Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples in Texas After Windsor: Part I

Yesterday’s ruling in United States v. Windsor struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined “marriage” and “spouse” as excluding same-sex partners for the purposes of federal law.  This decision will have wide-reaching implications for same-sex couples across the nation, granting rights and imposing responsibilities under the more than one thousand […]

What to Remember When You are Naming Your Life Insurance Beneficiaries

Mistakes on beneficiary designation forms are all too common and can be costly, both financially and emotionally, for your loved ones.  Here are some important things to keep in mind as you fill out your life insurance beneficiary designations: 1.  Do not name a minor as an outright beneficiary on your policy.  It is common […]

Poof Goes the Estate Tax?

In the early hours of March 23, 2013, the United States Senate did something that it had not done since before the release of the iPad: it passed a budget.  The Senate also passed dozens of amendments to that budget.  Among these was S. Amendment 693, sponsored by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), which calls for […]

A Reminder from the Supreme Court: Unmarried Couples Need Estate Planning More than Most

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor this week, sharply reminding us of the legal rights, privileges, and protections that are automatically afforded to married couples in the United States yet denied to couples whose unions are not recognized by federal or state law.  For […]

Back to Basics: Estate Plans 101

An estate plan is a collection of tools that allows you to choose what happens to you, your property, and your family in the event of disability or death.  A basic estate plan should include a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney, a Medical Power of Attorney and HIPAA Release, a Designation […]

In Plain English: Probate vs. Non-Probate Assets

If you’ve given some thought to your estate plan, chances are you know that assets can be divided into two categories: “probate” and “non-probate.”  Knowing the difference between these two types of assets is crucial and can have a profound impact on how you decide to distribute your property to your loved ones after you […]

Estate Planning Lessons from the Fiscal Cliff

If you made a gift in 2012 to avoid future gift and estate taxes, chances are you may now be experiencing “gifter’s remorse.”  Anticipating a potentially draconian decrease in the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption at the end of the year, many estate planners and clients rushed to take advantage of the $5.12 million […]

Protecting Your Beneficiaries from Themselves: Drug Testing Provisions in Trusts

Whatever our age, upbringing, education, or social status, many of us know and love someone who has been impacted by drug or alcohol addiction.  Substance abuse affects not only the user but also his or her friends and family, who must decide if and how they can maintain a relationship with and support their loved […]