Estate Planning

Do You Need a Revocable Trust?

Not everyone knows what a revocable trust is or whether they need one.  This article discusses the general characteristics of a revocable trust, some of the benefits a revocable trust offers, and other considerations that are relevant to this estate planning vehicle. What is a Revocable Trust? A trust is a relationship between three people: […]

Legal Documents for Your College Checklist

While shopping for extra-long twin sheets and plush mattress pads for your soon-to-be college freshman, consider adding these items to your checklist: Financial Power of Attorney (POA) Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) Authorization You are probably wondering why your barely-an-adult child needs these documents. Most high school grads […]

Spencer Turner | Farrow-Gillespie Heath Witter

Those Pesky Trusts! A Brief Primer on Terminating Unwanted Trusts

Estate planning attorneys often wax poetic about the multitude of advantages found in a simple trust instrument. They’re not wrong. A well-crafted trust is an excellent vehicle for addressing a client’s concerns under a variety of different circumstances. Clients may place assets in a trust for tax benefits, creditor and divorce protection, planning for incapacity, […]

Adoption | Farrow-Gillespie Heath Witter

Where Adoption and Inheritance Cross Paths

When a Texan dies without a will, the decedent’s property passes to his or her heirs in accordance with the laws of intestate succession. Adoption may affect inheritance if either the decedent or an heir is a part of what is known as the adoption triad. The adoption triad consists of the biological parents, the […]

The Effects of Divorce on Wills and Estate Plans in Texas

Here is a guide to the legal effects of divorce on Wills, Trust instruments, and financial accounts in Texas.     Wills and Divorce in Texas. When a person’s marriage is dissolved by divorce, the former spouse cannot receive any payments, benefits or inherit property from that person’s will unless it expressly states otherwise. Not […]

Investment | Farrow-Gillespie & Heath

Uncertainty Continues Around “Fiduciary Rule” Protections for Retirement Investors

The last 40 years have seen a marked change in retirement benefits, with fewer employer-sponsored defined benefit plans, more defined contribution plans (including 401(k) plans and Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plans), and a proliferation of individual retirement accounts (IRA).  These changes have raised questions among regulators about the protections available to employees who are now […]

Bethany Kelso | Preston Kelso | Christian Kelso

Upjohn Clause: A Trap for the Unwary Trustee

  Many trust instruments prohibit trustees from relieving themselves of a legal duty under applicable law.  Such language, which is sometimes referred to as an “Upjohn” clause after the case of Upjohn v. U.S.  (30 A.F.T.R. 2d. 72-5918 (W.D. Mich 1972)), is most often, intended to prohibit a trustee from using trust assets to pay […]

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act | New Tax Law 2017

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: What It Means for You

This information is current as of December 27, 2017. At the request of our clients, we have summarized some of the more important provisions of the sweeping new tax law (“TCJA”), which was signed into effect on December 22, 2017.  Please note that all of these provisions are subject to interpretation by the Internal Revenue […]

Luxury Property | Yacht | SPE | Special Purpose Entities

Luxury Property Special Purpose Entities

Portions of this article were originally printed in Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, December 2017.   When it comes to luxury property, such as beach houses, lake houses, ski condos, hunting leases, aircraft, watercraft, limousines, and the like, two rules almost always apply:  First, they are expensive to own and operate.  Second, they tend to sit […]

Estate Planning | Farrow-Gillespie & Heath | Dallas, TX

Capacity to sign

Different legal actions require different levels of mental capacity to be valid.  For example, the level of mental capacity required to sign a will, referred to as “testamentary capacity,” is lower than the level of capacity required to sign a contract, called “contractual capacity.” The various standards are discussed below. Capacity to Sign a Will […]

FBAR deadline is April 18

The annual due date for filing Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) for foreign financial accounts has been changed from June 30 of each year to April 15.  This date change was mandated by the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015, Public Law 114-41 (the Act).  Section 2006(b)(11) of […]

Digital Assets in Estate Planning

Digital asset planning

As technology advances over time, the average person owns more and more digital assets. The same applies to businesses too, where the rise of technology also plays a large part in its development. If companies like Salesforce know it’s importance, then it is definintely something worth considering. We doubt technology is going to disappear anytime […]

Christian Kelso | Farrow-GIllespie & Heath LLP | Dallas, TX

It’s time to make your 663(b) trust and estate distributions!

Trusts and estates often pay more tax than individuals in like circumstances.  This is not because they are taxed at higher rates, but rather because the same rates applicable to individuals are “compressed,” meaning that each marginal rate increase happens at a lower level of income than it does for individuals.  For example, the highest […]

Family Governance Arrangements: Putting the SUCCESS into succession planning

By Christian Kelso June 4, 2016 Family Governance Arrangements: Putting the SUCCESS into succession planning By Christian S. Kelso, Esq. It is a little known fact among us mere mortals, but the über-rich have a trick for both keeping the peace in their families and preserving their vast fortunes. They engage in something called family […]

Estate Planning | Farrow-Gillespie & Heath LLP | Dallas, TX

Do I Need a Will?

One of the most common misunderstandings about estate planning is the belief that it is only for the wealthy. Anyone who owns property of any kind has an estate. Basic estate planning is an important component of an organized and responsible life, whether or not your estate is large enough to be subject to federal […]

Angela Hunt Assists Aldredge House to Keep Doors OPen

Forming a 501c3: The “Texas Three-Step”

Individuals and families may establish a 501c3 tax-exempt charitable organization to accomplish substantive philanthropy while receiving very favorable tax treatment. The degree of maintenance such an organization requires depends whether the organization can be classified as a public charity or is instead a private or family foundation. Either way, forming a 501c3 is a three-step process. Step One: […]

Jennifer Lewis | Farrow-Gillespie & Heath LLP | Dallas, TX

What do “basic” estate planning documents include?

Even if an estate is not large enough to be subject to the Federal Estate Tax — and most are not — estate planning is a component of an organized and responsible life. Good estate planning enables a person to transfer his or her property at death in the fastest, easiest, least expensive manner possible; […]

Liza Farrow-GIllespie | Farrow-GIllespie & Heath LLP | Dallas, TX

Power of attorney liability

A person (“agent”) holding a power of attorney for another person (the “principal”) must act with the utmost degree of loyalty to the principal.  The agent must avoid being involved in any transaction which benefits, or even which potentially benefits, the agent. That rule of law was enforced once again in 2015 by the Texas […]

Liza Farrow-GIllespie | Farrow-GIllespie & Heath LLP | Dallas, TX

New simpler 501c3 application for small charities

In July 2014, the Internal Revenue Service introduced a new, shorter application form to help small charities apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status more easily. The new Form 1023-EZ is three pages long, compared with the standard 26-page Form 1023. Most small organizations, including as many as 70 percent of all applicants, qualify to use the […]