Leading by Example and Estate Planning

Posted by on Oct 21, 2016 in Estate Planning | 0 comments

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“THE LEGAL CORNER”

By Sam A. Moak

Leading by Example and Estate Planning

The information in this column is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of the law. Any readers with a legal problem, including those whose questions are addressed here, should consult an attorney for advice on their particular circumstances.

In the past year and a half far too many of my friends have lost young adult children. The loss of a child is hard enough, but the legal mess it can leave only makes matters worse.

Reflecting upon something I learned from my father as a young adult, (and did not appreciate as a young adult, but do now) made me realize he led by example. When I graduated Texas A&M and began my first real job, Pop had me sign a Will, Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney. It didn’t seem necessary at the time. After all, my entire worldly possessions consisted of a ‘67 Ford Mustang, ‘72 Jeep, some old furniture (retired from the Alpha Delta Pi house at SHSU), lots of posters and a bunch of junk accumulated from trips in college. However, it’s never too early to start estate planning. I was going to be working out of state and, if an accident occurred, those instruments put someone in charge while I might not be able to handle things.

Whether or not you already have a family, getting your personal affairs in order is a must. None of us know what life has in store for us. Fortunately, I survived my 20’s, but the losses I have witnessed my friends and clients experience have taught me, the sooner you start planning, the more prepared you will be for life’s unexpected twists and turns.

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Estate Planning for the Nontraditional Family

Posted by on Oct 15, 2016 in Estate Planning, Uncategorized | 0 comments

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“THE LEGAL CORNER”

By Sam A. Moak

Estate Planning for the Nontraditional Family

The information in this column is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of the law. Any readers with a legal problem, including those whose questions are addressed here, should consult an attorney for advice on their particular circumstances.

We have moved along way in 16 years, and whether you agree with them or not, it is becoming increasingly common in the United States to encounter a group of people who reside in the same household, but who are not part of what might be considered a “traditional family.” The Census Bureau estimates a tenfold increase in the number of unmarried partners’ households since 1970, and this figure does not account for gay and lesbian couples.

In this article, the term “nontraditional family” encompasses the following family groups: (1) unmarried adults who are opposite sex partners, (2) unmarried adults who are same sex partners, and (3) single parents and adults with children, whether minor or adult children. To a great extent, each of these types of “nontraditional families” share similar characteristics for income and transfer tax issues. In addition to the similarities, there are issues which are unique to same sex couples. I will attempt to highlight some of these areas this week.

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What is Philanthropy?

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Estate Planning | 0 comments

“THE LEGAL CORNER”
By Sam A. Moak

What is Philanthropy?

The information in this column is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of the law. Any readers with a legal problem, including those whose questions are addressed here, should consult an attorney for advice on their particular circumstances.

As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, “philanthropy”is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. While most of us may give to charity on a regular basis, many of us do so spur-of-the moment or when we feel we have a little extra money to give. Philanthropy allows a person or groups of people to give to charitable organizations consistently over a long time period. Philanthropy does not mean you have to give money, there are many opportunities to give your time or expertise to a charitable endeavor.

For example, earlier this week the Item ran a story on Huntsville Independent School District seeking volunteers. I strongly urge you to do so, you will find it may change a child’s life and is rewarding. However, this week’s column is on different ways you can financially be philanthropic.

Some of the largest philanthropies have existed for decades and are large enough to provide an endowment of giving to last in perpetuity. While you can give your own money to such large philanthropies to benefit your favorite charities, it’s not necessary to do so. In fact, you can begin your own philanthropic legacy for as little as $5,000. You may say “Sam, I can’t afford that,” but please read on because you or a group may be able to do more than you believe possible as I explain different types of philanthropies.

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Welcome Angela Shimek Valis to The Firm

Posted by on Jul 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

We are pleased to announce the addition of Angela Shimek Valis to our firm as an associate attorney.

Mrs. Valis comes to us from Gonzales Texas where she was a partner in the firm of Reese, Escobar, Valis & Symms, LLP.
She is married to Garrett Valis who coaches at Sam Houston State University girls softball.

Mrs. Valis is a native of Shiner, Texas. She attended Texas A&M University where she attained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication, graduating magna cum laude with both University Honors and Foundation Honors. After leaving Aggieland, Angela earned her Juris Doctorate at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas.

While at St. Marys, Angela was Editor-In-Chief of The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Minority Issues. Upon graduation from law school, she received the “Law Student of the Year Award” from the National Association for Women Lawyers.

Angela has experience in Real Estate, Trademarks, e-Discovery, Business Organizations, Wills & Estate Planning, Probate, and Oil & Gas.

Please help us in welcoming Angela to our practice.

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Worries of the Sandwich Generation

Posted by on Jul 1, 2016 in Estate Planning, Uncategorized | 0 comments

THE LEGAL CORNER

By Sam A. Moak

Worries of the Sandwich Generation

The information in this column is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of the law. Any readers with a legal problem, including those whose questions are addressed here, should consult an attorney for advice on their particular circumstances.

The Sandwich Generation is getting worried. Who are they? Adults stuck between young children and older parents, both of them requiring the adult’s supervision and/or financial care.

What are they worried about? Well, a lot of things, but in specific: how to pay for their parents’ medical care now while also planning for their own future long-term care costs. (Not to mention taking care of the little kids too.) According to a new Associated Press poll, nearly 10% of adults age 40 or older are currently supporting at least one child while also providing regular care for an older relative. In other words, they’re “sandwiched.” Understandably, that gives rise to financial fretting.

Unfortunately, the worrying doesn’t seem to translate to action. The same poll finds that 54% of those sandwiched Americans have done “little or no planning.” Worrying but not planning is a recipe for unhappiness and misfortune. Proactive measures are surprisingly easy to take, and they can afford you tremendous peace of mind — not to mention a better forecast for the future. So why not make those next steps? Or at least look into them?

You might say, “Sam, we don’t have kids.” Procrastination is common across all walks of life, but studies show that those without children are the most likely to postpone planning for the future. That’s curious, given that providing for one’s progeny accounts for only one small part of a comprehensive estate plan.

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