Whether you have a will or not, your property will still go through the probate court system. A Transfer on Death Deed conveys property outside of probate, allowing for you to avoid incurring court costs. Also, it excludes real property from Medicaid estate recovery.
Texas Law Help Question & Answer Bank
For individuals age 55 or older, states are required by the federal government to seek recovery of payments from the individual’s estate for nursing facility services, in-home care, and related hospital and drug services. A simple will goes through probate and subjects property to being taken by Medicaid estate recovery. Under current law, property passed on by a Transfer on Death Deed is exempted from Medicaid estate recovery.
The Transfer on Death Deed does not replace a will. The will may still remain an important part of your estate plan especially if you have special bequests or a large amount of personal property. A Transfer on Death Dead covers only real property, like land and improvements, and conveys property outside of probate which allows you to avoid court costs. It is best if your will and transfer on Death Deed are consistent as to who receives your home and land. If your will and Transfer on Death Deed are inconsistent, the person named in the Transfer on Death Deed, not your will, will own your property after your death.
Real property includes land, improvements (including house), uncut timber, and mineral rights. Personal property includes things that are not attached to the land and can be easily removed. Personal property cannot be disposed of with a Transfer on Death Deed
- If your heirs can decide on who gets furniture, jewelry, clothing, etc., then the courts do not have to be involved with deciding who gets possession of those items.
- If you have stocks or mutual funds, all of the investment houses will allow you to name a beneficiary to receive those investments without going through the courts.
- Similarly, if you have a savings or checking account, you should make sure that it is either a joint account where a surviving heir has access to make deposits and withdrawals during your lifetime, or that it is a POD or “payable on death” account, where you designate a beneficiary who will obtain ownership of the account when you pass away outside of the court system.
Yes, the Transfer on Death Deed may be revoked or canceled in several ways. The deed is considered revoked if you record a new Transfer on Death Deed, or if you record a cancellation of Transfer on Death Deed. A divorce decree will also invalidate a deed with respect to a spouse beneficiary.
Oftentimes, people automatically go to their tax records when asked to obtain a legal description of their property. A legal property description should ALWAYS be obtained from an existing deed, and NOT tax records as these are oftentimes incomplete or inaccurate and can cause an otherwise properly filled out Deed to become null and void.
Many people mistakenly believe that just because you are married in Texas and you own property together, that the surviving spouse automatically inherits the entire property. This is not the case. If you have a will, it will have to be probated in court to transfer the title. An alternative option is a Transfer on Death Dead to transfer the property to your spouse.
It can be a mistake to put off filing a Transfer on Death Dead, especially if you are in poor health. Unfortunately once a person has passed, or is deemed incompetent, a Transfer on Death Dead is no longer an option. A power of attorney can NOT be used to execute a Transfer on Death Dead for another person. It is beneficial for Texas landowners to have a Transfer on Death Dead drafted and filed as soon as possible.
If you have a problem with any electric provider you should contact the electric provider first and ask them to fix it.
If you get an answer that you do not like from the customer service line, ask to speak to a supervisor. A supervisory review is a step in the PUC customer complaint procedure. Supervisors should be more knowledgeable about rules and regulations. Supervisors also have the discretion to make decisions that the people answering the phones do not have. If your problem is not fixed through the customer service network file a complaint.
If you live in a disaster area declared by the President and need disaster help, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (hearing/speech impaired ONLY—call TTY: 1-800-462-7585) or apply online at www.disasterassistance.gov. Click on “Apply Online” and the screens will prompt you through the process. If you get a busy signal when you call the 800 number, try calling in the evening after 10:00 p.m. or on the weekends when fewer people are trying to call. You may now also apply to https://www.fema.gov/ on your smart phone/mobile device.
When you apply, you should have a pen and paper available to write down important phone contacts. You will need your Social Security number, current and pre-disaster address, phone numbers, type of insurance coverage, total household annual income, a routing and account number from your bank if you want to have disaster assistance funds transferred directly into your bank account, and a description of your losses caused by the disaster.
If you have damage to your home or its contents and you are uninsured or you have suffered damage due to a flood, a FEMA inspector will contact you within 10 to 14 days of applying to set up an appointment to assess you disaster damages. Typically, within about 10 days after the inspection, if FEMA determines that you qualify for help, you will receive a direct deposit into your bank account or a check in the mail.
Most disaster aid programs are intended to meet only essential needs and are not intended to cover all your losses. Also, some people qualify for assistance from more than one program, and may receive additional help from another agency. For example, the Small Business Administration is a very important source of funding for repair and replacement of real and personal property. If you received a loan application packet from the SBA, please complete and return the application as soon as possible. No work can begin on the loan until you submit your application. If you do not agree with FEMA’s decision, you may appeal the decision. To file an appeal, follow the appeals process that is explained in your letter from FEMA.
To be eligible for cash assistance from FEMA you must be a qualified alien. A qualified alien generally includes individuals who are lawful permanent residents (possessing an alien registration receipt card) or those with legal status due to asylum, refugee, parole (admission into the U.S. for humanitarian purposes), withholding of deportation, or domestic violence. Applicants should consult an immigration expert concerning whether or not their immigration status falls within the qualified alien category.
By law, FEMA cannot give you money for items that your insurance covers, (this would be considered a duplication of benefits), but FEMA may be able to help with uncompensated losses or unmet needs not covered by your insurance company. If you have not already contacted your insurance agent to file a claim, please do this as soon as possible. If you do not file a claim with your insurance company, FEMA help may be limited. If your insurance company tells you that your deductible is greater than the amount of damage found, please request a letter from the insurance company, on company letterhead, and send it to FEMA, along with your application for assistance.
Yes. If damages to a public road or bridge prevents or restricts you from accessing your home, FEMA may be able to provide assistance.(http://www.fema.gov/faq-details/Road-and-Bridge-Damages/).
The SBA can loan money to homeowners, renters, and business owners. Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 for disaster-related home repairs. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace disaster-damaged personal property including vehicles. The SBA may not duplicate benefits from your insurance or FEMA. You may receive an SBA referral when you apply with FEMA. If the applicant does not qualify for a low-interest SBA loan, FEMA may be able to offer them additional disaster grants that help reimburse for lost personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
In most cases, the current price at the pump is not due to price gouging. However, the Texas Attorney General is prepared to act quickly if gas prices in a Governor-declared disaster area spike beyond what the normal market forces set. If you find price gouging, contact the Attorney General’s office.
Many homeowners’ insurance policies cover debris removal. FEMA does not typically pay for cleaning up debris on private property or in gated communities, but if the debris is keeping you or emergency workers from safely getting to your home, FEMA may be able to provide help. Your local officials can also tell you if there is a pickup schedule for debris in your area.
FEMA may provide assistance for debris removal from private property if it will:
- Eliminate immediate threats to life, public health, and safety; or
- Eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to improved public or private property; or
- Ensure economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community-at-large.
Yes. The best place to start is http://www.fema.gov or http://www.fema.gov/help-after-disaster. There you can download a booklet called “Help After a Disaster: Applicant’s Guide to the Individuals and Households Program.” If you have already applied to FEMA, you should have received the same booklet in the mail. This is a very useful publication that explains how FEMA’s disaster assistance program works; describes additional kinds of help you may qualify for from other Federal, State and voluntary agencies; and gives you many important tips on how to best make all these programs work for you.
If the tree was healthy before the disaster and the storm’s high winds caused the tree to fall over and damage your property, then you cannot hold your neighbor liable. This was an “Act of God.” However, if the tree was decayed, diseased, dead, or in an otherwise dangerous condition before the disaster, then you can hold him liable for damages. In this case, your neighbor was negligent in maintaining the tree. In that case, the tree would have posed an unreasonable risk of harm and your neighbor would have had a duty to trim the branches or remove the tree before the storm to prevent it from falling over. “It is established in our law that damages resulting from an act of God are not ordinarily chargeable to anyone. However, for a defendant to be relieved of liability for an unprecedented flood, there must be no negligence on his part concurring with the acts of God to cause the damage.”Luther Transfer & Storage, Inc. v. Walton, 296 S.W.2d 750, 753-754 (Tex. 1957) and cases cited therein; Hutchings v. Anderson, 452 S.W.2d 10, 15 (Tex. Civ. App. 1970). Home insurance should cover this type of damage.
The fence between two properties is on either your property or your neighbor’s property; it cannot be on both properties. Consequently, unless there are certain deed restrictions mandating fences to be erected and which spell out responsibilities among neighbors, you are not obligated to fix the fence between your and your neighbor’s property. Nor can you compel your neighbor to fix the fence. If the fence was originally installed on your neighbor’s property but fell on to your property as a result of the storm, you can remove the fence from your property just in the same way you can move trees and limbs.
If the fence is on the boundary line between both properties, both property owners own the fence if they both use it, and thus would share the cost of repairing/replacing the fence. Every state interprets “use” differently, but there are three main definitions:
- Occupancy – use of the land up to the fence.
- “Join” for use – the attachment of another fence to the boundary fence.
- Entire enclosure – the property owner’s entire property is enclosed by the attachment of other fencing to the boundary fence.
Most state laws or local ordinances place responsibility for the maintenance of the boundary fences on the owners that use the fence unless an agreement indicates otherwise.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy (sometimes called a “casualty insurance policy,” “hazard insurance policy,” or “fire and extended coverage policy”) normally does not cover flood damage. The policy may cover water damage inside the home from direct or blowing rainfall, but it normally does not cover damage from surface water or rising water. Windstorm insurance normally will be limited to greater-than-normal wind conditions, such as from a disaster. You should carefully read your policy, talk to your insurance agent, and consult an attorney if you have questions.
Flood insurance may be purchased from the federal government under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You can buy policies from any state-licensed local agent if your community is participating in the NFIP. There is usually a 30-day grace period after purchasing flood coverage until it goes into effect. Visit http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/272?id=1404 for information and Frequently Asked Questions.
Most home loan documents require the homeowner to make mortgage payments even after a disaster—even if the house is damaged and the owner can’t live in it. However, many lenders will allow the owner to delay mortgage payments for several months after a disaster (although interest may continue to be added). Many lenders will make loan modifications to allow the missed payments to be added to the loan, thereby lengthening the term of the mortgage. The borrower needs to communicate with their lender and tell the lender about the specifics of his or her circumstances. The lenders will nearly always work with their customers. If the FHA guarantees the mortgage, there are special provisions after a disaster, such as those above.