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Real Estate Law

RNN LAW > Real Estate Law

Help! I Owe Property Taxes on Inherited Property!

From time-to-time, clients will contact me because they owe property taxes on property that they did not even know they owned. Almost always, my client’s ownership arises from an inheritance they did not even know existed. Sometimes, the decedent is a fairly distant relative. Sometimes, the decedent is an estranged parent. Sometimes, it was just property that was forgotten over the generations. To many, this may seem like a “first-world” problem, and, to some extent, it is. However, the tax bill is real, the lawsuit is real, and the resulting foreclosure is real. Unfortunately, the value of the property is...

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My Contractor Didnt Pay the Subcontractor!

General contractors often use the money from the current job to pay for the last job. And, the current jobs completion is often tied to the contractors ability to get a future job. If the contractor has a slow month, then it is possible that subcontractors may try to enforce mechanics and materialman liens against the house. And, to many unsuspecting homeowners, these liens are often valid. If a homeowner receives a notice of the intention to enforce a lien against her house, then the homeowner should immediately contact an attorney. Time is of the essence. Further, the Texas Property Code...

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Estate Planning for Blended Families

Blended families are a common occurrence in Frisco, Texas. However, meeting a spouse of a blended family that has their estate planning complete is rather rare. That is a problem because when a spouse dies without a will, and s/he has children from a prior relationship, the laws of the State of Texas are rather cruel to the surviving spouse. For instance, if a husband enters a marriage with two children, never signs a will after becoming remarried, and then dies, his children will own half of the house with their stepmother, as well as one-half of the personal community property...

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Brokerless Real Estate Transactions

Brokerless real estate transactions (BRETs) are becoming more common in the residential real estate market, as well as, the commercial markets. What generally started as a means by which sellers could save on real estate commissions, has grown to include buyers streamlining the buying process and splitting the commission savings with the seller. In addition, buyers and sellers often find one another before the first open house, thus reducing the number of days on market. So, why has the BRET market grown so fast? Sites like Trulia and Zillow are important factors. Sellers are able to list their homes for free...

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Transfer on Death Deeds

In 2015, the Texas Legislature created a vital new estate planning tool, namely, the Transfer on Death Deed. The Transfer on Death Deed will serve an important role in future estate planning needs by lessening, and sometimes removing, the burden of probate. The Transfer on Death Deed is similar to an Enhanced Life Estate Deed, which is sometimes called a Lady Bird Deed. So, exactly what is a transfer on death deed? A transfer on death deed is an instrument that transfers interest in real property from the transferor to beneficiaries named within the deed upon the death of the transferor....

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Security Deposits, Normal Wear and Tear, and Deductions

As a real estate attorney, I often get calls from landlords and tenants about security deposits on move-out. From what I can tell, it is the most disputed aspect of any lease. The following is a typical story. The tenant resides in the premises for a year or two. Upon move-out, the tenant broom-cleans the premises, provides a forwarding address, and requests the security deposit. Somewhere around the thirtieth day following move-out, the tenant receives a letter from the landlord detailing how the security deposit was applied to make certain repairs and clean the premises. Sometimes the landlord returns a...

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What to Know about Lease Extensions

When preparing a residential lease agreement, most landlords will choose a fixed-term tenancy. Essentially all the residential leases attorneys draft have fixed-terms. However, landlords often get into a situation where the tenant needs two to three extra months before their next residence is ready. Often, landlords are cautious to extend for such a short period … especially if it disrupts the summer leasing schedule. Instead, landlords may decide to choose unique language in extending the lease. Landlords should be cautious, though, about extending residential leases using anything other than a fixed-term tenancy.  So that the landlord can get a better...

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Irrevocable Trust

An irrevocable trust is an instrument created by a person called a settlor and managed by a trustee for the benefit of beneficiaries. In Texas, the same person can hold multiple titles under the trust.  Unlike revocable living trusts, though, the trust is generally irrevocable. Irrevocable trusts are created much less often than revocable living trusts. They are primarily used as creditor protection tools. Other benefits include avoiding probate and the ease of succession to manage property after the settlor dies. Irrevocable trusts do not qualify for the exception to the due on sale clause on mortgages. This means that settlors must...

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Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is an instrument (i) created by a person, the Settlor or Trustor, (ii) managed by a  trustee (iii) for the benefit of the beneficiaries. In Texas, the same person can hold multiple titles under the trust.  Typically, revocable living trusts are revocable during the lifetime of the trustor(s). Revocable living trusts are popular estate planning tools because (i) the trustor retains control over the trust property during his lifetime; and (ii) the beneficiaries avoid the cost of probate after the death of the trustor. Also, revocable living trusts may allow for more effective management of the trust...

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