Category Archives: Estate Planning

June 22, 2018 Weekly Round Up

We’ve made it to another Friday!  I spent this week in the office getting caught up on emails, phone calls, and writing.  There will be some really interesting blog posts coming over the next couple of months, so be sure you’ve signed up to receive them via email! Here are some ag law stories in the news this week. * Environmental groups petition US Fish and Wildlife Service to list dunes sagebrush lizard under Endangered Species Act.  The Center for Biological Diversity and the Defenders of Wildlife have… Read More →

When Grandma’s Will Causes a Family Feud

A recent case from the Texas Supreme Court offers a reminder about how disputes can arise from language used in a will when not carefully reviewed by an attorney.  [Read full opinion here.] Background Vada Allen owned a 316 acre ranch in Robertson County.  Upon her death, she was survived by her son, Bobby, and three grandchildren, Annette, Allison, and Stanley.  Her will included the following provision: Now Bobby, I leave the rest to you, everything, certificates of deposit, land, cattle, and machinery, Understand that the land is… Read More →

March 16, 2018 Weekly Round Up

It’s been a busy week for me and for agricultural law!  On Wednesday I spoke in Albany, Texas at a program hosted by the Leon Bosque RC&D and on Thursday evening I was in Brownwood to speak at the Brown County Ag Day.  Welcome to those of you joining from those events. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * FMCSA Extends Agricultural Exemption to New Hauling Regulations Another 90 Days.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it will… Read More →

Words Matter When Drafting a Will: A Cautionary Tale

A recent decision from the Ft. Worth Court of Appeals, In the Estate of Larry Ronald Neal, Deceased, offers a good reminder about how important is to carefully word a will to ensure that one’s intent is carried out after death. Background Larry Neal executed a will in 2009 naming his brother, Gary, as executor of his estate and making various bequeaths of his assets.  The will included the following provisions: Article II  “I do give and bequeath to my niece, Valorie Jean (Neal) White, all of my personal effects and all… Read More →

February 16, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Hello from Weatherford, Texas!  Last night, I spoke at an Extension meeting in Denton County and today I’ll be speaking at the Country Land Stewardship Conference here in Weatherford.  Welcome to those of you joining us from these events. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. *Budget bill allows seed cotton to be a covered commodity under Farm Bill.   On February 9, Congress passed a budget that made seed cotton a covered commodity for the 2018 crop year under the current Farm Bill’s… Read More →

2018 Estate Tax Changes

With the start of a new year and the passage of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” there are important changes to the federal estate tax.  Everyone should take time to understand the current and any new estate tax law and to evaluate his or her estate to determine if estate tax liability may be an issue. Federal Estate Tax Basics The federal estate tax is essentially a tax on a person’s right to transfer property at death.  If a person’s taxable estate is valued over the exemption… Read More →

December 1, 2017 Weekly Round Up

Welcome to December!  To those of you joining us for the first time from the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show, welcome!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * EPA delays emissions reporting until January 22.  As we reported two weeks ago, the deadline for agricultural operations to report emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide if over 100 pounds in a 24 hour period had been November 15.  On the eve of that deadline, the EPA announced it would not require reporting… Read More →

College Prep: Draft Power of Attorneys and HIPAA Release Forms

When a parent prepares to ship a kid off to college, they often think about tuition, the safety of the dorm, and making sure oil is changed in the kid’s vehicle before they leave.  A critical item that is often left off the college to do list is having three key legal documents in place:  power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and a HIPAA disclosure authorization. Once children reach 18 years of age, their parents are no longer able to automatically make medical or financial decisions on… Read More →

May 12, 2017 Weekly Round Up

We’ve made it to Friday yet again!  Here are some of the legal issues in the news this week. * EPA seeks input from governors on revisions to WOTUS rule.  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter this week to the 50 state governors seeking input from them on the re-write of the WOTUS rule.  He noted the value and importance of local input when writing the new rule.  [Read article here.] * Federal judge dismisses legal challenge to North Carolina lawsuit over Property Protection Act.  A federal… Read More →

April 28, 2017 Weekly Round Up

It’s an uncommon occurrence for me, but this week I’ve not been on the road!  I did make a presentation via internet technology to a great group of East Texas producers at the Select Beef Producers Meeting on Wednesday.  To those of you joining from that group, welcome! Here are a few ag law stories in the news this week. * President Trump Issues Executive Order “Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America.”  On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order creating the “Interagency Task Force and Agriculture… Read More →