Monday, October 24, 2016

What is a "Simple Will"?

Most people think that their Last Will and Testament is a “simple” one, but that is not always the case.   A “simple will” is a will that leaves the person’s entire estate to their spouse, or to their children equally.  Or to their spouse first, then to their children equally if their spouse does not survive them. 

Having a step-family can create a need for a more complex will (but not always).  Other reasons that a will may need to be more detailed:
  1. Estate planning is needed and additional provisions need to be added to take advantage of available tax breaks. 
  2. There is an unequal distribution of property or funds between beneficiaries, especially if it s between people of the same "group" (children, siblings).
  3. Someone is being disinherited.
  4. Someone who is a beneficiary, or could be a beneficiary, has a special situation such as a substance abuse issue, or is incarcerated. 
  5. One of the beneficiaries has special needs. 

A complex will is not simple and will always require further discussions and direction.  

If you are taking the time to get a will, take the time to be certain that it is what you need. One size does not fit all!

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What Are my Duties as an Executor?

So, you have gone through the Texas probate process and you are now a new Executor of the Estate. How much is going to be on your plate? What comes next?

Here is what you need to know:

  1. The process doesn't end when you are appointed. In fact, your work is just beginning. 
  2. You are a fiduciary. Under the law, you must act in the best interest of the estate and meet certain obligations in dealing ethically with others. 
  3. It is your job to gather the assets of the estate. You must also gather debts, decide if the debts are legitimate and eventually pay the legitimate debts. 
  4. You will need to see that medical bills and funeral expenses are gathered and that they are properly paid. 
  5. Get ready to open an estate account at the bank. For that you will need an EIN number. 
  6. You will need to see that any necessary tax returns are prepared and discover any tax liability. 
  7. You will be responsible for distributing the bequests to the beneficiaries. 
  8. You will be responsible for notifying some existing creditors and potential claimants about your appointment. You will need to do so in a certain way, that complies with the law. 
  9. You may need to formally notify beneficiaries in the will about the probate case, and give other copies of documents to them.
  10. You will have to prepare an inventory of the estate. 
  11. You will have to file certain documents and affidavits with the probate court, by deadlines that are set by Texas law, and by the court. 
  12. You may have other duties under the will (such as being responsible for cremated remains, or arranging a memorial service). 
  13. You may decide that you need further help from a lawyer. 
  14. Many counties have guides for executors available at the courthouse, in the courtroom, or online that discuss the above in more detail.  Your lawyer, if you have one, will be able to give you specific guidance and instruction. 

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Success Is In the Follow Up!

It's great to make plans and it's great to start projects, but what good do they do if you never finish them?  

It isn't uncommon for us to regularly hear comments like these around the law office; 

  • I came to see you about this legal problem 2 years ago and never did anything about it and now I am getting sued;
  • I meant to send this creditor evidence that I had already paid this but I forgot and now I am getting sued and have to answer the suit by Monday;
  • My dad was going to have a will drawn up but he kept putting it off and he died last week;
  • I opened a file with your office last year but never sent you the paperwork you asked for so that you could proceed; 
  • I have been without child support for my child for 3 years and kept good records but never did anything about it. 
A legal consult can help answer your questions and move you along the path to resolution. Once you've had one, write down your next step and give yourself a deadline to get it done.  Success is in the follow up! 

Civil Attorneys, Family Law, Business Law, Real Estate Law, Probate
"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
Se habla español

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mediation Now Offered at Kalish Law Office


Attorneys, counselors, legal experts, financial experts and mental health professionals! 

We are proud to announce that our family law attorney Siomara Ramirez Pitre is now a Family Law Mediator, Please call our office for more information, available times and dates for mediation in English or Spanish. 

We look forward to accepting your referrals and serving your clients/patients. 

Congratulations Sio! 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

How Do I Get my Ex-Spouse's Name off of the Mortgage?

We get this question a lot: "Now that I am divorced how do I get my ex-spouse's name off of the mortgage?

The answer is: You may not be able to.

Here's why.

The mortgage agreement was made between the mortgage company on one side, and you and your spouse on the other side.   Once the mortgage was signed and processed, the mortgage company had two people held responsible for paying that mortgage, and may not want to let go of one potential source of payment.  If you were the mortgage company, wouldn't you want two people responsible for paying you rather than just one?  The mortgage company certainly has the ability to grant your request, but it is unlikely.

Depending on your mortgage company, your financial situation, and current rates, you may decide to refinance your mortgage so that you are now the only one responsible for it.  But that does take an approval process.  If it works, that can be a great way to cut ties and move on, and it also can result in more favorable mortgage terms for you!

But, as far as being able to just call the mortgage company and say, "Hey, Mortgage Company! Great news, I'm divorced! You can take my spouse's name off the mortgage now!", you will probably end up disappointed.

If you are the spouse who was not awarded the house, you would probably be thrilled to have your name off the mortgage.  You may even be worried that your ex-spouse won't make timely payments, or wish that you could get your ex to try to refinance.  Therefore, it is a good idea for both spouses to discuss their concerns about the mortgage with their own attorneys and set goals about what each would like to happen. This can be discussed in mediation as well.

Family Law, Business Law, Real Estate Law, Probate
"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
Se habla español