Articles Tagged with Estate Planning

Some conversations are easier than others to have with your parents—as a child, a teenager, and even as an adult. And as parents age, there are certain aspects of life their children may be concerned about—especially when planning ahead can potentially avoid disasters in the future. One of these topics is estate planning. While starting the conversation about estate planning with parents may not be easy, it is critical to do so in order for children to know how their parents would like future decisions to be made. Below are some questions that children can ask their parents about estate planning to begin the conversation and ensure they are taken care of in the future.

Do You Have an Estate Plan in Place?

The first question that elder parents should be asked is if they already have an estate plan in place. Some individuals may assume they do not need a will, most likely because they do not have significant assets to pass on, but this is not the case. Having a will can ensure the assets and personal property a person does have is passed on to who they would actually like to receive the gifts and not have to go through a long, drawn-out process.

Additionally, there are other documents in an estate plan that are critical for aging loved ones to have, such as a financial and medical power of attorney—having these documents allows a designated loved one to make decisions on their behalf in case they are physically incapacitated or mentally unable to do so for themselves anymore. These estate planning documents can also identify how they would like to be cared for in the future and how drastic of medical treatment they should receive. This allows loved ones who have to make this decision the peace of mind, knowing they are making choices the person would approve of. Even if an aging parent says they do have an established estate plan, it is still a good idea to have an attorney review it every few years to make sure it is accurate and up to date.

Continue reading

Parents take care of their children as they grow up and age. However, when these parents are getting older, children may get concerned about their parent’s health and well-being. In these cases, they may seek a guardian for their loved one, to take care of their personal and financial affairs. They, of course, want to take their parent’s wishes into account, but also may not want to leave them on their own anymore—especially if they are physically incapacitated or are in mental decline. Below is information about when Texans should seek guardianship for their aging parents, along with essential aspects of a guardianship.

What is a Guardianship?

Guardianship is obtaining the legal authority to make choices for another individual. A guardian is someone responsible for another person’s personal and financial affairs when they are no longer mentally capable of making these decisions for themselves. By law, individuals are assumed mentally capable of making their own decisions; because of this, people must go through a court process to declare someone incapacitated and appoint a guardian for them. A guardianship may be needed if the person cannot take care of themselves due to mental illness, disease, or mental incapacity.

Because guardianships can mean individuals do not have the ability to make decisions for themselves—including the ability to marry, vote, or even make certain medical decisions—courts will sometimes limit a guardian’s authority to the area they may need help with, like financial affairs.

Continue reading

There are many reasons people may want to avoid creating or revising their Houston estate plan as they age. Some may say they do not have the time or money to sit down with an attorney. Others may think that it is unnecessary. However, often, it boils down to a desire to avoid the uncomfortable conversations that must be had when it comes to engaging in the estate planning process. Most people do not want to think about death, let alone talk about it with their loved ones. With that in mind, it makes sense they would want to avoid discussing their estate plan. So how can one approach this conversation and gently persuade their loved one to create or update an old estate plan?

Tips to start the conversation about estate planning:

  • First, it is important to show understanding and empathy. As discussed above, these are conversations no one enjoys having. One should show an understanding of why their loved one may want to avoid the topic. One way to do that is by having patience. Try not to be too overbearing or demanding. It may take more than one conversation to convince a loved one to plan for the unavoidable sooner rather than later.

6a019b003fe4d5970b025d9b3dd866200c-600wi-300x200For many Houstonians, the fear of the unknown health, social, economic, and financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic are prompting intense concern and anxiety. If you are self-isolating or quarantining at home, you probably are already creating your new “normal” schedules, researching online resources, and creating ways to find comfort for yourself and your family.

Experts have suggested that in addition to movie marathons and being on social media, the time at home can be used to accomplish those things that you have been putting off, like spring cleaning and taxes. We suggest that now is a good time to revisit your estate planning goals. Now, more than ever, we’re experiencing the magnitude of just how essential planning for your future is. While most of these Coronavirus events are out of our control, we CAN plan for how important decisions about our estate and our health will be dealt with in the case of the unexpected.  As experienced Houston estate planning and elder law attorneys, all too often we see the dangers and unexpected consequences of not planning.

The bare bones of an estate plan start with a Will. Every adult needs a last will and testament, drafted by an experienced attorney, that will guide your executor to distribute your assets as YOU want them. The next minimum requirement for pre-planning are your powers of attorneys. If you become incapacitated or disabled, your financial (durable) and medical powers of attorneys can empower the right people to legally act for you, make transactions, consent to treatment, and potentially save time, money and even your life.

11.9.19A fear that children will not be motivated to have careers because of their family’s wealth is a concern. However, in the long run, it can hamper how wealth is handled by the next generation.

In a perfect world, discussing a family’s legacy should be a process that begins when children are old enough to understand concepts as simple as giving and the notion that wealth comes with social responsibilities. In reality, few discuss their philanthropic or legacy goals with their children.

CNBC’s recent article, “Don’t expect Mom and Dad to clue you in on your inheritance,” says that 8 out of 10 financial advisors said that “some” or “hardly any” of their clients involve the next generation in family philanthropy, according to a recent survey from Key Private Bank.

9.13.19“By the time Groucho was an old man, however, he experienced significant problems in his daily activities, medical decision-making and the management of his estate. He suffered from elements of dementia, a heart attack and congestive heart failure, falls resulting in a broken hip, and after that hip was repaired, another fall and broken hip, urinary tract infections, strokes and hypertension.”

Julius Henry Marx, better known as Groucho, died 42 years ago on Aug. 19, 1977, at age 86. Groucho teamed with three of his four brothers—Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo—to become stars of vaudeville, Broadway, film, radio and television. (A fifth brother, Gummo, wasn’t part of the act).

PBS News Hours’ recent article, “How Groucho Marx fell prey to elder abuse” reports that the legal battles over Groucho’s money and possessions went on long after he died. The unrest of his last few years is familiar to adult children concerned with the well-being of their elderly parents.

7.19.19When Gloria Vanderbilt died at age 95, it was truly the end of an era. Her life included the high society world of old New York and the disco scene at Studio 54. However, her son Anderson Cooper reports that he won’t inherit any money from his mother.

Gloria Vanderbilt’s life in the spotlight began when she was very young. She remained in public view through a long and fascinating life. As a child, she and her trust fund were headlines in an epic divorce. Now that she has passed, speculation has reemerged about what happened to the Vanderbilt money. According to Trust Advisor’s article, “Does A Long Island Landscaper (And Not Anderson Cooper) Inherit Gloria Vanderbilt's Fortune?” the money may be long gone.

It’s reported that she had to sell off a few houses to pay the tax bills. Anything left behind is well-hidden in some estate planning documents. With her family fortune dwindling over time, Vanderbilt’s fashion empire came and went. However, the distributions kept coming to fill the holes.

This bizarre story of an estate battle concerns a man who wanted to be driven to local pubs, a taxi driver and the passenger’s significant other.

A legal bill for an unusual estate battle must be now paid by a cabbie who had inherited a regular fare’s entire estate. The will was challenged by the man’s partner, who had been his heir, before the will was changed (over a pint in a pub) to favor the cabbie.

The New York Post’s recent article, “Cab driver slapped with massive legal fees after inheriting passenger’s estate,” explains that the bizarre story began years ago when British taxi driver Dean Hughes agreed to transport 348-pound Gary Mendez to various pubs. Many other cabbies refused to take him, because of his size.

7.16.19There were a lot of headlines after Kenny Goss and Michael’s former lover Fadi Fawaz were cut out of the late singer’s will.  Fawaz is now reported to be planning to contest the will.

Most of the late George Michael’s £98 million estate will be shared by his sisters Yioda and Melanie. There were also provisions made in the will for his father Kyriacos, as well as for his close friends and former members of his staff.

“George was devoted to his dad and sisters, they were always going to be looked after,” a source told The Sun.

Contact Information