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Overhaul of probate law proposed

Tony Plohetski (tplohetski@statesman.com; 512-445-3605) December 21, 2006 Austin American-Statesman (TX) Two veteran Texas lawmakers say they plan to file bills aimed at making it more difficult for people to steal from or mismanage estates and ensuring that the final wishes of the dead are properly carried out. State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, and state Rep. Keep Reading…

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Breach of trust

Tony Plohetski (tplohetski@statesman.com; 512-445-3605) December 10, 2006 Austin American-Statesman (TX) Long before Laura Ellis’ mind failed, the retired government worker reassured one of her closest relatives that an Austin lawyer she had trusted for years would settle her estate after she died. Ellis, the frugal widow of a retired U.S. Army sergeant, didn’t tell niece Margie Keep Reading…

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Laws, in-laws can make wills difficult, expensive to execute

Tony Plohetski (tplohetski@statesman.com; 512-445-3605) December 10, 2006 Austin American-Statesman (TX) Most people who write a will in Texas pick a family member or friend to divide their money and property among loved ones when they die. Those executors generally must show up to court only twice: first to file the will, then 90 days later to Keep Reading…

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Loopholes that allow people to steal from the dead

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF December 10, 2006 Austin American-Statesman (TX) Editorial Given the responsibility to carry out the last wishes of a person as expressed in a will, most people will try hard to honor them faithfully out of a sense of legal obligation and moral duty, if not personal affection and respect. But occasionally someone does Keep Reading…

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Fighting the touchy battle of estate theft

Tony Plohetski (tplohetski@statesman.com; 512-445-3605) December 10, 2006 Austin American-Statesman (TX) Texas law calls stealing from a dead person’s estate “misapplication of fiduciary property.” Bexar County Probate Judge Tom Rickhoff calls it plain old theft. Rickhoff, a former federal prosecutor who took office in 2001, has been one of the state’s most aggressive probate judges when he Keep Reading…

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