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Law Office of Todd A. Wilson > Articles posted by Todd Wilson (Page 2)

Estate Tax Exemptions Set to Drop by 50% in 2026: Are You Ready?

Estate Tax Exemptions to Drop by 50% in 2026: Are You Ready? | Austin Estate Planning Attorney

Many More People Will Owe Estate Taxes Upon Death Without Appropriate Planning

Your estate plan may not be as buttoned up or airtight as you think. In fact, it could be vulnerable to greater estate tax liabilities than you thought IF you planned around certain exemptions that are set to expire in 2026. 

Those sunsetting laws will drastically change federal estate tax exemptions if no new legislation is passed between now and Jan. 1, 2026. 

Is your estate plan ready for these changes? 

Do you need to devise or revise an estate plan now in anticipation of the expiring estate tax exemptions?

Let’s start answering those questions by looking at:   

Community v. Separate Property in Texas Probate & Estate Planning

Community v Separate Property in Texas Probate

When a Spouse Dies in TX, Here’s What Happens to Community v. Separate Property

Widows and widowers in Texas don’t necessarily inherit everything when their spouse passes away. In fact, surviving spouses may — or may not — be legally entitled to various assets, depending on the nature of the community versus separate property, whether the deceased spouse left behind a valid will, and other factors. 

While that can raise some complex and challenging issues in and outside of Texas probate, it doesn’t have to be confusing, especially for those who understand the following:


3 Ways to Force Estate Distributions in Texas

3 Ways to Force Estate Distributions in Texas - Austin Probate Attorney

When It’s Time to Force a Distribution from an Estate in TX, Here’s What You Need to Do

Probate and inheritance can raise thorny issues, especially when assets enter the picture and interested parties disagree on the next steps. In fact, although probate is the process of validating the will and distributing the assets of the estate, those involved in the process can have some very earnest and imperative reasons to seek partial distributions from an estate before the process is over. 

Here’s why, with a closer look at: 

Wills Gone Wild: The Shocks & Surprises from 7 Astonishing Estates

Wills Gone Wild: The Shocks & Surprises from 7 Astonishing Estates | Austin Wills, Probate & Estate Planning Lawyer

Here’s What We Can Learn from Some of History’s Wildest Wills & the Battles That Ensued

Wills and last wishes can be as complex and unique as the people behind them. That can lead to some strange terms, bizarre requests, and even forgotten provisions in wills. It can also give rise to will contests, heated fights in probate court, and prolonged litigation. 

While that can happen with both modest and larger estates, the wills of some rich and famous folks truly take the cake when it comes to peculiar provisions, shocking requests, and the nearly unbelievable events they’ve unleashed.

Let’s find out what’s behind some of the most unusual wills on record and what’s come of them.

Grounds for Challenging a Will in Texas: What, When, Why & How

6 Grounds for Challenging Wills in Texas - Austin Estate Planning Lawyer

Find Out What It Takes to Contest a Will in Texas & What to Anticipate If You Do

Will contests can raise critical questions about how a will was created, executed, or revised potentially sparking some fiery conflicts in Texas probate courts. While challenging a will can be prudent in certain situations, it is not a recourse for beneficiaries to fight inheritances with which they simply disagree. 

Instead, contesting a will is a serious action that has its own procedures, deadlines, and potential risks. There are also very specific grounds for challenging wills in Texas, and it can take some meticulous work to establish those grounds in court — or to prove them as specious — depending on the circumstances.

Joint vs. Contractual Wills in Texas: How Best Laid Plans Can Go Awry

Joint Wills vs. Contractual Wills in Texas | Austin Estate Planning Lawyer

When & Why Contractual Wills Are Used & How to Protect Your Interests as a Testator or Heir

Joint wills have been used for decades as a way for two parties to share one will when they have the same vision for their estate, fully agreeing on how to distribute their property. Better suited for simple estates with minimal beneficiaries, joint wills tend to come into play with spouses, domestic partners, and family members, particularly those looking for a seemingly easy way to simplify an estate plan and memorialize their wishes in a single document.

As straightforward as joint wills may appear on paper, the reality is they may not be the most prudent option for achieving testators’ shared objectives. In fact, with joint and contractual wills in Texas, specific limitations and distinct challenges can arise when it’s time to administer the will and enforce its terms. That can open up some disadvantages and unforeseen obstacles, some of which can spark contentious disputes in the future. 

Foreclosure Sales: Buyers Can Be Required to Forfeit Property Even Years After Purchase

reclosures, Property Sales & Estate Administration in Texas | Austin Estate Planning Lawyer

Buyers, Beware of Purchasing a Decedent’s Foreclosed Property. Here’s Why.

Foreclosures and property sales typically attract real estate investors hunting for bargain basement prices. That’s no secret. However, there may be hidden risks involved in these transactions when the property owner has recently passed away. 

In fact, when it comes to foreclosures on a decedent’s property in the Lone Star State, Texas Estates Code and case law set forth some distinct rules regarding when: 

  • The foreclosure could be rendered voidable.
  • The sale of the foreclosed property could be superseded and reversed via the administration of an estate.
  • The buyer of the foreclosed property could lose out, despite making a good-faith purchase. 

Would Ron Swanson’s Will Be Valid Under Texas Law?

Would Ron Swanson’s Will Be Valid Under Texas Law? | Austin Estate Planning Attorney | TAW Law TX

Testing the Simplicity of Wills, Ron Swanson’s Will Also Puts Texas Estate Law to the Test

Wills are complicated legal documents that should be carefully crafted with several terms and many details that cover at least a couple of pages — right

Nope, that’s ALL wrong in the eyes of Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson, the rugged, ultra-masculine libertarian character who is all about simplicity and small government.

In fact, Ron breaks out his will in one episode to hilarious effect because it’s a one-sentence, handwritten will that he wrote when he was 8 years old.

Comedy and fiction aside, could Ron Swanson’s will really hold up in a Texas court today?

What issues would it raise and how would those be resolved?

Cryptocurrency & Blockchains in Estate Planning

Crypto & Blockchains in Estate Planning | Austin Estate Planning Lawyer

Key Considerations & Strategies for Digital Currency in Texas Estate Planning

Digital assets, like cryptocurrency, have proliferated wildly over the past decade or so, presenting exciting, yet risky, investing opportunities while raising complex new legal issues, particularly in the area of estate law. 

From tax liabilities and fiduciary responsibilities to accessibility and asset administration, digital currency requires unique considerations and prudent strategies to ensure its proper treatment in estate planning and administration in Texas.

Unpacking these intricate issues, this guide to cryptocurrency and blockchains in estate planning covers:

A Guide to Real Estate Privacy Trusts

Real Estate Privacy Trusts | Austin Trusts Lawyer | Law Office of Todd A. Wilson

How to Maintain Privacy & Protect Your Interests When You Own Property in Texas

Real estate privacy trusts (REPTs) can mask the individuals and businesses behind property transactions and real estate ownership in Texas, providing a powerful solution for maintaining anonymity in searchable, public records. Beyond the rich and famous, several parties can benefit from the privacy — and other advantages — provided by REPTs. 

Todd Wilson Attny answers questions about Privacy Trusts

To help you determine if this estate planning tool is right for you and your needs, this guide breaks down some key definitions, issues, benefits, and more, including: