Thursday, December 29, 2016

Resources for Living and Working in The Woodlands Texas

To our readers who live here in The Woodlands and are looking for a central place to go to keep up with all the activities, laws, changes, requirements, and benefits of living in The Woodlands, check out The Woodlands Township website.   It is chock-full of  information and is constantly being updated.

Want to know the schedule for monthly & holiday events?  Want to know when the Ice Rink is open? Looking for a new club or cause to join in the new year?  Need to know about The Woodlands Covenants, Restrictions, and Easements?   They are available online, in their entirety and searchable, with just a few clicks (both residential and commercial).

Information about economic development is easily accessible for businesses.

My personal favorite is the "Residents" tab, which includes a calendar, festival information, and information about parks, pools, trails, and activities.

If you recently visited The Woodlands and are considering moving to our area, check it out.

Even someone who has been here for years can learn a lot about our area on this site!

Kalish Law Office is proud to be entering our 33rd year in The Woodlands!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The 4 Ways to Divorce

Years ago, divorces were all handled pretty much the same way. A divorce may have been contentious or amicable, but the legal procedures didn't vary too much.

Now, there are choices.  These choices allow for greater flexibility in choosing the amount of money spent, the amount of time spent, the emotional energy required, and the type/level of analysis of the assets and debts of the couple.

  1. Pre-Divorce Planning: The first way available is to do some work "pre-divorce".   Prior to even filing the case, some or all of the work of dividing assets and debts and agreeing on child-related issues can be accomplished.  One way to do this is through pre-divorce mediation.  The spouses can attend a mediation session with a family law mediator in which they work out the practicalities of the divorce. They can mediate about issues during the divorce (who is responsible for what and child support/visitation issues while it is pending), and can also work on deciding the ultimate terms of the split, reaching an agreement. 
  2. Collaborative Divorce:  Collaborative Divorce is fairly new. In this process, the parties agree that they will cooperate and share information and that the divorce will not be contested. The case is designated as collaborative and each party has an attorney. Meetings occur and information is shared.  Other neutral professionals (financial planners, therapeutic counselors, realtors) may be part of the team.  If the divorce becomes contested, all agreements are off and the parties must retain other lawyers. This process emphasizes cooperation and respect. 
  3. Traditional Divorce/ Pre-trial settlement:  A divorce may be filed in the traditional way, with or without an allegation of fault.  Since mediation will normally be required by the judge in most Texas divorces, mediation occurs prior to hearings.  The couple may settle the case and enter into a binding settlement agreement, which is entered as a court order and removes the need for trial before the judge. Some people are also able to reach an agreement on their own or with their attorneys' help, without the mediation process. Settlement before the trial date removes the financial and emotional cost of a trial. 
  4. Traditional Divorce with a Trial in Front of Judge or Jury:   The traditional "day in court" still exists, for those who need it.  We have all seen television, and seen the dramatic and emotional world of "Divorce Court" and other such shows. Unfortunately, a full-blown trial is often emotionally difficult, but there are times when it is absolutely necessary.  In those cases, it is important to have a support group to count on, including an attorney you can trust and work closely with. 
Family Law, Business Law, Real Estate Law, Probate
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How to Transfer Vehicles After a Person Passes Away

In order to transfer Texas title to a vehicle that was owned by a person who is now deceased, certain steps must be followed.  

First of all, it must be determined if there is a lien on the vehicle. If money is still owed, it can't be transferred until the loan is paid off.  

Secondly, who should get the vehicle?  Is there a Will? If there is one, and the Will was probated, then the Executor should decide what should be done with the vehicle.   Once the Executor has the court orders (or Letters Testamentary), the Executor will have the legal authority needed. If the vehicle has been left to a certain person in the will, the Executor can transfer the vehicle to that beneficiary by signing the proper forms and the title. 

If the Will does not name a specific person as beneficiary, the Executor will need to make a determination as to who will get it, or whether it will be sold, or even donated, depending on the terms of the will and what is best for the estate. 

If there is no Will at all, then the Texas DMV form  "Affidavit of Heirship for a Motor Vehicle" may be completed.  This is one way to clear the way for title transfer.  This is done through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.  

There may be other options for transfer of this and other property, with the assistance of an attorney and of the probate court. 

Find the original title. If it is not available, you may have to apply for a replacement title through the Texas DMV.   

Remember that until the title is transferred, the estate can have liability for anyone who is driving the car, and the estate can be sued if something happens.  So, it is advised to "park it and lock it" until title is transferred.  Another tip to avoid liability: either accompany the new owner to the DMV to see the transfer with your own eyes, or submit a "Vehicle Transfer Notice" to the DMV, rather than relying on the new owner to get it done. 

Additional Resources: Texas DMV about transfers

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

After Divorce: How to title a Vehicle in Your Own Name

Once you are divorced, you will need to put the title to any vehicle that you have been awarded into your own name.

You will need to be certain that you have vehicle insurance in your own name for it. Also,see to it that you have that proof of insurance and a valid driver license and current inspection before you attempt the transfer.

Your divorce attorney may help you with this. Your ex may be asked to sign a specific form giving you the authority to transfer the title to your name.   You should also get a certified copy of your divorce decree which shows that the vehicle has been awarded to you.  Go to the county tax office with all of this documentation in order to transfer title. Be prepared to pay a title transfer fee.  For more information see the Texas DMV website. 

Remember that if you were awarded the debt on the vehicle it will be your responsibility to pay off any lien. If it was paid by your ex, be prepared to bring the release of lien with you to the Department of Motor Vehicles along with the other paperwork.

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