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What if a grandparent wants to leave their minor grandchild a sum of money for their college education? Or what if a minor child is named as the beneficiary of an uncle’s life insurance policy and he passes before the child turns 18? While their intent is sincere, in both situations their wishes are not so easily accommodated. The reason is that a child under the age of 18 who inherits money or property in Texas cannot receive it outright. Nor can the […]

In general, foreign wills – from other states or countries – can be probated in Texas, but there are certain requirements that must be met and particular rules that must be followed in order to successfully probate the will. First, a will is deemed to be foreign if it was executed in a jurisdiction outside of Texas, whether merely another state or another country altogether. Wills are typically made where the decedent and their property resides, but it is possible that the decedent […]

Plenty of federal and state entities have given legal meaning to the words “estate” and “assets,” but in order to keep things as uncomplicated as possible here, we’ll boil it down to their practical definitions. Your estate Simply put, your estate is comprised of all your assets at the time you pass away. So that would include all your real property, like your primary residence and any vacation homes, and all your personal property, like household items, cars, jewelry, and collectibles. Also included […]

To understand your business, you have to understand the numbers. Even if you’re not mathematically inclined, or you have a degree in engineering instead of accounting, there are some simple financial ratios that will give you a quick, high-level view of your business without having to bother your CPA. These ratios measure the relationship between two or more elements of your company’s financial statements. Tracking and comparing the results over several accounting periods allows you to follow trends in your company’s performance and […]

An objective of many estate plans is to provide a smooth transition for loved ones. The effectiveness of your plan in accomplishing that goal depends on a few key people or entities you select to handle your affairs in your absence. Your estate planning documents create these roles, and the people you select to fill them are known as fiduciaries. What are the types of fiduciaries? Generally speaking, there are four types of fiduciaries in your estate plan – executor, guardian, agent, and […]

You’ve probably seen a movie or read a book where the protagonist is in the last minutes or seconds of their life, and they whisper instructions as to who they want their prized collectibles or precious mementos to go to after they’re gone. In novels and movies, this may seem like a perfectly legitimate way to make your testamentary wishes known, but would these last words constitute a valid will in the real world? Up until 2007 in Texas, the answer would have […]

Every small business owner knows that cash flow is the key to their company’s survival. Cash comes from customers, so preserving those relationships is vital to a small business. But what do you do when customers stop paying their bills? You may have extended credit and now your customer has gone silent. The invoice is well past due and they won’t respond. Clearly, there is a problem, but how do you go about working through the issues and getting paid? When word of […]

A will is a tried and true estate planning tool that enables you to, among other things, distribute your assets and protect your legacy. And although every will is different, each should have the following ten features to provide a seamless transition for loved ones and ensure the will’s validity and effectiveness. Heading, marital history, and children – The first section of your will should include your full name, county of residence, and a declaration that you intend for the document to be […]

Most states, including Texas, recognize handwritten (or “holographic”) wills as valid. As you might expect, there are pros and cons to writing your own will. Holographic wills don’t have to be signed by a witness or notarized, and they can be drafted without the help of an attorney. On the downside, they can be attacked more easily than formal or self-proven wills. For example, probating a handwritten will requires someone you know testifying that the will is actually in your handwriting. If someone […]

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