UK Woman Claims Brain Tumor Invalidates Late Husband’s Will

Posted on July 14th, 2011 No Comments

A woman in the United Kingdom is in the midst of an estate battle with her late husband’s family.

According to court documents, 61 year-old Olga Smith says her late husband Thomas Smith was not of sound mind when he replaced a 1992 will, which left her almost the entirety of his $846,00 estate, with a 2005 will in which she got nothing. Following Smith’s death in 2009, an autopsy revealed that he had been suffering from a neuroblastoma brain tumor. Mrs. Smith now claims that her late husband’s “strange behavior,” including an obsession with crossdressing, was a sign that his faculties had been addled by the tumor, rendering his 2005 will invalid.

Members of Mr. Smith’s family, however, insist he knew exactly what he was doing when he created the will. They claim Mrs. Smith was cut out of the will because their marriage was effectively over and she “never used a broom, never cooked a meal, not even a cup of tea” for her husband.

If you are involved in an estate battle, please contact the experienced Houston contested will lawyers of Garg & Associates, P.C., by calling 281-362-2865.

Understanding Living Wills

Posted on July 6th, 2011 No Comments

In recent years, living wills have become quite popular, yet many people are unsure of exactly how they work.

A living will is a legal document that an individual uses to outline their wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatments. Living wills are also known as health care directives, physician directives, or advance directives. It is important to note that a living will is different from a living trust, which is a means of holding and distributing an individual’s assets to avoid probate.

The requirements for a living will vary by state. Generally, the declarant would indicate which life-prolonging treatments they do or do not want applied in the event they suffer from a terminal illness or enter a permanent vegetative state. A living will does not become effective unless the declarant becomes incapacitated.

If you are interested in learning more about a living will, please contact the Houston Living Will Lawyers of Garg & Associates, P.C., by calling 281-362-2865.

Renowned photographers’ trust involved in legal dispute

Posted on January 19th, 2011 No Comments

The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust is involved in a legal battle with a man who has been accused of advertising posters and prints featuring “Ansel Adams Lost Negatives,” which the trust claims are not the work of the photographer.

The trust originally sued the man in August 2010 after he advertised “Ansel Adams Lost Negatives” items on his website. However, the man and his media company have since filed a counterclaim against the trust, as well as against the University of Arizona, which supported the trust’s claims. The complaint states that a team of experts have evaluated the negatives and found that the negatives were most likely created by Ansel Adams, and that the trust defamed the man and his company in their comments to international news networks.

The complaint and the counterclaim are set to be heard in May 2012.

If you or someone you know are involved in a wills and trusts dispute, the Houston estate planning lawyers at Garg & Associates, P.C. can help. For legal advice contact our offices at 281-362-2865.

Brief summary of new tax cut extension package

Posted on January 13th, 2011 No Comments

The tax cut extension package that was passed last month made significant changes to laws that pertain to estates and gift taxes. Different demographic groups will be affected in different ways by the new rules.

In summary, the new laws state that:

  • Both the federal estate tax exemption and the federal gift tax exemption rates for 2011 and 2012 are now set at $5 million
  • If an estate or gift surpasses the $5 million exemption, a flat tax rate of 35 percent is applied to the excess

Last year, the gift tax exemption was $1 million. For now, these new laws will be in place over the next two years, but may change in 2013.

If you or a loved one needs legal assistance planning an estate, contact the Houston estate planning attorneys at Garg & Associates, P.C. by calling 281-362-2865.

House members work for changes to estate tax laws

Posted on December 15th, 2010 No Comments

The Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the month, and both Republicans and Democrats are pushing for additional changes.

Currently, House Republicans are working to pass a proposal that would exempt individuals with estates worth up to $5 million from estate taxes, while Democrats are trying to lower that number to $3.5 million. Republicans are also advocating to impose additional taxes on larger estates at a rate of 35 percent while Democrats are working to set the rate at 45 percent.

Democrats are also working to extend unemployment insurance and are concerned that the changes they want to estate tax laws will be subject to further compromise in later votes.

If you are seeking legal assistance in planning your estate, contact the Houston estate planning attorneys of Garg & Associates, P.C. by calling 281-362-2865 today.

Wharton Firefighter Death Causes Fight Over Assets

Posted on July 26th, 2010 No Comments

Nikki Araguz’s husband, Thomas Araguz, was a Wharton firefighter. She was a man. According to My Fox Houston, Araguz died “just months after his family said he learned his wife was actually born a man.” Upon this revelation, Mr. Araguz wanted a divorce.

His mother has already filed to have her son’s marriage declared null and void.

His family continues the fight over his death benefits. Nikki Araguz claims the money is hers. Mr. Araguz’s sons from his first marriage claim it is theirs. Currently, Nikki Araguz has possession of the money, but a judge recently ordered the money turned over to the court until the matter is sorted out.

Death is hard enough on a family, but sometimes that is only the beginning. If you or someone you know is dealing with a contested will, contact your experienced Houston Contested Wills Attorneys at Garg & Associates, PC, by dialing 281-362-2865.

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