[NA]Texas Inheritance Law[NA]

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Let'sgoflying!, May 17, 2007.

  1. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How does it work?
    1. If a spouse dies, does the other spouse automatically inherit?
    2. Does 1. depend on the presence, or contents of an existing will?
    3. If a spouse wills something, or even 'wills it all' to a non-spouse, is the surviving spouse likely to contest that successfully?
    4. Can a spouse control what happens to money they will to a spouse? Eg; "you can have it all, but here is what you have to do with the remainder when you die"
    (these last two are purely out of curiosity!)


    Any answers will be taken as bonafide legal advice, and you will be assumed to be on a "free" retainer for said consultation. (JUST KIDDING!)
     
  2. Dwight B. Van Zanen

    Dwight B. Van Zanen Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not a lawyer, and not familiar with Texas law, so what follow is just worthless opinion. You need to see a lawyer for real answers:
    1. Yes. Usually specified in state law, as the presumed intent of dead spouse. If you want anything else you need a will.
    2. No. See 1. Usually written into law for everyone who does not want to spend money on lawyers to write a will. Do a search of Texas law.
    3. Sound mind? Will signed under some kind of pressure or duress? Anyone can contest anything, but winning depends on what they can prove.
    4. Start with the fact you only can will your share of any property. Is Texas a community property state? Then, you can set up a trust with your share for the benefit of specified beneficiaries after your death. The beneficiary can be the spouse for life, and then somone else after. You ought to specifiy that if your spouse dies within 10 days or 30 days of when you die, the provisions of your will shall be as if you both died simultaniously. Killed in the same plane crash for example, but one survives for a few days. Prevents some tax issues, and also lets your will direct your half instead of the will of the spouse controlling all the funds since all would be legally in the spouse' estate at that point otherwise.

    You need a lawyer. This would take about 12 pages to accomplish in legal language that would hold up in a court. A will need not be expensive. I think ours were about $500. Nothing real special, but a couple specific issues we needed to spell out clearly.
     
  3. etsisk

    etsisk En-Route

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    Well, I don't think you can be trying to direct what they do with the money after yer dead - the law doesn't take kindly to folks trying to reach that dead old hand out from the grave and control stuff. Can't remember the term for it, but it's not allowed. Hey, that was the flaw in the will in the movie Body Heat, wasn't it? :)
     
  4. Dwight B. Van Zanen

    Dwight B. Van Zanen Pre-takeoff checklist

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    He needs a lawyer. State laws very a lot on this stuff. My understanding is you CAN direct how a trust you set up operates after your death. Some people set it up to provide for grandchildren, to bypass their children for some reason.
     
  5. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    my favorite story was the nephew that inherited a million bucks...but he received it only through sales of firewood he had chopped with his own hands and an axe.
     
  6. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Everything Offends Me
    IANAL, but I know someone who is, in Texas even....

    Wait, maybe that should be iAnal.
     
  7. etsisk

    etsisk En-Route

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    Yeah, you can do a trust that way - didn't see that part of your post - but as for his question, can you give the money and then decide how they can spend it, the answer to that one is a "no", best I can tell!
     
  8. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dave,

    Are you asking for yourself?

    Have something in mind? :rolleyes: :D
     
  9. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    1. Texas is community property state, anything you own is presumed community unless specific efforts made to preserve non-community status of non-community stuff (like stuff owned before marriage, inherited stuff or stuff the other spouse disclaims CP interest in);

    2. Spouse dies, no kids, no will, estate to surviving spouse. Kids change it, but I can't tell you percentages as I sit here, I don't practice that kind of law;

    3. You can leave your "stuff" to anyone you please, even if you are married (but remember, the community property is not affected because it ain't yours to give away); so, a will can and will change the answer in 2.

    4. You can certainly direct what you want done with whatever you pass, i.e., establish a trust and leave instructions to trustee to disburse it however and under whatever conditions you desire. But if you want to control how it's to be done after death, that's how you'd do it.

    ---

    In Texas, if you have what's called a "self-proved" will, probate is very, very inexpensive and simple. If you die without a will, it ain't so cheap or easy.
     
  10. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now that I live in Texas, and SO MUCH has changed since we last did our wills in 1997 in Washington State, it's time to revisit this. Thanks for the memory jog, Dave.

    Spike, do you know what is required for me to INVALIDATE my old will? Do I have to write an entire new one in Texas? Is it simply the fact that a newer one exists that suffices, or do I need to do some legal procedure to "invalidate" the old one (even if that's just a reference to "this new will supercedes the one dated mm/dd/yyyy)?

    I need to visit with a family law attorney, I guess. If your estate is simple, are the websites that do wills okay? I've heard good things about this one for state-specific interview-driven legal forms: http://www.uslegalforms.com/ Any feedback, without endorsing?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2007
  11. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    I never, but NEVER, advise use of any canned-form sites. I have never seen a canned form that I thought was decent, for anything. I am not commenting on that one, about which I know nothing, just making a general comment from my observations of others that I have seen.


    If you create a new will, there is always language which reads something like, "...hereby revoking all prior wills..." or similar tenor.

    If you want to kill it now, before new will is ready (get rid of the bequest to your old girlfriend...), you can take any act that clearly indicates the intent- write "REVOKED" on the front of it and make sure someone knows yo did it.

    But best is, make a new one, like you want.
     
  12. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'll try to remember from our own family experience.

    Sister-in-law, TX resident, married, no kids, no will, had assets in her own name.

    I'ts been almost 18yrs, so I'm a little fuzzy - I think the state said 1/2 of her assets went to her husband, 1/4 to her mom, 1/4 to her dad. I can't comment on anything such as shared assets or joint-ownership types of things, only the house and a few other things that she still had in her own name.

    Best way to find out? Just call a TX attorney and ask. A basic will drawn up by an attorney shouldn't be very expensive at all.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2007
  13. infotango

    infotango Line Up and Wait

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    GRRRR, trusts and estates, GRRRR.:mad:

    Possibly the least enjoyable class in 3 years of law school.
     
  14. Dwight B. Van Zanen

    Dwight B. Van Zanen Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Read a book about a rich guy who was supposed to be terminally ill who got all his heirs together to read his will and hear the distribution he proposed. Also had them acknowledge he was of sound mind, and the will valid as of that date. Lawyers all signed off, done deal. He then pulls out a replacement will that invalidates the first, signs it, and jumps out the window of the highrise. Heirs had trouble with their attack on the second will, since it followed the first so closely and they had signed off he was of sound mind the same day the replacement will was signed.