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Common misconceptions in estate planning

When people think of a will, they may get uncomfortable. This is understandable, as it is not pleasant to consider the end of one's life. However, it is a very important subject for Texas families to consider. There are several incorrect beliefs that people often have in regard to estate planning, but experts say that it is vital that people understand exactly how important having one in place can be for a person and his or her loved ones.

Many people believe that if they are not wealthy, they do not need to have a will. Experts point out that it is likely that most people have some assets, such as a home or small bank account. It is important to ensure that those assets are bequeathed to someone of that person's choosing. A will can even dictate who would care for the person's children, or how that person would like his or her remains to be managed after death.

Minimizing the impact that divorce has on your child

As a divorcing parent, you may be concerned about the effect that your divorce will have on your child. Unfortunately, some children suffer significantly as a result of their parents' divorce. They may have unaddressed fears about the split, and they may internalize certain negative emotions by blaming themselves. This, in turn, can have implications on their grades at school and future prospects.

It is important to understand the psychology of children when dealing with such issues. Children do not think in the same way that adults do. However, this does not mean that they are unaware of conflicts and marital issues. By taking simple steps to communicate with your child and by seeking to truly understand them, you will be able to work through this challenging time by their side.

Insurer sued for denying cancer patient's insurance claim

Insurance is designed to help people out during some of the most difficult times in their lives. Unfortunately, some insurers fail to pay out legitimate claims to policy holders in the interest of saving the company money. It can be difficult to hold insurers in Texas accountable, but doing so is important for all of the people that the insurance company is supposed to cover. One out-of-state attorney is doing just that after his insurance claim for cancer treatment was denied by his insurer.

The attorney, who is a survivor of prostate cancer, attempted to file a claim for treatment back in 2017. Doctors recommended a proton beam radiation therapy because it would be more effective and not as invasive as other options. His insurer, UnitedHealthcare, denied his claim to cover the treatment, saying that the treatment was experimental. The man countered that the treatment was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration back in the 1980s.

Common mistakes executors make during probate

Being an executor can be a great honor, but it is also a major responsibility. Many people here in Texas recognize the importance of the role, but are nervous about what is expected. Experts have advice for those who are appointed to this position, and warn of some common mistakes that can occur during the probate process.

One of the main components of being the executor of a will is dealing with beneficiaries. Some people make the mistake of not maintaining communication with beneficiaries, or even favoring one over all of the others, which can have disastrous consequences. Beneficiaries may decide to petition the court to remove the executor. Some executors might think that distributing or selling assets on their own will avoid this kind of problem, but that can also be cause for removal. Other people, for varied reasons, make the mistake of doing nothing at all, which does not honor the wishes of the deceased and can complicate the entire matter.

How does a commercial lease differ from its residential counterpart?

The realm of real estate transactions and disputes is broad and complex in Texas, and often involves huge amounts of money in given matters. We duly note that point on our website at the established law firm of Perry & Shields, LLP. Our practiced real estate attorneys serve diverse and valued clients from multiple offices spanning the state.

As we stress on our firm’s real estate practice page, matters surrounding leases are typically of vital importance to both property owners/lessors and lessees. Commercial leases especially -- as opposed to their residential counterparts -- can breed complexities and variances that invite close input from experienced legal counsel. Many business principals reasonably seek help from a proven real estate legal team when they are negotiating the terms of a commercial lease and contemplating execution of that important contract.

Talking about finances may be helpful post-divorce

When people get a divorce, they sometimes feel a certain amount of shame for having gone through such a difficult event. Despite the fact that a large percentage of people in Texas and across the country are divorced, the stigma attached can be too much for some people to deal with. In particular, people are often reticent to share details of any of the financial hardships that can come with a divorce. Experts say that this reluctance may be unhelpful and that, contrary to popular belief, it can actually be beneficial for a person to openly discuss their financial situation, in the right circumstances.

One study showed that over half of divorced people in the country rarely discuss their financial situation with the rest of their family. In comparison, among all survey respondents, only 27 percent felt uncomfortable bringing up money matters to loved ones. The same study found that a higher percentage of divorced people feel that they do not make enough money to care for themselves and that they allocate more of their income to debt than savings. What these statistics reveal is that many people feel ashamed about the state of their finances after divorce.

Estate planning errors often relate to beneficiary designation

There are many people in Texas and elsewhere who think that just creating a will is the only necessary step in estate planning. Though it is an important one, experts say that there are many aspects that people overlook throughout the process. One of the areas people tend to neglect is ensuring that beneficiaries are up to date. Experts say there are several common mistakes that people make in relation to beneficiaries in estate planning.

The first, and possibly most obvious, is the failure to name a beneficiary for every account that a person owns. Failing to do so means that one's estate will be the beneficiary. Though that may sound acceptable, the estate will go into the probate process and may result in a beneficiary not being able to take advantage of normal tax laws that surround retirement accounts.

Your options in enforcing Texas child support

If you are a custodial parent, it is likely that you are financially dependent on child support payments to some extent. The payments that you receive from the other parent will help you to pay for your child's food, shelter, child care and extra-curricular activities. If you have not been receiving child support payments recently, you may be feeling angry or distressed about this issue.

The state of Texas takes child support enforcement very seriously, because it recognizes the impact that missed payments can have on families. There are many options for parents who are suffering financially due to delinquent payments.

Family law: Parents allege violation of child custody orders

When two people share a child but not a relationship, determining child custody can be difficult. When a family law court creates a child custody order, parents trust that their child's other parent will honor it. They also assume that if the order is violated, they can rely on the police and courts to enforce it. However, several parents in one area of Texas say that they are having great difficulty getting their child's other parent to follow what they assumed was an already settled child custody agreement.

Local news media in El Paso found records stating that from 2014 to 2016, over 4,000 complaints alleging child custody interference were filed. Only 229 of those reports were turned over to the district attorney and only 11 of those cases resulted in an indictment. The district attorney says that the cases should be handled by the court and that they are civil matters.

Karl Lagerfeld likely included his cat in his estate plan

Many people here in Texas consider pets to be like members of their family. These animals bring joy and love to their owners' lives, and many owners want their faithful companions to be well-cared for, even after the owner has passed on. Despite the sentimental attachment many people feel to their pets, legally the animals are considered property in divorce proceedings. The recent death of fashion mogul Karl Lagerfeld serves as an excellent example of why provisions need to be made for pets in an estate plan.

Pets have often been given to trusted friends or family members upon an owner's death, as can be specified in a will. However, because many pets these days are so loved by their owners, many people make the choice to have a trust created to care for their pet after their death. It was no secret that Lagerfeld loved his cat, Choupette. Given that he pampered the cat while he was alive, it stands to reason that he may have set up a trust specifically for her. The appointed custodian of the pet can access funds from the trust and use them exclusively to care for the animal.

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