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Types Of Probate Courts In Texas
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: September 17, 2019

There are a variety of types of courts in Texas that have jurisdiction over different kinds of cases. In this article we will generally discuss the Texas court system and explain how probate courts fit within that structure. Austin probate lawyer Farren Sheehan is experienced in court settings and can assist with probate and other court proceedings in all courts in Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville and Cedar Park. The Texas Court System The basic structure of the Texas court system was established by the Texas Constitution. In Texas, the highest state appellate court for civil matters is the Texas Supreme Court, and the Court of Criminal Appeals makes the final decisions in criminal matters. Below these highest courts there are 14 courts of appeals that exercise intermediate appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases. State trial courts of general jurisdiction are known as district courts. Each district court serves…Read More

The Lessons Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes Teach Us
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: December 14, 2018

Movie and comic book fans alike are grieving the passing of Marvel Comics former publisher and chairman, Stan Lee. The 95-year-old is known for co-creating superheroes like Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and Spider-Man. However, in his final years, Lee was plagued by financial issues that may put his estate in jeopardy. Here are some of the estate planning lessons we can learn from the comic book icon’s life. Who Do You Trust When It Comes To Financial And Estate Planning? In an interview with the Daily Beast, Lee admitted that he made some money management mistakes in the past. When he initially began making money, he tried to manage it himself, but soon learned he needed help. When he approached individuals for assistance, he allegedly misplaced that trust, which led to him parting ways with many business partners over the years. Lee’s experience teaches us that taking…Read More

What Are My Responsibilities As An Executor Of A Will?
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: October 14, 2018

When R&B legend Aretha Franklin died, her fans and music lovers around the world were wondering why her funeral was delayed for weeks. Unfortunately, Franklin did not leave a will, and her four sons were left to determine how her assets and property would be allocated. An important component of a will is to have an executor of a will that will help the process run a lot smoother. What Do I Need To Do If I’m Named An Executor Of A Will? If you have been named the executor of a deceased person’s estate, you will have a few responsibilities that a lot of people are unaware of. First, it’s important to know what an executor is, which is a person named in a will who will carry out the wishes of a deceased person. Responsibilities might include: Giving the will to probate Protecting the estate’s assets Distributing property…Read More

Why Is A Will Important For The Future Of Your Estate?
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: July 14, 2018

Have you prepared a living trust or a will? If not, then you are not alone. A survey estimates that only 42 percent of American adults have put together their estate planning documents. This is pretty startling considering what can happen if your estate falls into probate. Take the case of famous Texas real estate magnate James Cotter for example. A Word Of Caution For The Future Of Your Estate It was January 25, 2017 when James Cotter passed away due to cardiac arrest—he was 83. Only a year before he passed, the man’s estate was estimated as being worth $288 million. Now, his family, his estate administrators and the probate court just aren’t sure what to make of his estate. Upon his death, Cotter reportedly had $181.7 million in debts, taxes and other liabilities. This should have left around $106 million to his descendants and heirs. But the…Read More

  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: April 14, 2018

A crucial part of your estate plan involves the distribution of your property and assets to your children. These instructions for your kids should be clearly laid out in your will or living trust, and so it’s important to know all of the components you should be including. What Are My Property Arrangement Options? Identify a property guardian in your will: The property guardian will manage any property that the child inherits if there is no other external system to handle it (such as a trust). You may also name a custodian under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA), which is another option for choosing someone to manage property you’re leaving your child. Use life insurance: Either through your child’s trust or a UTMA custodianship, you can name a property manager for your children through your life insurance. Review your life insurance policy to know how this process will…Read More

How To Negotiate A Commercial Real Estate Lease
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: March 11, 2018

There is technically a standard agreement for commercial leases that is outlined by TAR (the Texas Association of Realtors), but if you draft a lease with your real estate attorney instead, it will give you much more leeway and allowance for detail. Your business is very likely to obtain significant agreements with your landlord, depending on how the commercial real estate market is doing. Many factors go into renting a commercial property, so there will be many factors involved in negotiating your lease. Here are some things you should try to negotiate with your landlord. Consider Rent And Rent Increases Before you lease your commercial property, consider the cost of rent. The cost of rent will fluctuate depending on the real estate market conditions and the location of your property. Depending on these factors, you will probably be able to negotiate the rental amount. Your lease should outline which terms…Read More

What To Do If You’re Buying Your First Texas Home
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: February 1, 2018

As a first-time homebuyer in Texas, the home buying process can seem terrifying and overwhelming. Buying a home is usually the first big purchase of a person’s life, so going into such a big and unknown process can be intimidating. However, if you go into the experience prepared, you’ll know exactly the steps to take and who to talk to. Here are some key preparation steps you or someone you know should follow when they are ready to buy their first home. Are You Financially Prepared? Before you make any big moves, it’s important to stop and get your finances in order first. Make sure you have enough cash for a down payment, any closing costs and other moving expenses. Next, hire a professional that will be with you every step of the way and can ensure that you close the deal. Get a real estate agent to help you…Read More

What Is A Living Trust, And Do I Need One Instead Of A Will?
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: January 20, 2018

Death is an uncomfortable subject, but it’s an important one to talk about. It’s a given that everyone should have a legal document dictating the division of their assets upon death. But the question is, do you really need a will, or is there another option? There is – but it might not be for everyone. While most people think of a will as the document to distribute assets upon death, there are also living trusts. Only about 20 percent of Americans have living trusts. Should you? There are certain benefits of living trusts you might not find if you have a will. A living trust is a written legal document that allows you to place your assets in a trust that you can benefit from during your lifetime, but is then transferred to your designated beneficiaries upon death through your chosen representative, or successor trustee. Why consider a living…Read More

New Opportunities Under Tax Cuts And Jobs Act
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: January 4, 2018

Congress has just passed, and President Trump is expected to sign the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Although continued study of the bill will undoubtedly reveal additional opportunities I can share with you and your family, I wanted to provide some of my immediate impressions. Significant Changes To Business Taxation If you own a business or are thinking about starting one, contact us immediately. Relying on old rules of thumb or ignoring this monumental change in business taxation as you make business plans could mean paying enormous amounts of unnecessary taxes. Many of the new, business-oriented deductions have specific rules to qualify. Although, this bill has been the subject of intense media discussion, don’t rely on television programs, blog posts, or press releases. Instead, contact us so we can analyze how to maximize your benefits under the bill. New Opportunities For Dynasty Planning And Discounted Gifting The doubling of the…Read More

  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: November 11, 2017

Homeowners living in a sub development or condominium complex are likely to be members of a home owners association (“HOA”). HOA’s generally have the authority to set certain rules pertaining to the sub development as well as provide services to homeowners. In order to operate HOA’s are generally also authorized to collect money through assessments. This article will examine the basics of HOA assessments. If you have questions regarding HOA assessments in Austin, Pflugerville, or Round Rock, contact the real estate attorneys at the Law Office of Farren Sheehan. What Is An HOA Assessment? HOA’s typically provide a variety of services to the communities in which they operate. These often include landscaping, common area maintenance, amenity maintenance, tennis courts, playgrounds, pools, private roads, lighting, and so forth. HOA’s pay for these common operating costs by levying assessments on homeowners. There are three primary types of assessments HOA’s use to collect…Read More

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