George Washington’s personal copy of the Constitution to be auctioned

Posted on June 15th, 2012 No Comments

George Washington’s personal copies of the Constitution and Bill of Rights are set to be auctioned on June 22 in New York.

The auction house in charge of the sale expects the items to go for $2 million to $3 million. This copy of the nation’s founding document was bound in a book in 1789. Two other copies were printed alongside it, one going to John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the other going to Thomas Jefferson.

This copy of the Constitution includes notes written in the margins by Washington himself as well as his signature on the inside.

The treasure is being sold from the estate of a man who died in 2007. If you need help with your estate, contact the estate planning attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C., at 281-362-2865.

Legal Battle Over Art Collector’s $300 Million Estate

Posted on June 29th, 2011 No Comments

The widow of a Manhattan art dealer has filed a lawsuit against the executor of her late husband’s $300 million estate.

Accoridng to court documents, Clare Stone, the widow of ardent collector Allan Stone, has filed a lawsuit claiming the executor of his estate improperly bought an $8.5 million Connecticut house with Stone’s money. The lawsuit also claims the executor, Leila Wood-Smith, of moving $200 million of Stone’s art into her home without court approval.

Daughter Jessie Stone claims she visited Wood-Smith’s home in 2010 and was surprised to see some of her father’s collection on the walls.

According to the lawsuit, Wood-Smith allegedly received a fee of nearly $6 million while Stone’s widow has received “less than one percent per year of the value of the Marital Trust.”

Stone’s estate is valued at approximately $300 million. Portions of the estate have sold at two auctions. In May 2011, works by sculptor John Chamberlain sold at Sotheby’s for nearly $55 million. In 2009, 71 lots offered by Christie’s sold for $52.4 million.

If you need assistance protecting your estate and navigating the complex legal realm of trust law, please contact the Houston trust attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C., by calling 281-362-2865.

Springfield Mayor ordered to court for estate dispute

Posted on December 14th, 2010 No Comments

A Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge ordered Mayor Tim Davlin of Springfield to appear in court next week for a hearing regarding the estate to which the mayor is executor.

Davlin skipped a Sept. 22 court-ordered deadline by which he was supposed to provide a financial accounting for the estate of his cousin Margaret Ettelbrick, who passed away in 2003.

Catholic Charities of Springfield has asked the judge for both a final accounting and to dismiss Davlin as executor of the estate, worth just under $1 million.

Davlin’s attorney has filed against the estate as well, alleging that he is owed about $20,000 in legal fees that he was never paid.

Don’t go through this kind of trouble. Make sure your will and estate plan is clean and easy to execute. Contact the Houston estate planning attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C. by calling 281-362-2865 today.

Pavarotti estate dispute sets example

Posted on November 6th, 2010 No Comments

When famed operatic singer Luciano Pavarotti died in 2008 after a yearlong battle with cancer, there was a dispute over how to divide up his estate.

Pavarotti had drafted two wills near the end of his life; one divided his assets by Italian law and left half to his second wife, Nicoletta Mantovani, and the other half to his four daughters. But his second, American, will left all his American holdings to Ms. Mantovani.

His late wife’s lawyer declined to share details of the resolution with the public but Pavarotti’s daughters and Ms. Mantovani came to a “friendly agreement” over how to settle the dispute.

Don’t let this kind of dispute happen over your estate. Contact the Houston estate planning attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C. by calling 281-362-2865 today.

Rollins family involved in will dispute

Posted on October 31st, 2010 No Comments

In August of this year, four members of the Atlanta Rollins business family filed suit against their father and their uncle in an attempt to change the rules governing the use of the family’s trust money.

Glen Rollins, son of Gary Rollins, was fired from his position as executive vice president of Orkin, the most well known of the Rollins family owned companies, following the filing of the suit.

According to the suit, the four members of the family behind the filing disputed the way in which they, as heirs to their father’s fortune, would be paid under a plan called the Rollins Perpetual Management Trust.

If you are looking for experienced counsel in the area of wills and trusts, contact the Houston estate planning attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C. by calling 281-362-2865 today.

Marshall estate dispute to appear before SCOTUS

Posted on October 11th, 2010 No Comments

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear an appeal from the estate of Anna Nicole Smith, the late model and TV reality-show star, in the decades-old dispute over an inheritance from her tycoon husband.

The Supreme Court agreed this Tuesday to the request that they hear an appeal from the estate of Anna Nicole Smith, the late actress and Playboy Playmate.

The dispute, which is decades old, involves her tycoon husband’s estate. This is the second time that the case has reached the Supreme Court.

Smith — legally known as Vickie Lynn Marshall — married Texas billionaire Howard Marshall in 1994 after they met at an adult club where she was working. At the time, she was 26 and he 89. Fourteen months later, Marshall died.

Since then, the estate has been in dispute between Marshall’s son Pierce and Smith.

However, Pierce died in 2006, and Smith died in 2007; now her estate and his are battling for Marshall’s inheritance and estate.

Problems like these can be avoided with a carefully written and detailed will and estate plan. Contact the Houston estate planning attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C. by calling 281-362-2865 today.

Family could lose estate over guardianship

Posted on September 24th, 2010 No Comments

Doris Preston left her small estate in Denton, Texas to her 52-year old adopted and mentally disabled son, Deartis.  Doris’ siblings took over caring for Deartis, brought him to Bay City to live nearby, and used part of his inheritance to purchase him a house two blocks away.

When Doris’ siblings went to probate court to sort out the details of the estate a Denton County judge told them that Deartis needed a court appointed guardian and lawyer to advocate for him.  The court felt that Deartis needed representation to protect himself in case his family members spent too much of his money.  However, the family argues that the court was out of order pursing the case which has already cost $450,000 on appointed representation.

If you or someone you know is the heir of a small estate and need help settling any probate issues, contact the Houston small estates attorneys of Garg & Associates P.C. at 281-362-2865 to learn more about your rights.

O'Quinn's Troubled Legacy

Posted on August 24th, 2010 No Comments

When famed Texas trial lawyer John O’Quinn skidded off a Houston parkway in a speeding SUV and slammed into a tree last October, he left behind a mixed legacy.

He had won billions of dollars for clients but incurred rebukes from bar groups for ethical misconduct. Ex-clients and employees said he had cheated them, but he also handed over massive contributions to multiple good causes.

In the last five years of his life, he had collected more than 800 classic cars. And that’s now the source of one of the most bitter disputes his death has provoked.

What the twice-divorced lawyer didn’t leave behind was a single sheet of paper that would have bequeathed to his longtime companion the 28 cars she says he meant her to have.

Despite Lexington’s claims of shared finances and marriage, O’Quinn left his entire estate to his charitable foundation. Although there was a provision in the will that allowed him to make adjustments for individuals, he never did before his death.

A to-do list he wrote shortly before his death lists the task of seeing a lawyer for the purpose of a “will change for D” — presumably Darla Lexington.

“What’s relevant in the eyes of the law is not what people say he was going to do, but rather what he actually did,” Houston lawyer Dale Jefferson, who represents the estate, said in a telephone interview last week.

Darla was the beneficiary of a $2 million death insurance policy, and the estate is currently paying her $6000 per month.

This case is just one of many where the likely intentions of those who have passed do not match with their wills. Do not leave your will for tomorrow, because you never know what might happen. Contact the Houston estate planning attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C. by calling 281-362-2865 today.

Estate taxes expected to rise next year

Posted on June 16th, 2010 No Comments

The 2010 federal estate tax disappearance has caused a lot of confusion amongst the wealthy. Even those who could benefit from this year-long tax drop are frustrated and many have changed documents that they will probably have to change back in 2011. Next year, the tax is set to return at a higher rate than in 2009.

This tax hiatus essentially means that heirs of wealthy people who die this year will owe no taxes. In 2009, if you were the heir of a wealthy person, you were legally obligated to pay a 45 percent tax to the Treasury. This year, you are not obligated to pay any money in taxes. However, next year, heirs will have to pay a whopping 55 percent of their estate in taxes.

If you or someone you know needs assistance with the complicated issues behind estate planning, contact the Houston estate planning lawyers of Garg & Associates, P.C. by calling 281-362-2865.

Avoiding estate taxes

Posted on June 10th, 2010 No Comments

A special law was passed that states that those who die in 2010 are legally exempt from owing federal estate taxes.  A study done by Columbia University showed that people who believe that postponing their own death will benefit their heirs, often will themselves to survive until the beneficial occasion presents itself.  Thanks to exceptions, credits and thresholds, in years other than 2010,  only .3 percent of those who left their estates to their heirs also passed along a tax bill.

Some organizations may be damaged from this estate tax-free year including charities and some non-profit organizations.  Giving to charities is often a good way to reduce tax liability when estate planning.  If there are no taxes to avoid this year, then the organizations that usually received donations from these people will see a decline in funds.

If you are considering planning your estate, contact the Houston estate planning lawyers of Garg & Associates, P.C. by calling 281-362-2865.

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Garg & Associates, PC | 21 Waterway Avenue, Suite 300 | The Woodlands, Texas 77380 Please call 281-362-2865 | Fax: 866-743-4506
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Land, River Oaks, Alief, Stafford, Missouri City, and Southwest Houston Texas.