Michael S ‚ÄčHolmes PC

Office in Houston Texas. Legal services for bankruptcy, probate, wills & real estate



Happy New Year 2020 and learn new IRA rules

Posted on January 12, 2020 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (21663)
With the New Year, 2020 brings some important changes to regular IRA's. There are new mandatory minimum distribution rules as well as new rules for non-spouse beneficiaries. If you have integrated your estate plans with IRA's, then please, please consult your legal advisor on what impact these new rules will have on your estate plan design. And Happy New Year!

Speaking at RICH March 10th Texas Probate Law for Investors

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (11738)

On March 10, 2014, I will be presenting a Monday Night workshop entitled "Texas Probate Law for Investors" at the Real Estate Investment Club of Houston, 4220 Lockfield St., Houston, Texas 77092.  

Call the RICH club for more information, 713-947-7424.  http://richclub.org/ ;

Small estate affidavit

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (8259)

I am seeing it more frequently: a spouse dies without a will and the widow(er) wants to sell the homestead.  The closing date is approaching and the title company awakes and requires some probate process to make sure that the widow(er) is the right (and/or the only) person who can legally sell the home.

In this scenario,  filing a small estate affidavit in the probate court may resolve the problem.  A small estate affidavit is limited to very specific facts.

If the deceased spouse's non-exempt estate is less than $50,000 (the value of the homestead and exempt personal property are not counted) and the non-exempt assets exceed the liabilities of the deceased, a small estate affidavit can be utilized.  It is a relative inexpensive procedure that is processed and approved quickly by the probate court.  This procedure does pass title to the homestead to the heirs BUT NOT ANY OTHER REAL PROPERTY.  

The main issue is who are the heirs who are entitled to receive the deceased's estate (Texas law determines this, not the family)?  I recently had a client who learned that children from a prior and current marriage of the deceased spouse owned half of the the spouse's estate - not the widow(er).  It complicated the situation.

If a small estate affidavit can be used, it should be used because a formal probate of an intestate's estate costs thousands of dollars.