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Courts possess significant powers to impose sanctions on attorneys who improperly abuse legal processes. Various procedural rules and statutes grant courts discretion to levy monetary sanctions when attorneys engage in frivolous litigation tactics or misconduct. As the Brenners v. Green, No. 06-20-00044-CV (Tex. App. – Texarkana [6th Dist.] 2020) case exemplifies, determining appropriate sanctions requires...
11can an unsigned handwritten document count as a will
If someone dies in Texas and they left a handwritten written document that gives away their property on death, can that document be a valid will?  What if the person did not sign the will? The answer is often, “yes,” as Texas law allows for handwritten wills.  The courts will often admit the wills even...
11The Role of the “Fiduciary Duty” in Probate Disputes
Probate disputes often involve conflicting claims by family members. The claims can result from misunderstandings or even viewing the same facts from a different perspective. The claims can also come from outright theft and other wrongdoing. The outcome in these types of disputes can often come down to who has the burden of proof in...
11lady bird
Lady Bird Deeds are a popular estate planning tool in Texas that allow property owners to retain a life estate while transferring their property to a designated beneficiary upon death.  The key benefit is that they can be revoked if situations or desires change.  But what about joint Lady Bird Deeds executed by both spouses? ...
11sanctions in texas probate
When you make a filing with the courts or enter an appearance, you are subjecting yourself to the rules of the court.  Litigation is a serious matter.  It has real-world consequences, like sanctions, which can be very serious. The courts have a number of laws and rules at their disposal to ensure that the parties...
11courtroom justice independent executor
The probate process involves settling the decedent’s financial obligations, paying debts and taxes, identifying and appraising assets, and distributing the remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries or heirs.  This is a multifaceted process that involves a careful balance of probate laws, family relationships, beneficiary interests, and executor responsibilities.  One particularly crucial aspect of the probate...
11inherit house spouse no will
In Dallas, Texas, Jimmy’s life took a complicated turn when he lost his wife and was faced with navigating the nuances of Texas estate law. His stepson Bob, absent for nearly a decade, unexpectedly inherited a 50% stake in the home Jimmy thought was fully his.  Texas Estates Code provides guidelines for what happens when...
11avoid foreclosure texas probate
What happens if someone owns real estate that is subject to a mortgage and the mortgage goes unpaid because they died? Can the bank foreclose on the property? If so, what steps should the surviving family members take to protect the property? The recent Midfirst Bank v. Robbinson, No. 3:22-CV-0333-M-BH (N.D. Tex. 2023) case provides...
11how much probate
There is no set limit for when probate administration is required or warranted in Texas. While some large estates may not have to go through probate, some small estates do. Alongside other factors such as family disputes or complex financial arrangements, the value of the estate and the nature of its assets play a significant...
11Texas transfer on death deed
Transfer-On-Death Designations in Texas When it comes to estate planning in Texas, there are many different tools and strategies available. One option that is often overlooked, but can be incredibly useful, is the use of the transfer-on-death (“TOD”) designation. This designation can allow you to name beneficiaries for certain assets, which will then pass to...
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