will and estate planning seminar in Houston
June 22, 2022

Trusted Advice on Wills for Houston Families

Trusted Advice on Wills for Houston Families Do you have a will? Is your will valid? Who can manage your finances if you cannot? Can your family make healthcare decisions on your behalf? How do you make sure your doctor follows your wishes? Attorney Cynthia Fronterhouse enjoys helping Houston families and individuals in the area of estate planning, wills, trusts and probate. Attend one of her upcoming (FREE) seminars or contact her today for a one-on-one consultation. Get the trusted advice on wills for Houston families.

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life estates in Texas
March 15, 2022

Life Estates In Texas Real Estate

Life Estates in Texas Real Estate: Formation, Rights, And Duties In Texas there is a limited transfer called a life estate. This transfer is limited in duration by a life. Due to the limited nature of such a transfer, a life estate brings with it a number of unique rights and duties. The Basics Of A Life Estate In Texas A life estate is most commonly granted for the life of the grantee. The grantee receives a possessory interest in the estate until the death of the measuring life. At that time, the interest reverts back to either the original grantor or to a third party, called a remainderman. In Texas, no particular or specific words are required to create a life estate, as long as there is clear intent that a life estate is to be created. Common phrases indicating the creation of a life estate include “for life” or “until his/her death.” Due to the nature of a life estate, a life tenant has certain rights and duties unique to this form of ownership. Rights Of A Life Tenant A life tenant in Texas has the following rights: The right to possession of the property: Even though a life tenant is not the only party who has an interest in the property, the life tenant has the exclusive right to possession, management, and control of the property.   The right to all rents and profits during possession: If the property produces income, the life tenant has the exclusive right to it. This includes royalties from an oil and gas well if a producing well was in existence at the time the life estate was granted.   The right to sell, lease, mortgage, or otherwise alienate the life estate in the property. This right is still limited by the measuring life. For example, a life tenant may lease the property for the duration of the measuring life only.   The right to invoke Texas homestead law, If applicable.   Duties Of A Life Tenant While in possession of the land, a life tenant owes the following duties to future interest holders: The duty to pay ordinary taxes on the land and interest on a mortgage: A life tenant has a duty to pay taxes to the extent the property produces income. A life tenant is also responsible for interest payments on the properties mortgage, but not the principle.   The duty not to commit waste: The most significant duty of a life tenant is that they may not use the property in such a way as to decrease the value of the property. In general, this requires that a life tenant exercise the ordinary care of a prudent person to preserve and protect the estate. If you have any questions about a life estate, contact attorney Cynthia Fronterhouse.

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December 17, 2021

Simple Steps of Probating A Properly Drafted Will in Texas

– A service offered for a FLAT FEE by Cynthia Fronterhouse FILING THE APPLICATION FOR PROBATE WITH ORIGINAL WILL When you lose a loved one, the original will is filed with the proper court. An application asking the court to appoint the executor listed in the will is filed with the court. After filing the will, the clerk of the court will post a notice at the court advising all interested parties that the will has been filed. The notice must remain posted for at least 10 days. The purpose of this waiting period is to give those who wish to contest a will time to do so.  If no one comes forward to contest the will, the courts will move forward with confirming the will’s validity. However, a will can be challenged at any time after the will is offered to probate and up to two years after a will has been admitted for probate. HOLDING A HEARING A hearing is held before a probate judge. During this hearing, the judge will recognize the decedent’s death, confirm that the individual applying to be executor is qualified and verify that the will is valid. Once the hearing is complete, the judge admits the will to probate and appoints the executor. The clerk then issues “letters testamentary” to the executor, which serve as notice to third parties that the executor has authority to act on the estate’s behalf. INVENTORY, APPRAISEMENT AND LIST OF CLAIMS The executor now has the responsibility to inventory and appraise the deceased person’s estate within 90 days of the hearing. These responsibilities include notifying beneficiaries of the will, posting a notice to creditors, discharging debts, filing the decedent’s final federal tax return, and otherwise settling the estate. The executor may also be responsible for selling estate assets. Attorney Cynthia Fronterhouse can assist with many of these duties for a Flat Fee.  

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