Category Archives: Estate Planning

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 →

December 6, 2019 Weekly Round Up

Happy December!  It’s hard to believe we are already into the last month of the year.  I’ve presented in several locations recently, so welcome to all of you joining us from Val Verde County, Swisher County, and Goliad County. Here are a few of the top ag law stories in the news from the past couple of weeks. * Texas High Plains agriculture publications released.  Several of my colleagues were involved in drafting and publishing two new publications: The Impact of AgriBusiness in the High Plains Trade Area and… Read More →

Enhanced Life Estate Deeds (aka Lady Bird Deeds)

We recently discussed Transfer on Death Deeds in Texas.  If you missed that blog post, click here. Today, we will turn our attention to enhanced life estate deeds, also known as “Lady Bird Deeds.”  Unlike Transfer on Death Deeds, Lady Bird Deeds (“LBD”) are not a statutory creation, meaning there are no set statutory guidelines regarding these documents.  Instead, it is Texas case law that governs the interpretation of LBDs, and there are actually very few cases on this topic. What is a LBD?  A LBD is a deed… Read More →

Transfer on Death Deeds

In 2015, the Texas Legislature created statutory guidelines for “Transfer on Death Deeds” in Texas.   The “Texas Real Property Transfer on Death Act” provides the requirements for using a transfer on death deed (“TODD”) in Texas.  Importantly, these statutory requirements apply only to a deed executed on or after September 1, 2015 by a transferor who died on or after September 1, 2015.  Any deeds attempting to directly transfer real property at death prior to that date may be effective, but will not be governed by the provisions… Read More →