Clients come to their Houston estate planning lawyers with a desire to make a difference to the next generation. Obviously, there is a need to plan for children and grandchildren, but many local residents are also looking for ways to benefit their favorite organizations. Charitable giving provides an opportunity to do something good for others and to help define your own legacy. There are various methods you can use for this purpose, and your estate planning lawyer will go over them with you. One option is to make the charitable organization the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

Life insurance provides a way for you to leave money to your family, but if they are in a position where they are already taken care of, you might want to consider naming a charitable organization as the beneficiary instead. Perhaps you have other means in place to care for your adult children, or perhaps you do not have children at all. In these cases, you might want to use that insurance policy to support a cause that is near to your heart.

Tax Implications of Leaving Your Life Insurance Policy to Charity

There are different ways to bring this about, but your estate planning lawyer will likely advise you to go ahead and name the charity as the beneficiary on the policy. In a lot of cases, you will even get to use it as a charitable deduction right away. The premiums that you continue to pay can also be used as tax deductions each year. Your other heirs can also benefit because when you pass away, the insurance policy’s value will be taken out of your taxable estate, meaning that there are less taxes to be paid by those heirs.

The amount that you can use as the actual value for the policy can vary for tax purposes. Your attorney will work with you to find out what makes the most sense here in Texas. Factors like the cash surrender value and others will have to be used to determine the policy’s fair market value.


With the ongoing changes to the law and shifting options and choices in the Houston area, it is a good idea to consult with an elder attorney who knows what the community has to offer. Elder and Medicaid lawyers in Houston are tasked with a lot of responsibilities, but perhaps one of the most important is working with clients who are making decisions regarding nursing homes. From cost to amenities to proximity to medical facilities, there are so many considerations that can go into choosing just the right facility for you or a loved one.

Plan Ahead When Possible

Obviously, it is not always possible to plan in advance for nursing home care. Illnesses and injuries can come from out of nowhere and sideline a previously healthy and active senior. In other cases, the individual may just not have been able to envision a time when he or she would need such care. People in these situations will also benefit from working with an elder attorney in Houston who is knowledgeable about what the city has to offer.

When possible, however, planning ahead is one of the best things you can do to ensure you receive the kind of nursing home care you truly want. For one thing, when decisions like this are put off, it often ends up falling on the senior’s children or other caregivers to make the choices. If you plan earlier, when you are healthy, you can have so much more say in how the situation plays out in the future.

Your elder attorney will obviously be a good resource in finding the best nursing homes in Houston that meet your wishes and requirements. You may also find that friends have great insight into places they have visited or where their family members have resided. Do some online research of your own, too. Many facilities will have pictures and descriptions on their web sites that will give you a preview of what they offer.

Take a Tour

You would never buy a home without seeing the inside of it or checking out the neighborhood, but it is shocking how many people choose a nursing home without ever having set foot inside. Whenever possible, your Houston Medicaid and elder attorney will encourage you to do on-site visits to get a feel of the facility. This is an opportunity to make sure that you feel comfortable, and can even give you a chance to speak with residents currently in the facility. What do they like best? What do they like least? Would they recommend this nursing home, and why or why not?

Some nursing homes specialize in different areas or offer different amenities, so taking a tour will allow you to see if their services live up to what you have seen in their brochures or on their web site. You might even want to take notes so that you can compare the different facilities that you have visited.

Choosing a nursing home is a pretty big deal. This is the place where you or your loved one will be living for an extended period of time, and you want to make sure that it offers a great balance of wants and needs. Working with a Houston elder attorney will give you an advantage when it comes to finding out what is out there in our area.


Whether you are planning to get married or are already enjoying your wedded bliss, there is no time like the present to get financial advice from a knowledgeable family lawyer in Houston. You and your partner should put more planning into your financial future than you did into your wedding; after all, one only lasts a day and the other is for the rest of your lives!

Financial discussions are not always easy, but laying out a clear roadmap early on can actually be beneficial to the overall health of your marriage. Money issues are a huge contributor to unhappiness in a partnership, and Houston family lawyers have seen time and again how working together earlier can avoid a lot of stress later on in the relationship.

Planning for the Future

It is impossible to peer into the future and know everything that you and your spouse are going to face together, but there are some pretty obvious considerations to make. Talking with your partner and possibly with a Houston family lawyer can help you determine how you plan to approach many of the financial considerations facing newlyweds such as:

· College and/or student loans

· Purchasing a home

· Planning for children

· Funding retirement

· Life insurance policies

· Other large purchases (cars, furniture, etc.)

· Travel

Planning for these types of things can cause some stress, but it can also be very empowering. Knowing that you eventually want to be able to take a trip to Paris and then taking concrete steps to make it happen can be a wonderful bonding experience and will also pay off in the experience of a lifetime. Family lawyers in Houston see all too often how couples get into financial difficulties by taking trips or making large purchases when they have not planned ahead to make them realities.

Planning for the Present

While just as important, sometimes figuring out what to do about finances right now is a little less fun. Still, you and your spouse need to take the opportunity to look at your current financial situation in order to make your long-term goals a reality. There are some considerations that are especially important for newlywed planning, too, when it comes to how to combine (or not combine) your finances, such as:

· What are your expectations when it comes to money

· Which finances and accounts will be combined, and which will not

· How will you deal with debt brought into the marriage

· Will there be resentment if one spouse makes more money than the other

· What are your views on using credit


In order to develop a long-term plan, you and your partner will need to use the above information to create a workable budget. This should include:

· Income (wages, businesses, investments)

· Assets (accounts, stocks, retirement, property)

· Debts (school, home loans, business loans, credit cards)

· Expenses (ongoing and incidental)

By laying out what you have and what you need, you can develop a plan to help meet your current requirements, as well as to save for the future. A good family lawyer in Houston can help you put all of this information into perspective to create workable plan to meet your financial needs.


A recent law against choking provides more protection for victims of domestic violence.  The law, which was passed in 2009, makes it a felony to impede or block the breathing of a family member or dating partner. DIVORCED Before the law was passed, choking was considered to be on the same level as a slap or punch and was hardly, if ever, prosecuted or considered to rise to the level of chargeable Go domestic violence. Now, if a person is convicted of choking or strangling another person they can face 2 to 10 years in prison.  The motivation behind the law is the idea that choking someone is a red flag for mi increasing violence– violence that has a greater likelihood of ending in death.

If you or someone you ingredients know is suffering through a domestic violence situation, contact our office immediately.  You may be eligible to obtain a protective order to protect yourself and your family from the abuser.  A protective order can also protect your children and other people who live with you.  At Hegwood & Associates, we will work quickly to help you obtain the protection you deserve.

For more information about the choking law and to see how it has already helped victims of domestic violence see: