Out with the Old (Probate Code)
In with the New (Estates Code)!
The 2013 session of the Texas legislature made some sweeping changes to the laws governing trusts, guardianships, powers of attorney, and other areas that impact estate planning. For almost sixty years, our probate code has been fairly stable but beginning January 1, 2014, the legal landscape has changed dramatically. Large sections of the Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law (with the unfortunate acronym REPTL
) have been rewritten with the goal to make them easier to
implement. Texas estate attorneys have been burning the midnight oil, poring over the hundreds of pages of new tax code ("Affordable Care Act") to gauge the impact on their clients' families. How does this affect you?
In my opinion, a key change involves modification of two vital estate planning forms: the Durable Power of Attorney
and Medical Power of Attorney
. Whether you have had these documents prepared in our office or elsewhere, I urge you to have them reviewed by an attorney to ensure they conform to the new Texas Estates Code. This process is not expensive or time consuming, so don't delay in taking action. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I am always happy to take your call. (Note: If you don't know what these documents are, or do not have them in place, you should probably call me anyway.)
(888) 330-1467 or (214) 969-0001
Read the Fine Print...
Only about 6% of voters in Dallas County showed up for the election in November, 2013, yet they did help to pass a ballot initiative as to which I hold mixed feelings. Proposition 5, approved by more than 60% of Texas voters, authorizes reverse mortgage loans for homestead property.
These reverse mortgages have become quite popular across the country in recent years. You can't watch television news without seeing ads with aging celebrities touting this type of loan vehicle. Ads basically suggest that reverse mortgages can be an answer to prayer for cash-strapped retirees.
Too many seniors are vulnerable to such pitches for easy money. Fees are typically higher than a regular mortgage. They can leave the occupants at greater risk of foreclosure or their heirs saddled with debt. Many fall prey to slick advertising and ignore the fine print buried in the loan details. Any decision to take on a reverse mortgage should be evaluated in light of an overall financial plan. Often, there are cheaper ways to generate cash flow. Before you consider taking out such a loan, I strongly urge you to call me or your qualified financial advisor. If you have aging parents who own a home, it might be smart to have a discussion with them about the pitfalls of reverse mortgages. In some cases, reverse mortgages can provide positive benefits. However, just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Thanks to all my clients, friends, and business associates for making 2013 a wonderful year at Winn, Beaudry, and Winn. This year, in lieu of gifts, Diana and I decided to make a significant gift to Family Compass (formerly Child Abuse Prevention Center) in your names. I can't stress enough the positive impact this organization has on our community. Since their founding in 1992, they have helped thousands of Dallas-area families. I was fortunate enough to serve as a founding Board member and continue today as their legal counsel and Secretary. From their website:
The mission of Family Compass is to build healthy families and a strong Dallas community by preventing child abuse and neglect. We implement proven effective programs, so that parents can be equipped and empowered to raise healthy and productive children.
If you would like to know more about this outstanding organization, or would like to volunteer or donate, click here
Thank you for your time today. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments.
G. Ward Beaudry, Esq.
4200 Thanksgiving Tower
1601 Elm Street
Dallas, Texas 75201-7203
This E-letter is intended to stimulate thought and discussion, and to provide you with some useful ideas and guidance in the areas of estate planning and business law. The materials and comments made herein do not constitute and should not be treated as legal advice regarding the use of any particular estate or business planning or other technique, device or suggestion or any of the tax or other consequences associated with them. Although we have made every effort to ensure the accurancy of this information, Winn, Beaudry & Winn does not assume any responsibility for any individual's reliance on the information presented in this document. Each reader should verify independently all statements made in this E-letter before applying them to a particular situation and should determine independently the tax and other consequences of using any particular device, technique or suggestion before recommending it to others.
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Tax practitioners authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service are subject to the requirements of "Circular 230" (31 CFR part 10), as published by the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department has made significant changes to Circular 230, effective June 20, 2005, that affect the form and content of tax advice that we provide. In order to comply with these new changes, while minimizing the cost to our clients, we are including the following statements in all of our e-mail communications. If you have any question about the statements, please do not hesitate to contact the sender.
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|From the MS150 Ride Finish Line |
Click here to register
Many of you know I have a passion for cycling and enjoy honing my skills and stamina to ride in long-distance events to raise money for charity. From March 3-8, I'll be participating in Chris Carmichael's
renowned Spring Training Camp at Santa Ynez, California. We'll be treated like professional cyclists in every way from daily massages, to professional mechanical support, to individual analysis with our coaches. Camp ends with the challenging Solvang Century (100-mile) ride through some of the most beautiful cycling scenery in North America. Join me?
Beaudry again selected as Top Lawyer
Beaudry was recently notified of his selection to the 2013 list in the Trust and Estate category. From the notification letter:
"On behalf of American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell, we would like to congratulate you on being selected as a 2013 Top-Rated Lawyer in Trust & Estate Law."
Earlier this year, Beaudry was also recognized as an AV Preeminent Lawyer based upon peer reviews in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™.This reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability rating of at least 4.5 out of 5. The rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities.
Winn, Beaudry & Winn participates in the AARP Legal Services Network
. This is a great program for AARP members. Benefits include a free initial 45-minute consultation and a 20% discount off our standard legal fees for such things as estate planning, will preparation, trust documents and more. Find out more here