Texas Lawyers Blog


The Texas Lawyers Blog provides useful information on the law and Texas lawyers. For more information on this Blog or a legal topic, please feel free to submit an inquiry or send an e-mail message to blog@texaslawyers.com

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Texas Inheritance Traps: Contested Probate is A Common Inheritance Trap in the Texas Legal System That Causes Families to Lose Substantial Wealth

Texas Inheritance Traps: Contested Probate is A Common Inheritance Trap in the Texas Legal System That Causes Families to Lose Substantial Wealth by Texas Inheritance Lawyer and Texas Contested Probate Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Several inheritance traps in the Texas legal system cause families to lose substantial wealth. One of the most expensive traps is contested probate litigation. This inheritance trap typically entails family members fighting through litigation over the estate of a loved one. Contested probate litigation can begin prior to the loved ones death in contested guardianship cases and can continue for years after the loved one's death. These cases can cost families hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars. Depending on the size of the disputed estate, the contested issues which are litigated, and the parties involved, these cases vary is cost, but commonly cause families to lose a substantial amount of wealth.

For the most part, if at all possible it is best to avoid contested probate lawsuits. There are some steps that families can take to attempt to avoid contested litigation including estate planning and communication.  That being said, many of these contested probate lawsuits are unavoidable because of changing family dynamics and specific types of people in a family. 

Some Contested Probate Cases Are Unavoidable Because of Changing Family Dynamics and The Personalities of Certain Family Members

Even though good estate planning can help prevent some types of contested probate litigation, there is no perfect one size fits all estate plan that every family can use to avoid contested probate. A main reason for this is that family dynamics often change over time, especially, when a person's health fails and they get closer to death. In other words, estate plans are moving targets. These plans commonly change due to changes in living situations including where family members move, who takes care of family members with poor or failing health, and if family members get divorced or remarried.

Further, there are specific types of people who commonly cause contested probate litigation. These personalities include: 1) people who fail to communicate their wishes, 2) people who commonly change their Wills or Trusts, 3) people who use their wealth to control those around them, 4) estranged family and black sheep, 5) opportunists, and 6) fraudulent and ruthless individuals.

More specifically, a common type of family member who causes contested probate litigation is a ruthless, materialistic, manipulating, and self entitled person. These people are commonly vulture like and begin circling around wealthy people when their targets are sick or close to death. In litigating contested probate cases, it is common to discover that other family members have seen these traits in these family members and often expect them to attempt to ruthlessly seek significantly more than their fair share of any inheritance. Further, it is common for this type of person to be involved in multiple contested probate disputes.  It is also common to discover these family members have successfully taken wealth from others in the past. 

Overall, the combination of changing family dynamics and specific types of family members often make contested probate litigation unavoidable. 

Contested Guardianship Lawsuits, Contested Trust Lawsuits, Contested Wills, and Contested Estate Lawsuits Are All Forms of Contested Probate Litigation 

Numerous family battles start prior to the death of a loved one when the loved ones' health begins to fail. In these situations, contested guardianship cases or contested trust cases often start as family members attempt to protect family wealth or attempt to take wealth from a family member. These battles also commonly start as Will contests or disputes over estate property. For more information on contest probate litigation, please go to the following web pages: Texas Contested Guardianship Lawsuit Information, Texas Contested Trust Lawsuit Information, Texas Will Contest Lawsuit Information, and Austin Texas Probate Litigation Lawyer Information.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Texas Executor Removal and Other Texas Estate Beneficiary Rights: Texas Independent Executors Are Powerful But Have Fiduciary Duties and Can Be Removed by Texas Executor Removal Lawyer

Texas Executor Removal and Other Texas Estate Beneficiary Rights: The Position of a Texas Independent Executor Is Powerful, But The Texas Executor Has Fiduciary Duties, Needs to Comply With Texas Law, and Can Be Removed in Some Situations by Texas Executor Removal Lawyer and Texas Estate Beneficiary Lawyer Jason Coomer

Under Texas law, any person with testamentary capacity can designate someone in their Will to carry out their wishes after they pass.  This person is typically called an Executor. Once appointed by a Texas court, a Texas Executor has significant power to administer an estate.  This power is especially vast when the Texas Executor is independent.  A Texas Independent Executor can perform many acts with little to no supervision from Texas courts.  This vast power is often useful and can greatly reduce the cost of probate. That being said, some Texas Independent Executors abuse this vast power to the detriment of estate beneficiaries.  When this occurs, estate beneficiaries have several options.  Below is a discussion of several rights and options Texas Will Beneficiaries have.

Can Texas Estate Beneficiaries Remove a Texas Executor or Texas Independent Executor?

Yes, Texas Estate Beneficiaries or other interested parties can remove a Texas Executor through a court for several reasons.  Texas Executors can be removed without notice by a Texas court for 1) neglecting to qualify; 2) failing to timely file an inventory and list of claims; 3) failing to give bond if required; 4) being absent from the state without court permission; 5) eluding or being unavailable for service; or 6) illegally embezzling, misapplying, or removing estate property.   

Further, Texas Executors can be removed with notice for several reasons including 1) illegally misapplying, embezzling, or removing estate property; 2) failing to return any account required by law; 3) failing to obey any order of the court; 4) being guilty of gross misconduct or mismanagement in the performance of their duties; 5) becoming incapacitated, imprisoned, or otherwise incapable of properly performing their duties; or 6) failing to make a final settlement by the third anniversary of the date of letters testamentary were granted.

What Can Texas Estate Beneficiaries do if they suspect a Texas Executor is Abusing Their Powers or Timely Refusing to Distribute an Estate?

Texas Estate Beneficiaries have several options to consider if they suspect a Texas Executor is abusing their powers.  Depending on the specific circumstances of the situation, the beneficiaries may want to seek an accounting, seek a partial or full distribution of the estate, or seek to remove the Texas Executor with or without notice.  Further, if the Texas Executor has breached their fiduciary duties, has stolen from the estate, or has committed fraud, the beneficiaries may also want to file suit against the Texas Executor and seek damages.  

When Can Texas Beneficiaries Obtain An Estate Accounting from a Texas Executor?

Texas Estate Beneficiaries can request an estate accounting for a Texas Executor after the expiration of 15 months from the date that the court clerk first issued letters of testamentary.  A formal demand for an estate accounting is typically made by a lawyer for the estate beneficiaries under Texas Estate Code 404.001. The formal demand for an accounting is often an effective in pushing slow moving Texas Executors to perform their duties and move towards distributing an estate. 

What Can Beneficiaries Do If They Suspect a Texas Executor is Committing Fraud?

If Texas Estate Beneficiaries suspect that a Texas Executor is committing fraud or breaching his or her fiduciary duties, it is usually best to speak with a Texas Executor Removal Lawyer or Texas Estate Beneficiary Lawyer.  The lawyer can review the evidence of fraud or other wrongdoing and discuss options to help the beneficiaries protect their rights and inheritance.  

More Information on Texas Executors and Administrators

For more information on Texas Estate Beneficiary Rights, Removing Texas Executors, and Lawsuits Against Texas Executors, please go to the following web pages: Texas Executor Fraud Lawyer Information and Texas Probate Fraud Lawyer Information.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

CFTC Whistleblowers Can Anonymously Expose Money Laundering or Insider Trading and Collect Large Financial Rewards by Texas CFTC Whistleblower Lawyer

CFTC Whistleblowers Can Anonymously Expose Money Laundering, Insider Trading, or other Illegal Acts and Collect Large Financial Rewards by Texas CFTC Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Coomer

The United States Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC) is offering large financial rewards to CFTC whistleblowers.  Further, CFTC whistleblowers can anonymously expose money laundering and insider trading through a lawyer and collect financial rewards.  These CFTC money laundering bounty actions and CFTC insider trading bounty actions target illegal scheme nationally and internationally.  Through these bounty actions the CFTC encourages financial professionals and other individuals with specific knowledge of money laundering, insider trading, and other illegal schemes to step forward to expose illegal conduct. 

CFTC Whistleblowers are Encouraged to Expose Money Laundering and Violations of the Bank Secrecy Act

The CFTC is also encouraging financial professionals and other individuals with original knowledge of money laundering to expose violations of the the Bank Secrecy Act and other violations of Anti-Money Laundering Laws.  The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), as amended by the Patriot Act, is designed to prevent, detect, and prosecute international money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The BSA and related regulations require futures commission merchants (FCMs) and introducing brokers (IBs) to establish anti-money laundering (AML) programs, report suspicious activity, verify the identity of customers and apply enhanced due diligence to certain types of accounts involving foreign persons.

Money Laundering Whistleblowers
CFTC Whistleblowers Expose Money Laundering and Insider Trading

The CFTC is targeting futures commission merchants (FCMs) and introducing brokers who fail to comply with Bank Secrecy Act requirements.  More specifically, CFTC Whistleblowers with original knowledge of the following conduct are encouraged to expose the violations.

  1. Improper supervision and records violations
  2. Failure to diligently supervise officers’, employees’, and agents’ opening and handling of accounts  
  3. Failure to protect customers and the markets from fraud and corruption
  4. Improper enforcement of trading limits assigned by regulators
  5. Inadequate construction of a customer identification program as part of the firm’s compliance program  
  6. Failure to file suspicious activity reports 

Insider Trading Can Be The Basis of CFTC Bounty Actions

CFTC Whistleblowers are encouraged to expose insider trading.  CFTC Whistleblowers are encouraged to expose insider trading including individuals who have a duty to protect material nonpublic information (MNPI). The CFTC is concerned with conduct such as:

  1. Trading on market moving information that the source had a duty to protect
  2. Brokers front running customer orders or taking the other side of any customer order without consent
  3. Tipping or trading using material nonpublic information MNPI obtained by virtue of employment 
  4. Trading on material nonpublic information MNPI that was obtained by fraud or deception
  5. FCMs or brokers improperly disclosing customer orders or other material nonpublic information MNPI 
  6. Swap dealers or major swap participants improperly disclosing material nonpublic information MNPI or using MNPI provided by a  counterparty without the counterparty’s consent

Financial professionals, auditors, high end investors and others with specialized knowledge of insider trading conduct are encouraged to expose insider trading schemes.

More Information CFTC Bounty Actions

For more information on CFTC bounty actions, please go to the following web page: Securities Fraud and Commodities Fraud Bounty Actions and CFTC Bounty Action Lawyer: Confidential Reviews and Anonymous Reporting.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Lymphoma Cancer Awareness: Early Detection of Lymphoma Cancer Through Symptoms and Risk Factors is Important by Texas Lymphoma Cancer Lawyer

Lymphoma Cancer Awareness: Early Detection of Lymphoma Cancer Through Symptoms and Review of Risk Factors Can Help Save Lives by Texas Lymphoma Cancer Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

As with many cancers early detection is important.  Lymphoma is most likely to be cured, if it is diagnosed early and treated promptly.  Typically, the first step in diagnosing lymphoma is through symptoms, medical examination, and a review of risk factors.  Common signs and symptoms of lymphoma may include enlarged or swollen lymph nodes, cough, shortness of breath, fever, drenching night sweats, unintended weight loss, itching, and fatigue or constantly feeling tired.

Allergan Breast Implant Cancer

Early Detection of Lymphoma Cancer Through Symptoms, Medical Tests, and Risk Factors

Though there is no routine standardized lymphoma screening test for individuals without symptoms, early detection is possible for both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The typical diagnostic process involves a physical exam and medical history, along with a biopsy and cell/blood tests.  The blood tests or chemistry screens including a complete blood count and the lactate dehydrogenase test screen can be used to look for abnormal blood counts and certain chemicals in a person.  If someone is experiencing symptoms, a bone marrow biopsy can also be performed to look for lymphoma cells.  Additionally, in a person has abnormal blood tests, an abnormal biopsy, or is experiencing symptoms, physicians can use imaging tests to look for signs of lymphoma in other areas of their body. Imaging tests may include CT, MRI and positron emission tomography (PET).  Overall, lymphoma is usually harder to detect in the earlier stages, but it is important to treat it as early as possible.

Further, an awareness of risk factors of lymphoma can be extremely useful.  Below are several risk factors related to lymphoma cancer.  If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of lymphoma cancer, you should probably discuss the symptoms with your physician as well as any of the below risk factors you may have:
  • History of having the Epstein-Barr virus
  • Having a close relative such as a parent or sibling who has had Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Being older, white and/or male
  • Exposure to Benzene
  • Having any of the following immune diseases, conditions or disorders (hypogammaglobulinemia, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Sj√∂gren’s syndrome, lupus, HIV/AIDS, or celiac disease)
  • Taking immunosuppressant drugs after an organ transplant
  • Exposure to certain pesticides
  • Exposure to glyphosate herbicides including Roundup
  • Recipient of Allergan Breast BIOCELL Implants and Tissue Expanders
  • A diet high in meats and fat
  • Past treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma

More Information on Lymphoma Cancer

For more information on Lymphoma Cancer, please feel free to go to the following web page: Mayo Clinic Information on Lymphoma.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Child Injury Button Battery Lawsuits Are Being Filed Against Toy and other Product Manufacturers Who Are Selling Dangerous Products by Texas Button Battery Lawyer

Button Battery Lawsuits Are Being Filed Against Defective Toy and Dangerous Product Manufacturers and Distributors

Texas button battery lawyer, Jason Coomer is a defective toys and products attorney. Many defective toys and products designed for infants and small children use button batteries. Infants and small children can remove and ingest these small batteries from defective products. Ingestion of button batteries can result in potential health risks. These defective toys and products can cause devastating life long injuries or death to infants and young children. Parents that carefully select toys and products can avoid injury or death to their infants and small children. Button battery ingestion by an infant or small child that has resulted in injury or death requires appropriate action. Other infants and small children can avoid injury or death if parents report these dangerous products. Therefore, the makers and distributors of these defective products should be notified through a Texas button battery lawyer.

Has a button battery from a defective product caused you to lose a child or caused injuries to your child? A Texas button battery lawyer may be able to help you recover your damages. Moreover, the law could entitle you to compensation. Feel free to submit an inquiry or send an e-mail message to Texas defective product button battery lawyer, Jason Coomer.

Button Battery Lawyer in Texas: Top and bottom of a small button battery.

Product Liability Lawsuits Filed by Texas Button Battery Lawyers Can Help Protect Infants and Small Children From Defective Products

Defective button battery toys, Christmas ornaments, flash lights, and other child products can cause injuries or death. Button battery use in many types of products has increased. As a result, infants and small children have an increased risk of swallowing a battery. Lithium button batteries are small but they contain a powerful dose of toxic materials. These toxic materials can cause substantial life long injuries or even death. Some of the toys have battery compartments that are easily accessible to small children. Children under five years of age have an especially concerning and problematic risk.

In these situations, a child can take the batteries out of the toy or other device, then swallow the battery. Once swallowed or ingested, button batteries can create corrosive chemicals when combined with a child's internal tissues. This can result in the child suffering serious injuries or even fatal injuries. Consequently, manufacturers of defective button battery products have had recent lawsuits filed against them. Most noteworthy, are instances where manufactures have negligently created serious hazards for infants and young children. Furthermore, a Texas button battery lawyer can help protect other children from defective products by filing a defective product lawsuit.

Product Liability Lawsuits (Defective Toys, Cribs, Bassinets, and Child Car Seats)

Product liability lawsuits have helped protect other infants and small children from defective products. So, defective toys, cribs, bassinets, flammable pajamas, and car seats have been the subject of past litigation. These lawsuits have resulted in recalls of cribs and bassinets sold from 1995 to 2005. The manufacturers produced different types of problematic hardware used on some cribs. Furthermore, the hardware included safety pegs for one type of cribs and spring pegs for another. As a result, either can create a hazard if not properly installed. Consequently, the drop side of the cribs can fall and disengage, creating a gap that can entrap and suffocate infants.

Lead-tainted toys and children's products can also create hazards for small children. As such, there have been several recalls of toys and children's products that contain lead-levels in excess of allowable amounts. Some of these lead-tainted items range from toys to products children put directly in their mouths, such as baby pacifiers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission's website lists potentially dangerous or recalled products. A recent recall includes toys which contain magnets in small flexible parts of the product sets that can detach. Furthermore, young children can find the magnets then swallow or aspirate the hazardous parts. Multiple magnets can cause intestinal perforations or blockages. As a result, serious or fatal injuries can occur.

It is important to check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Above all, make sure that the products that you are buying are safe and have no known safety defects.

Product Liability Claims (Defective Food Products)

Defective imports from China have recently been in the news. The FDA found contaminants in vegetable proteins imported into the United States from China. These dangerous chemicals had tainted some human and pet food. Imports have become more common in recent years. As a result, safety regulations of foreign products have become an increasing concern. Most noteworthy, are the concerns with food products and toys for infants and young children.

Studies revealed that babies fed formula made from powder tainted with a toxic chemical called Melamine had developed kidney stones. Melamine levels were dangerously high in Chinese milk products. Reports from official news agencies stated that at least four babies have died. Furthermore, at least 53,000 other children have fallen ill. Melamine added illegally to watered-down milk raised its apparent protein count. The tainted food products included milk products, like yogurt and cookies. In response to these dangerous products, there were product recalls and export bans around the world.

Also, Melamine had tainted chicken eggs. Because, the protein count of chicken feed was falsified by using the toxic chemical. In Hong Kong, government officials reported finding another batch of eggs from mainland China that had high levels of melamine. The announcement followed reports of two other tainted batches of eggs.

It is important to check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Above all, make sure that the products that you are buying are safe and have no known safety defects.

Defective Button Battery Lawyer in Texas (Product Liability Lawyers)

Texas button battery lawyer, Jason Coomer, represents families that have suffered the loss or significant injury of a loved one. Take action if you are aware of a child that has suffered injuries from swallowing a button battery. Jason Coomer commonly works with other defective button battery lawyers and other product liability lawyers throughout the United States. If you have a question about a product liability claim and need a button battery lawyer in Texas, contact Texas button battery lawyer Jason Coomer. He is a product liability lawyer in Texas.

More product liability information here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Protecting Family Wealth Through Inheritance by Texas Wealth Protection Lawyer

Protecting Family Wealth Through Inheritance by Texas Wealth Protection Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Many Texas families will lose significant wealth by failing to protect their valuable assets through inheritance. There are many common situations whereby Texas families lose substantial wealth.  Understanding some of these potential traps can help Texas families protect their wealth through generational transfers.

Texas Families Commonly Lose Wealth Through Inheritance Issues in the Transfer of Real Property

For most Texas families, their house or other real property is their main wealth.  Unfortunately, many of these families lose significant wealth through inheritance issues and stuck real property.  The inheritance issues begin after a property owner dies.  If the property owner did not have a well thought out estate plan, inheritance issues commonly arise.  These inheritance issues commonly create title issues which causes property to become stuck.  As a result of these title issues, the family cannot transfer or sell the real property.  Typically, the stuck property will be lost as it cannot be sold, transferred, or mortgaged.  Thus, the surviving family commonly cannot afford to maintain the stuck property and the family loses wealth.

Texas Families Commonly Lose Wealth By Failing to Keep Track of and Communicate Regarding Investments and Accounts

In other situations, families lose wealth by not keeping track of investments.  In these situations, a loved one dies or becomes incompetent without keeping track of or communicating information about an account or investment.  The family then loses track or control of the investment or account.  Not surprisingly the bank, oil company, or other large corporation who has the wealth does not seek out heirs or beneficiaries.  In fact, in many situations a large company will not communicate with the family about the account or investment after a loved one dies.  Through these situations, families commonly lose mineral interests, stocks, and investment accounts.  Unfortunately, third parties are commonly very successful in stealing from dead people.

Communication and Basic Estate Planning Can Help Prevent Loss of Family Wealth

Basic estate planning and communication can help prevent loss of wealth.  However, please keep in mind there is no magic solution for preventing the loss of family wealth.  Each family’s battle to protect their wealth will be different depending on their assets and the makeup of their families.  Further, common estate planning vehicles including Wills, Trusts, non-Probate assets, and survivorship assets all have their unique issues.  Understanding the pros and cons of each type of estate planning method can help prevent loss.

Texas Wealth Protection Lawyers help families prevent this loss.  They work with families after the loss of a loved one to claim and protect wealth.  For more information on this topic, please go to the following webpages: Texas Real Estate and Inheritance Law Firm Information, Texas Family Inheritance Lawyer Information, and Texas Real Estate Probate Lawyer Information.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Protecting Family Wealth after the Death of a Loved One by Texas Family Wealth Lawyer

Protecting Family Wealth including Texas Real Property after the Death of a Loved One Can Be Difficult by Texas Family Wealth Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

For many families the vast majority of their wealth is in real property.  This wealth can often become trapped and lost when one of the owners of the real property passes away.  Several dangers exist including estranged heirs, minor children heirs or beneficiaries, unknown heirs, and heirs or beneficiaries on public assistance.  Understanding these potential traps can help a family avoid losing significant wealth.

Texas Real Property Transfers Into The Estate of a Deceased Owner  

In Texas, if a person dies owning real property, their real property typically transfers immediately into their estate.  This transfer can cause a variety of issues for co-owners as well as people living in the deceased's real property.  In many situations, the family of the deceased is unable to refinance, sell, or transfer real property after the loss of a loved one.

Transferring Texas Real Property Out of an Estate of a Deceased Owner 

Once real property is transferred into an estate, the trick is knowing how to transfer Texas real property out of an estate to the deceased's rightful heirs or beneficiaries.  This transfer is commonly done through a Will probate hearing, suit to determine heirs, or affidavit of heirship.  However, each type of potential transfer has its limitations and costs.  The affidavit of heirship is typically the easiest and least expensive, however, it has several limitations.

For more information on protecting family wealth and transferring Texas real property, please go to the following web page: Clearing Title to Texas Real Property and Businesses.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Texas Mineral Interest Transfers and Other Texas Inherited Real Property Often Require An Ancillary Probate by Texas Mineral Interest Lawyer

Texas Mineral Interest Transfers and Other Texas Inherited Real Property Transfers Often Require An Ancillary Probate in Texas to Transfer Title by Texas Mineral Interest Lawyer and Texas Inheritance Lawyer Jason Coomer

Many wealth families have decided to purchase Texas real property including Texas mineral interests, Texas lake houses, Texas condos, Texas ranches, and Texas beach houses.  These investments on the whole have been very lucrative over the past 20 to 40 years.  That being said, when the owner of Texas real property passes away, their Texas real property transfers into their estate.  This transfer can become an issue when the owner does not reside in Texas.

Texas mineral interests and other Texas real property often require an ancillary Probate to be transferred out of a non-Texas estate.  As such, lawyers and families throughout the United States and the World commonly have to hire a Texas lawyer to help transfer Texas wealth out of an out of state estate.  For information on transferring Texas mineral interests and working with a Texas lawyer to transfer inherited Texas wealth, please go to the following web pages:

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Texas Lost Wealth Information: Seeking an Investment, Savings, and Wealth from Financial Professionals by Texas Lost Wealth Lawyer

Texas Lost Wealth Information: Seeking Back an Investment, Savings, and Wealth from Financial Advisors, Investment Brokers, Wealth Managers and other Financial Professionals by Texas Lost Wealth Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

It is a common occurrence, a family decides that they want to invest or protect their wealth and seeks assistance from a financial professional.  As such, they go to a financial advisor, wealth manager, investment broker, or other financial professional for advice and to invest their wealth.  After receiving several statements regarding their investments, they notice that a significant amount of wealth is missing or even worse their investment is gone.  In other situations, the family is no longer to obtain information regarding the account because the wealth is transferred to a new financial professional, new security protocols are put in place by the financial institute, or the family member who invested the money has passed away.  In many of these situations, the bank, financial advisor, broker, wealth manager, or other financial professional starts acting like it is their wealth and not the wealth of your family.

What do to When Wealth is Taken by a Financial Professional?

The first step in reclaiming wealth is to gather proof of what wealth existed in the past, what wealth should currently exist, and who owned the wealth.  The best evidence to prove the existence and ownership of wealth are typically copies of past account statements or inventories.  These account statements or inventories can be hard copy or sometimes can be obtained electronically.  Though commonly difficult to read, these account statements are usually a great starting point to prove the existence of wealth.  Communications with and any contracts with financial professionals as well as transfer documents are also important and can be useful. 

The second step is to make copies of these documents.  The copy will be a working copy that can be highlighted and written on to identify important information and proof.  Overall, the goal is to keep the original documents clean from highlighting and writing as they may be needed for future litigation.  Further, it is extremely important not to send original documents to anyone else while seeking back your wealth.  A common trap is for companies is to request documents to prove ownership and then when the original documents are sent the original documents are lost and the person seeking wealth no longer has proof of ownership or existence.

The third step is to determine what wealth was taken.  Sometimes it is clear what wealth has been taken such as two statements that show 10,000 shares of stock are missing from a transfer and from the statements a specific date, time, and amount of lost wealth can be determined.  At other times it is not always clear how much wealth has been taken.  It is typically best to make two categories of missing wealth including 1) the wealth that can be shown was clearly taken and value that can be easily determined and 2) the wealth that might have been taken or may be difficult to determine value.  For the each category, it is best to tally the amounts. 

The fourth step is to contact the bank, financial advisor, wealth manager, or investment broker for an explanation as to the status of the wealth.  It is often best to make sure that there is a record of all communications that are made.  For telephone communications, it can be helpful to write down the date, telephone number, and full name of the person that was involved.  It is often also beneficial to obtain an e-mail address, fax number, and address for follow up communications.

The fifth step is to obtain an explanation from the financial professional.  A written explanation is best as you have a record as to what happened to the wealth. If the financial professional will not provide a written explanation, it can be helpful to send a follow up written communication that on X date X advised that this is what happened to my missing wealth. 

The sixth step is to determine if the explanation is reasonable or if a formal demand and potentially litigation is necessary.

Texas Investment Fraud Lawyer and Texas Wealth Management Fraud Lawyer

Sometimes there is a simple explanation for missing wealth, however, at other times wealth is taken by financial professionals and financial institutes when they believe that they can get away with the theft.  If you believe you or your family has lost significant wealth through investment fraud, financial professional fraud, negligence, or breach of fiduciary duty, it is important to gather and review your financial records to determine what has happened to your family's wealth.  If you are unable to obtain a satisfactory explanation, it may be time to contact a lawyer to explore potential litigation to reclaim your family's wealth.  For more information on Texas Investment Fraud Lawsuits and Texas Financial Professional Fraud Claims, please go to the following web pages: Texas Wealth Manager Fraud Lawyer, Texas Investment Fraud Lawyer, and Texas Elder Financial Fraud Lawyer.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Texas Inheritance Law Information For Families Unfamiliar With Texas Probate Law by Central Texas Inheritance Lawyer

Texas Inheritance Law Information For Families Unfamiliar With Texas Probate Law by Central Texas Inheritance Lawyer Jason Coomer

Texas Inheritance Law for families unfamiliar with probate can be extremely difficult.  Not only have they lost a loved one, but they also often have to navigate Texas courts, financial records, insurance companies, deed records, and banks.  Further, some have to deal with upset and sometimes aggressive family members as well as other greedy people who are attempting to claim wealth from the deceased loved one.  Understanding the basics of Texas Inheritance Law and when it is time to call a lawyer can be extremely helpful in navigating this difficult time.  Below are a few basic concepts and answers to basic questions that can helpful.

Common Texas Will and Probate Questions

What is a Will and is it necessary?

A Will is a document which states the intentions and wishes of a person to take place after their death including what happens to and who gets their wealth.  A Will is not necessary under Texas law, but if you do not have a Will and you die, your wealth is distributed according to Texas law and this can sometimes result in increased legal costs to determine heirs and unintended estranged heirs or laughing heirs receiving large amounts of inheritance.  If you have significant wealth, want specific loved ones to receive it, and want your loved ones to have fewer legal expenses after you pass; it is best to have a Will.

Should I write a Will myself or use a "do it yourself" Will kit? 

The complexity of a Will can very greatly from a short hand written Will called a "Holographic Will" to a several page complex Will that creates testamentary trusts and has several contingencies.  Overall, if you have significant wealth, it is often best to contact an estate planning attorney to answer questions, draft the Will, and explain specific options and potential traps.  In handling probate cases, I have run into several "do it yourself" Wills and Holographic Wills that have caused 1) significant controversies in families resulting in legal battles, 2) unintended consequences caused by transfers to minors, wards, or persons on social security disability, and 3) complete legal messes and trapped wealth requiring several attorneys and court appointed ad litems to resolve.  In short, be careful if you have significant wealth and decide to do it yourself.  Saving money in the present can cost significant amounts to your loved ones in the future.  

Does a Will need to be filed? 

No, if the person who passed has little to no wealth or all their wealth has passed through a Trust, non-probate assets, or other means, there may not be a reason to probate a Will.  However, if a person has a valid Will and wealth in their estate including real property their Will should typically be filed for probate.

Does a Reading of the Will need to take place?  

No, this is a Hollywood myth.  Normally, there is no reading of a Will.  The Will be filed for Probate and all beneficiaries in the Will should receive a copy of the Will pursuant to Texas law.  An unnecessary reading of a Will can result in some extremely difficult and awkward situation.  That being said, many family members review Wills together and can cooperate in agreeing how to handle the probate process.  

What is an Executor? 

An executor or executrix is a person who is named in a Will to manage the deceased's estate, fulfill the deceased's wishes, and follow Texas legal requirements regarding legal notices and inventories.  An executor or executrix will not be appointed until a Will is probated and letters of testamentary are issued.  In other words, a person named as executor has no power or authority until a Will is probated and they are appointed.

An executor or executrix should be a responsible person that you trust.  They do not have to be a resident of Texas, but they have to be a competent person over the age of 18 years of good character who is not a convicted felon.

Most people who are named as an executor or executrix hire a lawyer to represent them in Probate court and to ensure that they comply with legal duties.  The person who serves as executor or executrix can be removed or sued for breach of fiduciary duty if they to not follow the Will or Texas law.  The estate will typically pay the executor's or executrix's attorney's fees and costs.

Contested v. Uncontested Probate 

There are two type of probate lawsuits contested and uncontested.  Uncontested probate lawsuits include Will probate lawsuits and Suits to Determine Heirships where there is no dispute between the heirs or beneficiaries regarding who gets what and the value and validity of estate assets or estate debts.  It is typically best to have a Texas probate lawyer, if you are filing an uncontested probate lawsuit.  Contested lawsuits include Texas Will Contests, Texas Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuits, Texas Real Estate Partition Lawsuits, Texas Financial Elder Abuse Lawsuits, and Texas Inherited Business Lawsuits.  A Texas probate lawyer is almost always needed and highly recommended, if you are in a contested probate lawsuit.

Contingent, Hourly, and Hybrid Attorney Contracts

Most Texas probate lawyers work on hourly contracts where the family of a deceased has to pay the lawyer a retainer and then the lawyer bills against the retainer until it is depleted, then additional money will need to be paid if additional work needs to be done.

However, in some situations family assets cannot get transferred or collected by their rightful heirs or beneficiaries because the heirs and beneficiaries cannot afford the upfront cost of probate and other transfer costs. In these situations, a Texas Contingent Probate Lawyer who works on a contingent or hybrid contract is needed to help heirs and beneficiaries transfer estate property to rightful heirs and beneficiaries.  In these situations, the Texas Contingent Probate Lawyer will typically need to see evidence that there are actual significant assets in the estate and confirm that the potential clients are the rightful heirs and beneficiaries of the estate. In these cases, bank statements, life insurance policies, royalty statements, mutual fund statements, retirement fund statements, real property deeds, property tax information, and other evidence of the estate assets can be useful in determining the approximate value of the estate and if a contingent contract for probating the estate can be viable.  For more information on Texas Contingent and Hybrid Probate Lawsuits, please feel free to go to the following web page:  Texas Contingent Probate Lawyer and Texas Death Benefit Collection Lawyer.