Cloudy title, heirship property, and hurricanes

September 6th, 2017

After Hurricane Katrina, 20,000 people with claims to heirship property with “cloudy” title faced difficulty getting government aid to rebuild, because they couldn’t prove they owned their homes. What is heirship property and cloudy title? If someone dies without a will and if a deed to his or her property does not expressly include joint […]

Why is Texas a community property state?

March 7th, 2017

Many know that Texas divorce courts split the marital estate, usually half to each spouse, but few ask “Why is Texas a community property state?” Ten states and one U.S. territory recognize community property: Louisiana, Arizona, California, Texas, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, and Wisconsin. Five types of community property (CP) law The Visigothic code […]

Probate Law, a Will Bequest, and The Woman in Gold

February 28th, 2017

When drafting your will, make sure you are making a “will bequest,” not a mere “request.” Adele Bloch-Bauer sat for Gustav Klimt in two portraits (one in 1907, the other in 1912) and was the only model painted twice by Klimt. When Adele died in 1925, she and her husband, Ferdinand, owned six Klimt paintings: the […]

A Public Example of What Can Happen if You Die Without a Will

February 14th, 2017

Die with a will and your wishes should be carried out. Die without a will and state law takes over, regardless of what you might have intended. When you die without a valid will, which is referred to as dying “intestate,” a probate court takes over the handling of your estate. The probate court appoints […]

The Super Bowl and betting: Did you break the law this weekend?

February 7th, 2017

Were you betting on the Super Bowl’s outcome? Unless you placed your bet with a licensed Nevada bookmaker, you have violated a federal statute. Over 111.3. million people watched the Super Bowl this past Sunday. I’m sure that a large number of those viewers also made some sort of wager on the outcome of the […]

Divorce in Movies: Kramer vs. Kramer

January 30th, 2017

Released in 1979, the movie Kramer vs. Kramer is a cultural benchmark, a snapshot of the fractured American family, and a must-see for anyone interested in family law. Ted Kramer is a successful guy who is speeding his way to the top at his advertising agency. When the movie begins, Ted has just been handed […]

No-fault divorce: What is it?

January 23rd, 2017

A Texas state representative has again submitted a bill in the 2017 legislative session that would strike “insupportability,” or “no fault,” as grounds for divorce. Under the bill, because a no-fault divorce would not be available, a couple who wants to dissolve their marriage peacefully will have to live separately for 3 years before filing […]

What does “admitted to the bar” actually mean?

January 17th, 2017

When I was in law school, I knew I that to practice law I had to be admitted to the bar. It wasn’t until about two years into law school that I got a visual demonstration of what that admittance really meant. In 2008, HBO released the miniseries John Adams. The award-winning seven-episode biopic of […]

Strange Lawsuit #1

April 15th, 2015

Recently in Dusseldorf, Germany, a former tenant sued his landlord for a full refund of his security deposit, which had been partially withheld because the marble floor of the apartment’s bathroom had been damaged by uric acid, presumably from the errant urine of an upright person relieving himself. There has been a long-running debate in […]

Grandparent Visitation: In Texas, Can a Grandparent Sue for Access to a Grandchild?

February 3rd, 2015

It can be very difficult for a grandparent to get visitation rights to a grandchild. In 2000, the United States Supreme Court held that a parent has a fundamental right to decide who has access to a child. Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000). This case established the Troxel “fit parent” presumption. In Texas, […]