Category Archives: Estate Planning

May 1, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy May Day to all!  I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Here are some of the biggest ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *Navigable Waters Protection Rule is published.  The WOTUS saga continues.  The Trump administration’s definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, newly named “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” was published in the Federal Register on April 21.  I’ll have a blog post discussing the details soon, but for now if you want to read… Read More →

April 17, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Hello again from the Lashmet household.  I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.  Here are a few ag law stories in the news the past two weeks. *COVID-19 legislation and ag producers.  There have been a number of programs created by Congress in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The National Agricultural Law Center has created a website with great resources and frequently asked questions.  This is a perfect place to start diving into the details, determine how these programs may impact you, and look for information… Read More →

Common Alternatives to Probate in Texas

When people hear talk of the probate process, they may cringe and have an idea that probating a will or going through an estate administration if someone dies intestate (without a will) should be avoided at any cost.  Fortunately for those of us who live in Texas, the probate process is not nearly as onerous as it may be in other states.  Thus, while there may be situations to seek out an alternative to the probate process, it is certainly not a goal that exists for every estate. … Read More →

April 3, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Here is a list of some of the recent agricultural law stories in the news. *Montana Court upholds constitutionality of beef checkoff.  The biggest story of the last couple of weeks was a trial court ruling in the beef checkoff litigation.  The United States District Court for the District of Montana found in favor of USDA and the Montana Beef Council, holding that the advertising and promotional speech of the Montana Beef Council (and similar organizations in 14 other states) constituted government speech given USDA oversight.  Thus, the… Read More →

Case Illustrates Law Regarding Challenge to Testamentary Capacity

A recent case illustrates the law related to testamentary capacity and shows the kind of testimony that is relevant in cases where a challenge to capacity occurs. Background Ava Mahaffey signed a will and a self-proving affidavit on October 25, 2016.  The will was witnessed by Morgan Wayne Dale and Elizabeth Jesko, the attorney who drafted the will.  The affidavit was notarized by Jesko’s assistant. The will made bequests to three of Mahaffey’s sister, but excluded the fourth sister, Ms. Crosswhite.  The residuary clause left Mahaffey’s residual estate… Read More →

February 28, 2020 Weekly Round Up

As usual, there have been a number of ag law stories in the news the past couple of weeks.  Here’s this week’s round up. *USDA delays enforcement of two major portions of hemp Interim Final Rule.  This week, the USDA announced that it will temporarily delay enforcement of two provisions of the Interim Final Rule on hemp production until October 31, 2021 or the publication of the Final Rule, whichever is earlier.  First, the DEA will delay enforcing the requirement that THC testing must be conducted at DEA… Read More →

February 14, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. *USDA unveils two new risk management options for hemp producers.  For producers considering hemp production, there are now three potential risk management tools available.  Nationwide, producers will be able to enroll in the Whole Farm Revenue Protection program or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) program. In 21 states, producers may take part in a multi-peril crop insurance pilot program.  Texas is not one of the states where this is available…. Read More →

Do You Have a Flight Plan?

What on earth is a flight plan and why do people need one?  The name is derived from the song “I’ll fly away.”  You know the one… “I’ll fly away, oh, glory, I’ll fly away. When I die, hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away.” A flight plan is simply a folder that contains important documents, key information that heirs may need to access upon someone’s death, hospitalization, or other incapacitation.  Taking the time to gather up important documents and critical information is one of the best gifts… Read More →

January 24, 2020 Weekly Round Up

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in agricultural law.  It has also been busy for my speaking schedule!  Welcome to those of you joining from my programs in Palestine, Carthage, Amarillo, Lubbock, and Floydata. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news. *TDA published proposed Texas hemp regulation.  The Texas Department of Agriculture has published its proposed Texas hemp regulation.  [View proposed regulation here.]  Importantly, this is not a final regulation as it has not yet been adopted by TDA.  On January 22, a… Read More →

Will Dispute Arises Over Definition of “Personal Effects”

A recent case involving a will devising “personal effects” to a family member is a good reminder of the need to be detailed and complete when drafting a will, and the importance of residuary clauses. Background In 1990, Mildred Ethridge drafted a will that included the following provisions: I, MILDRED L. ETHRIDGE, (femme sole) of Midland County, Texas, for the purpose of the distribution of my entire estate, real, personal and mixed, which I wish to have take effect at my death, do make, publish and declare this… Read More →