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Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

September 28, 2018

How Can I Ensure My Loved Ones Won’t Fight Over My Estate?

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When the world lost Aretha Franklin on August 16, one of the more-surprising stories to make headlines was the fact that she did not have an estate plan. While many of the details of the administration of Franklin’s estate are likely to remain private, with an estimated net worth of $80 million, it is fair to say that her surviving family members will likely face some struggles along the way.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

May 31, 2018

Life Insurance and Estate Planning: Here’s What You Need to Know

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Under the right circumstances, life insurance can be a valuable – and even cost-saving – addition to a comprehensive estate plan. But, like all estate planning tools, life insurance is not the best option for everyone. If you are thinking about buying life insurance, or wondering if you should, here are three important considerations to keep in mind.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

August 24, 2017

Challenging Non-Probate Transfers During Estate Administration

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When preparing an estate plan, there are two broad categories of options for distributing a person’s assets after death: probate and non-probate transfers. Probate is the process of administering a person’s will; and, due to the time, costs and complexities involved in probate, many people choose to structure their estate plans predominantly using non-probate transfer methods.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

June 30, 2017

Texas Probate Resources for Family Members and Personal Representatives

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If you have recently lost a loved one in Texas, it will be important to familiarize yourself with the probate process. Probate is the method the Texas courts use to administer the estates of individuals who die both with and without wills; and, while it is possible to structure an estate plan that largely avoids probate, in most cases at least some involvement with the probate courts will be required.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

May 31, 2017

Understanding Your IRA: Tax and Estate Planning Considerations

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If you have been putting money into an individual retirement account (IRA), it is important to consider what will happen to your IRA if you have savings left over at the time of your death. By thoughtfully incorporating your IRA into your estate plan, you can both (i) help reduce your loved ones’ tax burden after your passing, and (ii) ensure that your named beneficiary (or beneficiaries) have the information and flexibility they need to make smart decisions about taking distributions from your account.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

March 31, 2017

Understanding the Probate Process

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In February, we discussed one of the first steps in preparing for probate: Understanding Your Loved One’s Will. In that article, we discussed the various roles that a person’s will plays in probate, from (potentially) designating the method of probate to accounting for funeral expenses and distributing some or all of the decedent’s assets after death.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

February 15, 2017

Preparing for Probate: Understanding Your Loved One’s Will

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If your loved one left behind a will, administering his or her estate will involve carrying out the terms of the will through the probate process. Whether you have been named as personal representative, are a named beneficiary in the will or believe that you are entitled to a share of your loved one’s estate, it is important to understand the probate process – and it is also important to understand the role of some of the key provisions of your loved one’s will.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

October 31, 2016

Understanding Creditors’ Rights in Texas Probate

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At a high level, administering a decedent’s estate in Texas involves a three-step process: (i) inventory and collect the decedent’s assets, (ii) pay the decedent’s creditor’s, and then (iii) distribute the remaining assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries (according to his or her estate plan) or heirs (in accordance with the law). You will notice in this chain of events that creditors are entitled to payment before any assets get distributed to the decedent’s loved ones.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

June 24, 2016

What Types of Assets Transfer Outside of Probate?

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If you have been doing research about preparing your estate plan, you have probably read that much of the estate planning process involves keeping your assets out of probate. While by no means a universal rule, avoiding probate tends to make it easier, faster and less expensive for a person’s loved ones to administer his or her estate after death. As a result, many people choose to build their estate plans using the various tools that are available for avoiding the probate process.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

June 17, 2016

Understanding Your Duties as a Personal Representative During Probate

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If you have been appointed as a personal representative – either in someone’s will or by a court during the probate process – it is important to make sure that you have a thorough understanding of your legal obligations.  Personal representatives have a number of responsibilities, and they owe a fiduciary duty to fulfill these responsibilities for the benefit of the estate. Breach of this duty can have significant consequences, including a lawsuit filed by the estate’s beneficiaries that could result in personal financial liability.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

March 31, 2016

Another Year Has Gone By and You Still Don’t Have an Estate Plan

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For many people, putting together an estate plan is something that remains perpetually on their “to do” list. They know it’s a good idea, and they want to prioritize it, but somehow life always gets in the way.

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Categories: Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

January 30, 2014

Independent Administration of Estates in Texas: Does it Make the Probate Process Easier?

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What is probate?  It is the legal process of proving the validity of a Will.  It is also commonly understood to refer to the legal process in which the estate of a decedent is administered.

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Categories: Wills & Trusts, Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

April 19, 2012

Your McKinney Estate Planning Lawyers Discuss Whitney Houston’s Will

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Whitney Houston's Will surprised McKinney estate planning lawyers and many other lawyers

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Categories: Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts, Probate and Estate/Trust Administration

January 10, 2010

April Nordhaus Recommends Living Trusts

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As a partner and lead estate planning lawyer for the law firm Luce, Nordhaus, and Walpole, in McKinney, TX., I work with many families on estate planning helping them preserve and protect their estates. One of the key documents I use is Living Trusts.

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Categories: Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts, Probate and Estate/Trust Administration


Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"April Nordhaus and her legal assistant Allison McKenzie have been magnificent to work with. Our will was terribly out of date and no longer provided the legal and financial protection we wanted for ourselves or our children. April spent a significant amount of time discussing our intentions and was able to make numerous recommendations; and her ability to explain legal language and provide examples was invaluable. Allison's meticulous attention to detail kept the whole process on track and moving smoothly toward completion. Under their professional guidance we have been able to craft a complete set of extremely specialized Trusts. We would strongly recommend their services without reservation."