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Should You Include Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan?
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: September 28, 2021

On September 13, 2021, one bitcoin was worth $44,890.10. Back in 2013, that price was hovering between $50 and $300. If you got onto the cryptocurrency bandwagon early, then it’s very possible that you made a lot of money, and Bitcoin isn’t the only game in town. Ethereum, Stellar, Dogecoin, and Litecoin are just a few of the other popular cryptocurrencies circulating on the web. The values of these alternative forms of money can make them a significant part of some portfolios. But what happens to these digital assets when you pass? Why Your Estate Plan Needs to Include Cryptocurrency Texas is one of 42 states that allows executors to handle digital assets, but there are a few difficulties when dealing with these assets. Courts can make traditional assets available to executors through court orders. But there is no court order that can guarantee access to cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or…Read More

Top Six Estate Planning Tips For Unmarried Couples
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: June 30, 2021

Marriage makes life easier in many ways. If one partner in a marriage becomes incapacitated, then the other spouse can make important healthcare and financial decisions for that person. If one spouse passes away, then any community property passes to the remaining spouse. Unmarried couples often do not have many of these rights. As a result, estate planning for unmarried couples is much different from estate planning for married partners. Note that Texas law does recognize common law marriage. If your relationship meets the standards of a common law marriage, then your estate planning needs to account for that. Include Each Other In Your Wills A will is one of the first and strongest estate planning documents you can have. It will allow you to leave assets and property to your spouse. It will also help you plan out which of your beneficiaries will receive certain portions of your estate.…Read More

What Are Some Common Misconceptions About A Power Of Attorney?
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: May 19, 2021

In estate planning, a power of attorney is a written legal document that offers power and authority to another person over specific things on your behalf. It allows another person to “step into your shoes” with tasks that can be either very general or extremely specific. In order to be considered a power of attorney, however, the document must have specific provisions by law. Many people are unaware of how a power of attorney can benefit them in their estate planning, mainly because they believe in some common misconceptions relating to it. What Are These Misconceptions Relating To A Power Of Attorney? You can sign a power of attorney if you are incompetent: Once your loved one has lost physical or mental competence (this competency level must be determined by a physician), they are legally prohibited from signing any legal documents, including a power of attorney or living trust. This…Read More

How Can I Integrate My Digital Legacy Into My Estate Plan?
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: October 30, 2020

While you are creating your estate plan, you might be wondering what will happen to your digital legacy once you pass away. Your digital legacy includes all information related to your online accounts, blogs, social networking identities and digital files that will still be left on the web once you pass away. Many of these accounts and information files cannot be left in your will, trust or other estate planning tools because you do not physically own them. The good news is that you can choose what you would like to have happen to them and leave important directions for your executor. What Is Included In My Digital Legacy? Social networks. A large part of your digital legacy will include any online social network accounts that you have, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest. What you can and will do with each account will depend on the individual…Read More

What Are The Dos And Don’ts Of Estate Planning During The Pandemic?
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: September 30, 2020

Since coronavirus entered the U.S., our entire nation has been on lockdown. In this climate, the potential threats that COVID-19 poses have weighed on the minds of Americans. It has prompted many to think about mortality and what their families would do without them. This concern has led many to start preparing their estate. But do these individuals know what they need when it comes to estate planning? What pitfalls should they avoid during this process? Our Austin estate planning lawyer has some tips that could help guide you. And with our state eager to reopen schools and business, these tips could be critical to taking care of your family’s future. What Do I Need To Start A Solid Estate Plan? With schools across our state reopening, many fear for the health of children, school employees and teachers. Many school employees, bus drivers and teachers are older and potentially vulnerable…Read More

What Lessons Can We Learn From the James Brown Estate Battle?
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: July 31, 2020

James Brown was the Godfather of Soul. He composed over 1,200 pieces of music, many of which have gone on to entertain the world. This allowed the star to amass a significant fortune, and he accounted for that wealth in a will drafted in 2000. However, his estate has been in legal limbo since his passing in 2006. Why is the James Brown estate still in court despite having a will drafted? Could recent court rulings end the legal battle? What can we learn from this star’s estate battle? Our Austin estate planning law firm takes a look at the issues and what we can learn from them. The Legal Battle For The James Brown Estate The conflict over the estate of James Brown actually began two years before the legendary singer passed away. In 2003, news outlets discovered that Brown’s wife Tommy Rae Hynie had a previous marriage. This…Read More

What Happens When A Beneficiary Of My Will Dies Before Me?
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: May 10, 2020

Under the common law, whenever a beneficiary of a will predeceased the person making the will (known as the “testator”), the gift intended for the beneficiary in the will failed or “lapsed” and was given to the residuary beneficiary or beneficiaries of the testator’s estate, that is, those beneficiaries entitled to whatever was left in the estate after certain specific gifts were made. This was the default rule as long as the testator did not state that the lapsed gift was supposed to go to someone else if the first beneficiary passed away. If there was no provision in the will naming a residuary beneficiary, the property passed by the laws of intestate succession. In order to avoid the sometimes harsh results of this rule–for instance, when a beneficiary family member with children predeceases the testator, thus depriving his or her children of the benefit of the inheritance–Texas, like many…Read More

The Importance Of Estate Planning During The Coronavirus Outbreak
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: April 1, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has now reached the level of a pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. As a result, countries around the world are taking serious countermeasures to slow its progress. Likely, you have already made changes to your everyday life to accommodate the government’s recommendations. However, planning for the future of your estate may have gotten lost in all the noise. Even though the U.S. is still collecting preliminary data, we know that the virus spreads quickly and can sometimes prove fatal. For these reasons, it is a good idea to revisit your estate planning documents. Preparing for the unexpected can’t hurt in these uncertain times. Estate Planning Preparations To Consider During The Coronavirus Outbreak Create a will or living trust In most cases, contracting COVID-19 means experiencing mild symptoms before making a full recovery. However, coronavirus can prove fatal for the elderly and those with underlying health…Read More

Top 3 Ways To Leave Your House To Your Child In Your Estate Plan
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: December 27, 2019

If you own your home, then you may be curious about your estate planning options. Choosing to leave your house to your child after you pass can offer him or her security and financial stability. In Texas, you can do this in several different ways. An estate planning attorney in Austin can help you pick the option that best suits your needs. Last Will And Testament Many people create a last will and testament to leave their personal property and assets to specific heirs or beneficiaries. If you include your home in your last will and testament, then you can choose who takes ownership after your death. It is important to note that creating a last will and testament means that your estate will go through probate court after your death. This could potentially hold up your property for months or cause your beneficiaries to incur additional legal fees. Additionally,…Read More

What To Look For When Searching For An Estate Planning Lawyer
  • By: Farren Sheehan, Esq.
  • Published: November 5, 2019

When you have numerous assets and multiple beneficiaries, contacting an estate planning lawyer is a necessity. After all, you want to ensure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you outline them. But what exactly should you look for when searching for an estate planning lawyer? Here are some important things to consider: Look For Someone Local When determining the future of your assets, your attorney should be close at-hand — rather than several counties away. Choose an estate planning attorney with a local office that you can visit when you want to chat face-to-face. This is especially important when you are first developing your plan and looking to avoid potential complications for your beneficiaries. Keep in mind that not all local estate planners are properly qualified. You should interview your options before making a final selection. Assess The Primary Focus Of An Attorney Law firms with a large…Read More

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