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Estate Planning

October 31, 2019

End-of-Year Estate Planning Considerations: Planning Ahead for 2020

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Whether you have been putting off putting together an estate plan or you currently have a plan in place, the end of the year is a good time to reevaluate your estate planning needs. From changes in family or health circumstances throughout the year to gifts during the holiday season, various events and activities can potentially have implications for your estate plan. Addressing them now will allow you to ring in 2020 knowing what you and your loved ones can expect with regard to things like taxes, health care decision-making and preserving your assets for future generations. Here are five tips from our McKinney estate planning lawyers:

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Categories: Estate Planning

August 16, 2019

Congress Seeks Guardianship Oversight

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To assist states in improving guardianship and data collection, Congress recently re-introduced H.R. 4174. The house bill is identical to the Guardianship Accountability Act, currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. As McKinney estate planning attorneys, we stay up-to-date on developments in estate planning law that impact our clients. Primarily about education, the bills require the Elder Justice Coordinating Council to create a National Online Resource Center on Guardianship for the publication of resources and data relating to court-determined adult guardianships. Many agencies, including the AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association have expressed their support for the legislation.    

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Categories: Estate Planning

July 17, 2019

What End-of-Life Documents Do I Need?

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Everyone should have an estate plan, regardless of wealth. And thanks to modern medicine, Texans are living longer lives. As we age, however, it is important to take time to make decisions about how our property and our healthcare should be managed in the event of a health crisis, as well as after we are gone. From powers of attorney to advance directives and living wills, McKinney estate planning attorneys can help ensure that your wishes are respected, giving piece of mind to you and your loved ones during a stressful and difficult time in your lives.  

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Categories: Estate Planning

May 31, 2019

Recent Developments in Texas Estate Planning Law

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As McKinney estate planning attorneys, we stay up-to-date on developments in estate planning law that impact our clients.  Recent developments include the increase in the federal estate tax exemption from $5 million to $10 million under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and the Texas legislature’s improvement of the law on durable powers of attorney, making it easier for beneficiaries to avoid costly and time consuming guardianship proceedings.  Our Estate Planning Practice is experienced in preparing numerous estate planning tools, including durable powers of attorney, health care directives, trusts, wills, family living partnerships, and giving and asset protection strategies. 

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Categories: Estate Planning

April 16, 2019

5 Myths About Estate Planning in Texas

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Do you need an estate plan if you are single? What if you are in your 20s or 30s? Is it okay to buy an estate plan online? These are all common questions about estate planning; and, unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Here is the truth behind five common myths about estate planning in Texas:

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Categories: Estate Planning

March 15, 2019

Estate Planning Considerations for Married Couples in Texas

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Being married offers a number of potential benefits when it comes to preparing an estate plan. From tax benefits to health care decision-making and the ease of transferring certain types of assets outside of probate, married couples will find that many aspects of the estate planning process can be fairly straightforward.

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Categories: Estate Planning

February 15, 2019

Should You Include a Revocable Living Trust in Your Estate Plan?

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For many people, a revocable living trust can be an effective tool for addressing a variety of estate planning needs. So, is a revocable living trust right for you?

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Categories: Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts

January 18, 2019

Estate Planning Considerations for Same-Sex Couples in Texas

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Although same-sex couples now have full marriage equality in the United States under the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, from a practical perspective, gay and lesbian couples can still face some undesirable challenges when it comes to having their relationships acknowledged and respected in Texas and other parts of the country. This makes it particularly important for same-sex spouses to thoughtfully prepare comprehensive estate plans. A comprehensive estate plan will address much more than the distribution of a person’s property after death, and will provide clear and unambiguous direction for limiting court involvement to the greatest extent possible.

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Categories: Estate Planning

November 16, 2018

Year in Review: Estate Planning Lessons From 2018

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Each year, we publish numerous articles on the topic of estate planning. Here are 10 of our top articles from 2018.

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Categories: Estate Planning

October 17, 2018

Estate Planning Considerations for Parents with Minor Children

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As a parent with minor children, planning your estate involves certain special considerations. While it is difficult to think about not being around to watch your children grow, this is unfortunately a possibility; and, as a parent, you owe it to yourself, your children and your other loved ones to have a plan in place.

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Categories: Estate Planning

August 31, 2018

7 Mistakes to Avoid During the Estate Planning Process

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Preparing an estate plan is important regardless of your age, wealth and medical condition. While becoming incapacitated due to an illness or injury or dying without an estate plan will leave your loved ones mired in uncertainty, putting a plan in place will minimize the burden on your family while ensuring that your final wishes are carried through.

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Categories: Estate Planning

July 27, 2018

Should You Include a Generation-Skipping Transfer (GST) in Your Estate Plan?

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The generation-skipping transfer (GST) is among the least-understood and most underutilized tools available for estate planning. When used properly, a GST not only provides a safe way to bequeath assets to future generations, but can also provide tax benefits that can save substantial sums – particularly for large estates.

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Categories: Estate Planning

June 29, 2018

What Do Millennials Need to Know About Estate Planning?

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According to data CNBC published last year, the average millennial between the ages of 25 and 34 has less than $1,000 in savings. Just 20 percent of these “older millennials” have saved $10,000 or more. But, whether you are just starting to save or you have already purchased a home and have a healthy sum in your retirement account, it is important to protect what you have earned in case something goes wrong.

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Categories: Estate Planning

April 30, 2018

Estate Planning in Texas: Should You Prepare a Durable Power of Attorney?

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Last time we discussed estate planning on our blog, we talked about the importance of incorporating various types of health care directives into your estate plan. One of these directives was the medical power of attorney, a document which is used to appoint someone else to make health care-related decisions for you should the need arise. When preparing an estate plan, there is another type of power of attorney you will likely want to incorporate as well. This is what is commonly referred to as a durable power of attorney.

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Categories: Estate Planning

March 16, 2018

Estate Planning in Texas: Understanding the Importance of Health Care Directives

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When preparing your estate plan, a crucial – but often overlooked – part of the process is planning for your health care in the event of incapacity. If you get sick or injured and are unable to make decisions about your own medical treatment, you will need someone to make these decisions for you. While planning for incapacity is a relatively straightforward process, if you don’t have a plan in place, your loved ones could face extraordinarily challenging circumstances down the road. Planning ahead provides critical certainty for you and your family, and it is more than worth the time and effort involved.

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Categories: Estate Planning

February 28, 2018

What Information Do You Need to Prepare Your Will?

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If you are wondering what information you need to prepare your will, you already have one of the most important pieces: You know that you need to put an estate plan in place. Having an estate plan is important for a variety of reasons, and a will is a fundamental component of almost any estate planning strategy.

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Categories: Estate Planning

January 31, 2018

5 Changes that May Require You to Modify Your Estate Plan

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While many estate planning tools offer the flexibility to automatically address certain changes in your life (such as the accumulation of wealth or the death of a family member), there are a variety of circumstances under which it may still be necessary to revisit your estate plan. Failing to address significant changes can leave your loved ones without guidance to resolve difficult questions; and, in many circumstances, it can result in your estate plan not accurately reflecting your final wishes.

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Categories: Estate Planning

December 14, 2017

7 Reasons (Besides Distributing Your Estate) to Have an Estate Plan

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Why should you have an estate plan? While having an estate plan is crucial to ensuring that your assets will be distributed according to your final wishes, this is only part of the equation. A comprehensive estate plan will serve a number of other important purposes as well, all of which are focused on providing certainty and financial stability for your loved ones no matter what the future holds.

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Categories: Estate Planning

September 29, 2017

Estate Planning for Millennials: Why You Need an Estate Plan in Your 20s and 30s

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Although many people believe that they only need to worry about estate planning later in life, this is a common misconception. Regardless of your age, there are a number of important reasons to have an estate plan – not only to protect your personal assets, but to protect your family and other loved ones as well. If you are a millennial in your 20s or 30s and are wondering if it is time to put a plan in place, it will be well worth your time to speak with an attorney. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

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Categories: Estate Planning

July 24, 2017

Estate Planning for Millennials: Why You Need an Estate Plan in Your 20s and 30s

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While estate planning does not generally rank as a top priority for young adults, people in their twenties and thirties can benefit from taking the time to develop a basic estate plan.  Even if you are just starting out and your assets are minimal, it is critical to take the right steps now to plan for the future. 

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Categories: Estate Planning

April 6, 2017

What Service Members Need to Do to Prepare for Military Retirement System Changes in 2018

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The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 includes major changes to the military retirement system. The changes are currently slated to take effect in 2018, with eligible service members having the entire year to choose whether to retain their current benefit structure or opt in to the new system. If you are an active-duty officer or enlisted member of the military, here are some key facts to know about the impending changes:

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Categories: Estate Planning

December 28, 2016

Ownership and Control of a Family-Owned Business After Death

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If you spent your life building a business that you intend to leave to your children, spouse or other family members after your death, addressing ownership and control of the business should be one of your top priorities in putting together a comprehensive estate plan.

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Categories: Estate Planning

November 25, 2016

You Don’t Have to Be Wealthy to Need an Estate Plan

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It is a common misconception that you do not need an estate plan if you do not consider yourself “wealthy.” Far too often, we see and hear stories of families who are struggling to cope without clear guidance from their loved ones, not fully aware of their loved ones’ final wishes and often not satisfied with the decisions the law makes for people when they do not make important decisions on their own.

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Categories: Estate Planning

September 16, 2016

Reasons to Have an Estate Plan (Besides Distributing Your Estate)

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If you are like most people, when you think about estate planning, you think about how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. While distributing your assets is undoubtedly one of the primary purposes – and perhaps even the primary purpose – of having an estate plan, it is by no means the only reason why it is important to have an estate plan in place.

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Categories: Estate Planning

July 22, 2016

Estate Planning 101: Understanding the Revocable Living Trust

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If you are preparing to put together your estate plan, it is important to learn the basics of the estate planning tool known as the “revocable living trust.” For many people, the revocable living trust has become the estate planning tool for distributing assets after death due to the numerous benefits it offers under a wide range of personal circumstances.

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Categories: Estate Planning

May 1, 2012

Common Errors in Estate Planning

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7 Common and Major Errors made in Estate Planning

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Categories: Estate Planning

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

April 11, 2012

Estate Planning & Divorce

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McKinney probate attorney April Nordhaus counsels clients on proper planning before, during and after divorce.  She helps you avoid critical mistakes.

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Categories: Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts

April 11, 2012

Best Law Firm - 2012 Reader's Choice Award

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We want to give a big THANK YOU to the readers of the Mckinney Courier Gazette for once again selecting Nordhaus Walpole, PLLC as The Best Law Firm in the 2012 Reader's Choice Awards!

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Categories: Firm News, Estate Planning

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."