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Isn’t it time for lawyers to simplify, not complicate?

Probate

Peter Hall

The first step to understanding probate and estate planning involves two “truths” – 1. In Texas, probate is not a four-letter word and 2. You do not have to be wealthy to have an “estate.”

Probate is the first step in the process of dealing with the property and obligations of a loved one after they have passed away. The Texas probate process is efficient and comparatively inexpensive Compared with the process in some states, especially with a knowledgeable probate attorney there to guide you. To get started, first contact a probate lawyer to discuss the Texas probate process and alternatives to Probate under Texas Law.

Intestate Estates – An “Intestate estate” is simply where someone dies without a valid will. When this happens, handling assets and bills and determining who inherits property can be costly and difficult. There are several options families may consider when faced with this situation. The help of an experienced attorney is invaluable. Contact us for a free consultation and let us help you through this difficult time.

Will Probate – Probating a will is not difficult in Texas. However, making sure that everything is done and is done correctly is important to ensure that the process is completed without undue delay or expense.

Guardianships – if you have a loved one that is unable to care for himself due to physical and/or mental disabilities, you may need to consider a guardianship. However, Texas does recognize several options that can help avoid a guardianship. Navigating the guardianship process does not have to be difficult. A guardianship attorney can help you determine whether a guardianship is truly necessary, whether you are eligible to become a guardian, prepare the necessary documentation, and apply for the guardianship with the probate court.

Avoiding Probate – Commonly, people are bombarded with the idea that they need to avoid probate at all costs. Frankly, this is just not true. There are, however, ways to reduce the chances that probate becomes necessary.

In many states, but not necessarily in Texas, the probate process can be costly and time-consuming. This fact has led to the common misconception that probate is a four-letter word.
Even though probate in Texas is easy and uncomplicated, there are a couple of ways to potentially avoid probate. For example, Revocable Living Trust, Payable on death or rights of survivorship accounts, and Lady Bird deeds can help reduce the odds that formal probate is necessary. However – you must understand that there is never any guarantee that probate is avoidable. Anyone saying there is a sure-fire way to avoid probate is simply mistaken.

Estate Planning

Peter Hall

Estate Planning is not just for the wealthy. “Estate Planning” is a term that is frequently misinterpreted. The term really just means that you have made preparations for life’s uncertainties – both during and after your lifetime.

Estate Planning in Texas is more than just drafting a Will. It also involves documents such as a medical power of attorney, a physicians directive (living will), a durable power of attorney, and more. These documents affect decisions that occur during your lifetime, not just afterwards. Estate planning can include trusts and other mechanisms that are useful during your lifetime and beyond.

Documents to consider in any estate plan include:

Last Will and Testament - Wills in Texas are one of the most important components of every estate plan. Generally speaking, Wills in Texas name beneficiaries, name the executor, make specific bequests, describe how administration of the estate should occur, set up trusts, and name the guardian for minor children. Most importantly, a will sets out to whom you want your property to be distributed after you are gone. If you do not leave a valid will behind, you lose all control over how your property is divided among your loved ones.

Most wills are typed documents. A typed will requires at least 2 witnesses and a notary public. By contrast, a will that is completely in the Testator’s handwriting may also be valid. A handwritten will is called a “holographic” will. However, a will that is a mixture of typed text and handwritten text will face tremendous difficulty surviving a court’s scrutiny and will likely be invalid.

Trusts - A Living Trust (or inter vivos trust) is a trust created during your lifetime. Once created, the trust has a trustee that manages the trust assets. Most of the time, you retain the right to revoke your trust at any time. This is commonly called a “Revocable Living Trust” and can be revoked or amended at any time during your lifetime.

In most cases, a living trust should not be created merely to avoid probate; the trust creation and administration will often be more expensive and/or more burdensome than if the assets had just passed through the probate process through a will.

A living trust does have other advantages. First, many people do not want the whole world to know the size of the assets they own when they die. When assets pass through the probate process, anyone can find out the value of the estate. A living trust, however, can create privacy by preventing trust property from passing through the probate process.

There are many legal and financial factors to consider when choosing an estate planning tool. A living trust in Texas is recommended in some, but not all, clients’ situations. A dedicated trust attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of a living trust in your particular situation. Consider contacting a lawyer for a consultation to help you choose the best estate planning for your unique situation.

General Power of Attorney - A durable general power of attorney grants authority to someone you trust to conduct financial, real estate, and/or legal transactions on your behalf. The person you appoint will have the ability to manage your personal and financial affairs in the event you are unable to do so for yourself.

Medical Power of Attorney - With a Texas Medical Power of attorney, you can designate someone, such as your spouse or some other loved one, to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable in the future.

HIPAA Release - Hospitals are not allowed to share your medical records with anyone absent your consent. If you want a loved one to have access to your medical files, you need to give the health care provider authorization to share your file with others.

Declaration of Guardian - A Declaration of Guardian designates who you would prefer to be your guardian should you become unable to care for yourself anymore. There are two basic types of guardian: a guardian of the estate and a guardian of the person. A guardian of the estate has the power to make decisions regarding your property. The guardian of the person has the power to make personal decisions for you, such as where you will live.

Advance Directive (Living Will) - Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to communicate your preferences regarding end-of-life care ahead of time. For example, if you are in a vegetative state, you will not have the ability to communicate with your family about your wishes for medical treatment. This advance directive relieves a tremendous burden on your loved ones, who may fear that they will make a decision that you would not want.

Real Estate Transactions

Peter Hall

Whether you are buying your first home, selling property you no longer want, or are involved in a commercial property venture, proper real estate documentation is critical to protecting your rights and investments. New & Hall is associated with a Dallas based title company and can handle large or small real estate closing transactions. If you do not need the full services of a title company, we can also prepare simple deeds, loan agreements, real estate security documents, or just about anything else you might need. Frequently, we can draft documents on a fixed rate basis. Let us know how we can help you.

Deed of Trust - When someone purchases real estate, the seller signs a deed that transfers ownership. If the buyer borrows money, he must sign a legal document from the bank or other lender providing the loan for the property. Most states call the loan document a mortgage, but some states, including Texas, use a Deed of Trust. The purpose of the Deed of Trust is to secure the lender’s right to be repaid by the buyer. A Deed of Trust allows a lender to foreclose on the real property if the loan is not repaid. Sometimes people sell property and agree to accept payments from the buyer rather than involving a bank. Property sellers may also secure their right to repayment through a Deed of Trust.

Promissory Note – If you are financing the purchase or sale of property, you should have the repayment terms set out in writing so that there is no confusion. A promissory note sets out the monthly payment amount, the interest rate charged, the monthly due date for payments, and all other items that parties have agreed upon. Texas does not allow a verbal agreement when buying or selling real estate. Proper documentation is imperative to successful real estate transaction.

Deeds – There are several types of property deeds in Texas. Some transfer ownership of property immediately. For example, you may receive a General Warranty Deed or a more limited Special Warranty Deed. Others, like a Lady Bird Deed, transfer some rights to property now and more rights later.

Estate Litigation

Peter Hall

The events surrounding aging and the capacity of an adult and the death of a loved one can often be emotional and difficult to handle. Unfortunately, these otherwise tough times can be complicated by disagreements within the family. These disagreements frequently result in probate or guardianship litigation cases. When this happens, you need experienced representation to protect your rights.

Will Contests - In the vast majority of cases, a Decedent's Will is filed for probate and is administered without any conflict. However, in some cases, a dispute may arise over the person applying to be the executor, or the dispute may arise over the validity of the terms of the Will.

Guardianship Litigation - Any time a guardianship action is initiated, some level of controversy is likely to exist related to whether the incapacitated person is sufficiently unable to care for themselves that they need a guardian. Additionally, family members of the incapacitated person may disagree on who may be the most appropriate person to serve as guardian.

Outside General Counsel Services

Everett New

Every business needs legal counsel. Not all businesses should, or can, hire a full-time in-house counsel.

As a startup or entrepreneur, you will constantly be looking for legal guidance through all aspects of your business. For most, however, a full-time in-house counsel is cost prohibitive. That’s where New & Hall fits in. The most cost-effective way to manage the legal needs of your business is to have capable legal counsel you trust at your disposal. A strategic business partner providing proactive advice and oversight to help you achieve your goals.

Using our legal and business experience, New & Hall’s attorneys will guide you and your company through the numerous legal issues facing Texas businesses today – formation, contracts, vendors, licensing, regulation and compliance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, trademark, intellectual property, management decisions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, competition, and financing. New & Hall can provide counsel to your board of directors, managers, executive officers, and other senior management. As outside General Counsel, we serve as a trusted set of ears for your most delicate issues. We are a sounding board and strategic guide for the owners and executives in charge of your business. Should your needs go beyond our areas of expertise, we can coordinate with trusted outside firms, and bring them up to speed on the matters at hand.

With flat-rate, graduated, and hourly fee options, New & Hall PLLC assures your business will get expert, actionable solutions to legal problems, all for less than the cost of a typical office secretary.

Business Formation

Everett New

Structure or restructure your business. Protect you, your family, and your assets from liability. Attract investors. Adopt dynamic operating agreements that give you the flexibility to meet the demands on your business.

New & Hall PLLC can help you select the best structure for your business – for today and for the future. Our quick turnaround formation packages offer everything needed to give you a successful legal start so you can concentrate on what matters most – chasing your dreams. Our attorneys will meet with you face-to-face, and then take care of the details: such as state filings, fully customized internal operating documents, trademark search and filing, EIN. And, after formation, we will help you understand how those documents guide your business in the years to come.

New & Hall also offers solutions for when your business needs to adapt to new demands – adding owners, raising capital, angel investors, growth, acquisitions, divestitures, succession planning. Not only can we form your business, we can also help with forming a new corporate structure for your business to sustain the long-term growth your company has planned.

We can help you with the following transactions and more:
• Corporation, LLC, Partnership, LP, LLP
• Company/Operating Agreements
• Convertible Notes
• Articles and Bylaws
• Joint Ventures
• Assumed Name registrations
• Trademark Search and Registration

Business / Commercial Transactions

Everett New

A well-written contract can make the difference between successful business deals and transactions plagued with disagreements, ambiguities, and misunderstandings. A contract is the backbone of every business relationship. When a contract is unrealistic, unclear, vague, self-conflicting, incomplete, or otherwise flawed, it becomes all too easy for the business relationship to fall apart, along with the plans you meant to accomplish.

The parties to a business relationship ultimately look to the contract to determine their rights, obligations and remedies during the course of their business relationship. Hall & New uses its experience and expertise to create contracts that accurately reflect the parties' agreement and protect your interests.

New & Hall is the advocate you want in your corner during the negotiations of those contracts. We can advise you from the moment you first conceive of an arrangement that needs to be documented to the moment the parties sign the final agreement. With more than 20 years of combined business experience before becoming attorneys, and more than 25 years of combined legal experience, New & Hall have the negotiation and drafting expertise you need to help with:
• General Contractual Agreements
• Buy-Sell Agreements
• Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA)
• Strategic Acquisitions
• Separation Agreements
• IP Licensing
• Contractor/ Subcontractor Agreements
• Memorandums of Understanding (MOU)
• Settlements and releases

Entertainment Law

Everett New

Entertainment Law in Dallas, Texas?

Yes, really.

New & Hall PLLC understand the unique needs of the creative community. We represent musicians, artists, actors, performers, dancers, magicians, social media influencers, production companies, video companies, producers, directors, publicists, publishers, and authors. At every step of the process, having New & Hall PLLC on your side to protect your creation and your interests can make all the difference.

Our services include transactional and litigation representation for individuals, groups, and companies alike, including:
• Publishing agreements
• Licensing agreements
• Asset/creation protection structures
• Management agreements
• Recording contracts
• Releases
• Copyright registration
• Distribution agreements
• Endorsement deals
• Security agreements
• Synchronization contracts
• Royalty agreements
• Production agreements

No matter what aspect of entertainment you fall into, New & Hall PLLC is prepared to assist you with your legal needs throughout the industry.

Litigation

Everett New

New & Hall PLLC knows litigation. We represent businesses and individuals to pursue and prosecute their claims, and to protect themselves when sued. In state court and federal court, we will be your champion.

Whether it is a shareholder suit, partnership dispute, trademark infringement, breach of contract, fraud, fiduciary duty, business dissolution, negligence, defamation, non-competition enforcement, general business litigation, or any other lawsuit, having a lawyer on your side that is well versed in the practice of business litigation is the best decision you can make. New & Hall are well prepared to advocate on your behalf in court, at mediation, or in arbitration. Whatever the forum, we will work hard to accomplish the results you deserve.