule some time for yourself. Everyone needs it and by treating yourself well you are able to treat others well, too. 

Have a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year! #newyearsresolutions

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
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Monday, December 21, 2015

The Holiday Spirit

Are you in the holiday spirit?  

For some people, the holidays are a time of fond memories and warm feelings.  For others, the holidays are a time to dread.

Many people get stressed during holiday time, even if they do not celebrate the religious aspects of the holiday season.  Why?

  1. Commercial pressure of our society.
  2. Expectations that others have, or that we think they have. 
  3. Dreary days and less sunlight. 
  4. End of the year deadlines in business and work (accounting, inventory, budgeting). 
  5. Travel and out of town guests. 
  6. Missing departed loved ones or family members that have moved away. 
  7. Going through a "tough time". Divorce, illness or other life changes feel magnified during the holiday season. 
  8. Abbreviated holiday hours of businesses can make it harder to get things done. 
  9. Lots of traffic and waiting in line. 
  10. Feeling that everything is out of their control. 
For some people depression also appears or increases around the holidays.   

Here are some things you can do to get and keep the Holiday spirit!
  1. Know how to say "no". 
  2. Smile more.
  3. Call or visit someone you know who is lonely.
  4. Invite someone to a meal with you if they will be alone over the holidays (or take them some food if they are shut-in at their home.)
  5. Practice a random act of kindness. 
  6. Take a walk, alone,  in a place that makes you feel good.  
  7. Give yourself a gift (even if it is just a break, doing nothing).
  8. Ask yourself, "how important is this really?" and cut out activities that you don't need.
  9. Get enough rest and regular nutritious food. 
  10. Ask for help. If you are depressed, lonely, or just need help running errands or cooking a meal, know how to ask for (and accept) the help of others rather than trying to do it all yourself. 
The "holiday spirit" really has nothing to do with expectations, purchases, or to-do lists. It is about appreciating who we are and what we have. It is about showing our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues that we appreciate them! 

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Harassment Prohibited by Court During a Divorce

If you are in the process of a divorce, you may have specific Temporary Orders in place that are the result of a court hearing or mediation. You likely have "Standing Orders" in place that automatically apply to every divorce filed in your Texas county.

Regardless, spouses are not to harass each other during a divorce. This includes harassing and threatening each other in voice mails, texts, video chat, and electronic voice transmission and messaging, as well as in person, on social media, by telephone, and through third parties.

What to do if you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse cannot seem to communicate civilly?

  1. Take care of business-  you will have to cooperate to be sure bills are paid, children are cared for, mail is picked up.   Keep your communications matter-of-fact and businesslike.  
  2. Go to your "calm place"-  Whether it is counting to 10 or humming your favorite song, have something that you can do to "remind yourself" to keep it calm. 
  3. Walk away, hang up the phone, ignore the text.   Once you have taken care of essential business, its time to move on.  "The last word" is often the one that starts trouble.  
  4. Learn to say, "I'll think about it and get back to you."
Keep communications short, calm, and relevant to avoid problems. 

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
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Sunday, December 6, 2015

How Many Certified Letters Testamentary Should You Order?

If you have recently been to a Texas probate court and been granted  Letters Testamentary, you will be asked how many certified copies you need.  How should you determine this? 

The first thing that you should do is to make a list of the property that needs to be transferred. Chances are that your attorney already has asked you for this information, probably at your first meeting. However, you may know more about the estate now than you did then.    

Here is how to determine how many copies of Letters Testamentary you need.  If there were bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies or any other assets that had a properly executed beneficiary designation on file, you do not need to show the Letters Testamentary for the transfer of these assets.

  1. Get a certified copy of the Letters Testamentary for each banking institution that you will be visiting or writing to for the purpose of account transfer.  (properly titled joint accounts, POD accounts or TOD accounts will not be include in probate court).  You may need more than one if you are dealing with different departments of the same institution. (say, one for the trust department, one for the general banking). 
  2. How many investment firms will you be contacting? One for each.
  3. How many life insurance policies are payable to the estate?  Get one for each life insurance company you will be dealing with when the life insurance is payable to the deceased person's estate.
  4. One or two copies for yourself to keep with your records. Always a good idea in case an asset shows up later that you did not know about or that you thought could be transferred without the need for the paperwork. You may also need to show the Letters Testamentary to transfer miscellaneous property, small pieces of property or to show your authority to do so.  Don't forget to check the Texas Unclaimed Property website!
  5. One for each piece of real estate that you are transferring or selling. 
  6. Your attorney may want a certified copy for his/her file.
Other documents may be needed!  You may also need to have a certified copy of the Order Admitting the Will to Probate and a certified copy of the Will that was admitted to probate.   Forms that are specific to that bank, insurance company or investment firm may need to be completed as well. To save yourself some time, research in advance what will be required for each transfer. Then you can order the necessary certified documents all at once to prevent trips to the courthouse and save time. 

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference."
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