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Protecting Your Legacy

San Antonio Probate Blog

Will your children fight over your estate?

Estate law experts estimate that in Texas and across the country, about $30 trillion will pass from parents to children and grandchildren through inheritances over the next few decades. While you may not have $30 trillion to leave behind for your children, whatever you leave may be a windfall for some of your heirs. It may also be a source of contention.

Those who study wealth management say there is an increasing trend of children fighting over their perceived inheritances even before both parents have passed away. If you are already suspecting that your children will dispute your estate plan, you may want to take steps to prevent this, since such disputes typically result in long-lasting grief.

Probate litigation seeks to freeze shooter's assets for victims

In recent weeks, the country has seen the suffering of dozens of families in the aftermath of the music festival shootings out West. It seems people in every state, including Texas, had some connection to one of the innocent victims of the rampage that left 58 people dead and injured more than 500. Now, at least one family is ready to enter probate litigation to ensure the shooter's estate is secured for the victims of the tragedy.

Apparently, in the chaos of the shooting, the man accused of the heinous acts took his own life in the hotel room from which the shots originated. By all accounts, the gunman was a successful gambler who left behind more than $5 million in winnings. The heirs to that fortune appear to be the shooter's girlfriend and his brother. However, one family has filed a lawsuit to freeze the estate and preserve the assets for families of the victims.

J.P. Morgan owes big after sloppy estate administration

After the death of a loved one, many Texas residents may have trouble dealing with the necessary steps to close the estate. The situation can be even more difficult if the deceased individual did not leave behind any kind of estate plan. In some cases, surviving family members may hire outside parties to handle the estate administration, but unfortunately, the professionals may not always act as they should.

It was recently reported that one family had to take legal action against big bank J.P. Morgan due to its handling of a deceased man's multimillion-dollar estate. The deceased man's surviving widow and his two stepchildren utilized the bank to handle the estate. However, they found themselves regretting that decision in the seven years since their loved one's death.

Hefner's kids, charities benefit from estate administration

After any death, it is often necessary to ensure that the person's estate is properly closed. Estate administration can entail a variety of tasks, but the aspect that interests most people relates to property distribution. Estates estimated at considerable values often garner particular attention, and many Texas residents may have their eyes on what will happen to the estate of recently deceased Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

At the time of his death, Hefner was married to his third wife. However, the 31-year-old woman was not written into the 91-year-old man's will. Nonetheless, she will apparently not be left in the cold, as she will reportedly obtain ownership of a home Hefner purchased for her in 2013. Additionally, a prenuptial agreement that the pair signed also entitles her to $5 million.

Could terms of Jerry Lewis will lead to probate litigation?

Though the death of a family member can be shocking, sometimes the details of that individual's estate plan can also catch surviving family off guard. Though each person is entitled to create a will or other estate-related documents with terms that he or she believes best suit the situation, some parties may feel that those terms are unfair. As a result, probate litigation could potentially result.

Texas residents may be interested in details that recently emerged regarding the will of late comedian Jerry Lewis. Lewis was 91 years old when he died last month, and during his lifetime, he had six sons, one adopted daughter and one daughter out of wedlock. The sons were born during his first marriage, while one daughter was adopted after Lewis had later remarried. Reports stated that Lewis included a specific clause that excluded his sons and their descendants from inheriting anything from his estate.

Administering an estate without a will in Texas

Many Texas residents may not think that they need a will since their largest assets, their home, retirement plan and life insurance policy will all pass to heirs without the need for probate. For instance, spouses usually own homes as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, which means the surviving spouse owns the home outright after the death of the other owner.

Retirement plans and life insurance policies normally include beneficiary designations that identify the person or persons who receive the proceeds after death. Your bank may allow you to designate someone to take possession of the funds through a payable on death designation. These legal devices transfer title of these assets without the need for probate.

Family and funds: Probate litigation could arise over inheritance

In order to address serious issues, legal proceedings sometimes become necessary. When it comes to concerns with a deceased individual's estate, probate litigation could be the avenue that Texas residents utilize in order to have their concerns addressed. The reasons for the conflict can vary, but one issue could revolve around certain family members feeling as if another individual should not inherit portions of the estate.

This type of predicament is currently affecting a family in another state. Reports indicated that a man is apparently in line to inherit millions of dollars from his late grandfather's estate due to the presumed death of his mother. The grandfather was killed by a gunshot wound, and the mother went missing after a boating incident. The man's three aunts suspect that he was somehow involved in the deaths.

Estate administration concerns could lead to litigation in Texas

Even years after a person's death, there can be many aspects of an estate that need addressing. If the deceased utilized trusts or other documents to protect assets, it is not unusual for trustees or other parties to be in charge of estate administration duties for some time. However, this also means that issues could potentially arise if a person believes that the administration is not being properly addressed.

Texas residents may be interested in a situation currently taking place in another state. Reports indicated that the estate of a man who died in 2008 is currently facing a legal dispute with the man's daughter. Apparently, an oceanfront home was placed in a trust that has the man's wife as beneficiary. The trustees recently chose to list the home for sale, but the daughter does not believe that action would be in the best interests of her mother.

Estate planning together may benefit Texas spouses

Money commonly plays a significant role in most relationships. Some Texas residents may be on the same page as far as when to save and when to spend, but other individuals may have differing views on financial habits that could cause conflict on occasion. Because of the potential for contention when it comes to finances, spouses may want to work together when it comes to estate planning.

Though each person may want to create an estate plan of his or her own, spouses may want to discuss their decisions with each other due to the overlap in assets. Their plans may detail what should happen in the event that one spouse dies and what should happen in the event that both individuals die at the same time. Though thinking about these types of scenarios can be emotionally taxing, having these discussions may prevent future issues.

Texas executors may find estate administration intimidating

After the death of a spouse or other close loved one, the last thing on many Texas residents' minds is dealing with paperwork. Unfortunately, paperwork can play an important role in ensuring that a person's estate administration goes smoothly. Though it may seem difficult, having the right information in order could help individuals get through necessary legal proceedings in a timely manner.

First, the party who has been named executor of the estate needs to understand his or her responsibilities. There are many tasks that go along with settling an estate, and attending to these tasks effectively may help the process along. Hopefully, the decedent created an estate plan that details how he or she wanted their assets distributed. In the event that there is no plan, the court will distribute assets as state law dictates.

Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC

Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC
909 NE Loop 410
Suite 602
San Antonio, TX 78209

Phone: 210-418-1150
Fax: 210-598-7221

909 NE Loop 410 Suite 602
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