Author Archives: tiffany.dowell

June 11, 2021 Weekly Round Up

If you expected it to be a quiet summer for agricultural law, you were sorely mistaken!  If the rest of the summer is anything like the first couple of weeks, we’re in for a lot of action.  Here are a few of the ag law stories recently in the news.   * Governor Abbott signs HB 365, modifying the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act.  We’ve discussed this bill previously while it was in committee, but Governor Abbot has now signed the FALA amendment passed by the legislature.  This… Read More →

Talking Taxes: Capital Gains Tax

Today, we are wrapping up our three-part blog series, Talking Taxes.  Be sure you didn’t miss our prior posts on the estate tax and gift tax.  Today, we will tackle the topic of capital gains taxes. I’ll offer the same two disclaimers as I have on the prior posts in this series.  I am not a tax lawyer, CPA, or accountant.  I’m here to offer just basic information, but highly recommend that you consult with your attorney and tax professional for further advice or clarification.  Second, there has… Read More →

Agriculture + Mental Health Awareness Month

You may know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Because this is such an important issue, especially for those of us involved in agriculture, I wanted to share a podcast interview I did with Adrienne DeSutter. Adrienne’s background makes her perfect for this conversation.  Not only does she have a counseling degree, but she is also a farm wife who has spoken extensively about mental health and agriculture.  She joined me to talk about why this is such an issue for our industry, and some tips for… Read More →

Talking Taxes: Gift Tax

Today, we will continue our three-part Talking Taxes series with a discussion of the federal gift tax.  If you missed our first post discussing the estate tax, click here. As I did last week, I want to offer two disclaimers.  The first is that I am not a CPA or an accountant.  I’m here to offer just basic information, but highly recommend that you consult with your attorney and tax professional for further advice or clarification.  Second, there has been a lot of talk from Washington, DC, about… Read More →

May 21, 2021 Weekly Round Up

Welcome to Friday! I hope everyone has fun weekend plans.  I will be running a Dinosaur 5K with my kids tomorrow, so we will see how Mama survives with a 4 and 5 year old in tow! Here are some of the biggest ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *Potential tax policy changes cause concern.  President Biden’s administration has indicated there may be policy changes related to capital gains taxes that have caused concern for many agricultural groups. In particular, President Biden’s… Read More →

Talking Taxes: Estate Tax

Today, we will kick off a three-part series called Talking Taxes.  We are going to focus on three federal taxes that arise frequently for farm and ranch families when it comes to estate planning: the estate tax, the gift tax, and the capital gains tax. I want to offer two disclaimers.  The first is that I am not a CPA or an accountant.  I’m here to offer just basic information, but highly recommend that you consult with your attorney and tax professional for further advice or clarification.  Second,… Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: Can a landowner place a gate across a “free and uninterrupted” easement?

Question:  I am able to access my property by a written, recorded easement that states I have “uninterrupted and free use” of the easement.  The owner of the servient estate (the person over whose land the easement crosses) has built a gate across the easement.  Can he do that across an easement that grants “uninterrupted and free use?” Answer:  Likely not. Keep in mind that every easement is different and even slight changes in wording could change the way a court might interpret the document.  So, it is… Read More →

May 7, 2021 Weekly Round Up

Happy May!  Here are a few of the ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks.   *Three laws every rural landowner in Texas should know.  I recently chatted with Texas Standard and offered three key laws I think that every rural landowner should know.  See what made my list here. *President Biden mentions exception for farms in proposal to increase capital gains taxes and do away with stepped up basis.  There have been numerous articles discussing President Biden’s proposal to increase the capital gains… Read More →

Court Analyzes TX Farm Animal Liability Act When Horse Injures Bridesmaid at Wedding Venue

Lobue v. Hanson, a case involving a wedding venue, a bridesmaid, a horse, and the Farm Animal Liability Act recently caught my attention.   [Read case here.] Background Todd Hanson owns a fifty-six acre property in Crosby, which he rents as a wedding venue called The Barn at Four Pines Ranch.  The weddings are held in a barn on the property.  Cattle and horses are on the property, but there is a fence separating the livestock from the barn. When the bride and groom arrived on their wedding day,… Read More →

Case Addresses Requirements for Valid Codicil to Will

A recent Houston Court of Appeals (1st District) case, In re the Estate of Billy Joe Wlecyk, offers some important considerations to consider with regard to executing a will and codicil. Background Billy Joe Wleczyk died on January 30, 2018.  Two days later, his daughter, Sharon Reed,  filed an Application for Probate of Will and Letters Testamentary stating that Billy Joe resided in Brazoria County at the time of his death.  The Application further provided that he executed a will in 2001, which was ratified in July 2016, and… Read More →