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"Is your estate plan, will, or trust sufficient or deficient?"

Wills & Trusts

"I have known Todd Marquardt for a few years when his law firm was in the beginning stages. He worked on our trust fund in Spring of 2011. He did a very detailed, efficient, and timely job. His law firm has since grown in size, stature and expansion of services. As his business has grown in stature so has he as a person. Business & estate law is his forte. He is mature, honorable and caring in his dealings and can be trusted completely.” - Sonja

"Very professional law firm. Made us feel comfortable and allowed us to understand the process very easily. All of the staff were courteous and took their time to make us feel at ease. Would recommend this law firm to family and friends.” - Steve, San Antonio Estate Planning

Six Things Every Consumer Needs to Know About Having a Will

  1. A Will transfers your property to people you name as beneficiaries after your death. If you don't leave a validly signed Will, State law will dictate who gets your property. Leaving a Will lets you decide who will receive your property.
  2. Making gifts upon your death through a Last Will & Testament can prevent a family conflict ahead of time. Only a Will allows you to give gifts to friends, charities, churches, and step-children.
  3. Your Last Will is your chance to make your wishes legally enforceable. Happily married couples and single individuals give their friends, family, and favorite charities the gift of peace by leaving property using a Last Will and Testament.
  4. Parents of children under the age of 18 must designate a guardian in their Last Will so that children are raised by a trusted person.
  5. Your Last Will & Testament transfers title to your property like real estate, automobiles, and retirement accounts.
  6. A legally binding Will requires a very specific type of format to be filed with the state. Using an incorrect format may leave your family vulnerable to the State Court System to enforce your final wishes.

Staying out of Trouble and Minimizing Potential Liability:
What to do, if You Are Involved in an Accident

The following is educational and informative only. Do not rely on the following as legal advice.

Your freedom, your automobile, and your money are all valuable assets. You must know what to say and whatnot to say because dozens, if not hundreds, of motor vehicle collisions occur in Central and South Texas daily. What should you do, if you are in an accident? Here are several suggestions to avoid common mistakes made by drivers every day that might lead to jail time and/or money damages or might limit damages you might be awarded to compensate you for your injuries.

  1. Do not apologize, admit fault, or make any statements to anyone other than the police. By all means make sure that others are not injured, are safe, and are assisted as needed. But do not make any statements such as, “I didn’t see you.” “It’s my fault.” Or “Don’t worry, I have insurance.”
  2. Do Document, document, document. Today, smart phones typically have cameras, and recording devices. Photograph the location of the vehicles, the debris field, the license plates, registration stickers, insurance cards and driver’s license(s) of the other driver(s). Turn on your recorder and ask them, “What do you think happened?” Often, they will give you a statement admitting liability, before the other party’s insurance company has coached them to lie.
  3. Do not get angry or emotional at the scene. Yes, you may have every reason to be upset. But losing your cool in public, cursing, fighting, or making threats, can only cause problems down the road.
  4. Identify Witnesses. Get the names address and phone numbers of any witnesses. Write down the name and badge number of all responding police officers and emergency personnel at the scene, including what jurisdiction or department they are with (state, county, city, police or fire). Get an incident number, or report number, from the responding officer.
  5. Identify Circumstantial Evidence. Take photos of any stop signs, traffic control devices, and skid marks. If you can safely do so, pace off the length of skid marks, as this may provide important evidence concerning the speed of the vehicles. If there is evidence of alcohol use, try to document this as well, and notify the police officer.
  6. Call your lawyer. The lawyers of Marquardt Law Firm, P.C. have experience with motor vehicle injury and death cases, 18 wheeler cases, defective vehicles, and drunk driver collisions. The most important time after an accident is the first 48 hours, when important evidence can be collected and preserved. Often insurance companies will dispose of the vehicles in a serious collision, in only a matter of days. Important “black box” data must be preserved and obtained.

Even if you do not think you sustained a serious injury, we can help you get a complete medical evaluation to confirm this fact. Often, serious injuries do not appear for days, or even weeks, after the collision. Call today for a free legal consultation. There is no fee unless we collect for you.

You are going to need someone to advocate for you if you need money damages to compensate you or if you need to defend, protect, and preserve the assets that you have worked hard to accumulate.

The Danger of Using Online Forms

The following is educational and informative only. Do not rely on the following as legal advice.

Online services and form repositories now offer blank documents for the creation of wills, the formation of corporations, and even divorce. But how safe and effective are these blank forms? One Texas family found out the hard way, that “you get what you paid for.”

In a recent Houston Court of Appeals Decision, In re Estate of Parrimore, a remarried father decided to write a new will, leaving everything to his second wife, and nothing to his adult children. Before he could do that, however, he suffered a stroke. While still recovering, he completed his new will, using a form his wife obtained online, and threw a “will signing party” at his home, attended by family and friends.

Upon his death, the excluded children challenged the will in court, on several grounds. First, they alleged their father lacked testamentary intent, because of the odd circumstances with the party. Next, they alleged their father lacked testamentary capacity, because of his recent stroke. Finally, the excluded children alleged their father was under undue influence from their stepmother, because she prepared the will, and was named sole beneficiary.

In the end, the will challenge was unsuccessful, but not before an expensive trial and appeal was required. What lessons can be gleaned from the Parrimore case? First, always have an attorney participate in the preparation of important estate, guardianship, and trust documents. Testamentary intent can be properly document by a skilled attorney, including witnesses to the signing. Second, if there is any question concerning testamentary capacity due to neurological injury or disease, have your lawyer properly document capacity, in the event there are later questions. Finally, and this should go without saying, the execution of a will is a serious matter, and not the subject for parties or frivolity.

Marquardt Law Firm has been protecting clients for years, every step of the way, through planning to probate. Call us today with any questions you have concerning your estate planning, guardianship, or trust needs.