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David M. Pyke

David Pyke’s Answers

937 total


  • What is considered an informal fiduciary relationship in Texas?

    If my sibling was the one who took care of my elderly alcoholic father and he depended on my sibling for everything, is that an informal fiduciary relationship?

    David’s Answer

    This is not an easy answer. Fiduciary relationships are "informal" if not created by a written document -- such as a trust -- but by the particular facts and circumstances. They are not lightly implied by the Court and it takes a very thorough factual review to even proffer an opinion. There is no way on this limited facts to given an opinion, and there is no way that one can definitely state that an informal fiduciary relationship ever exists. It exists if the jury says it exists. There is probably a better legal procedure/theory to address whatever wrong occurred here.

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  • What can my mom do?

    My stepdad died Easter Sunday. He had a will; however the attorney's office informed my mom that it is not valid because their notary signed the will but did not stamp it. They told her she would have to go administration route and she was sched...

    David’s Answer

    I think your Mom has an attorney who doesn't know the law in this area. If the notary didn't stamp the will, the "self proving affidavit" is invalid, however, if the will is signed by two witnesses, the Will IS valid. It can be proved in a variety of ways, including the testimony of a witness. If they started with an heirship and administration, they have wasted money. Probating a will should take a month. Get an attorney who knows probate law and get a refund from the first attorney.

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  • My grandmother passed away last year without a will. Who receives her possessions?

    My grandmother passed away last year without a will. Her great grandson moved into her house five months before she passed away. My mother would like to collect her mother's possessions but the great grandson will not allow her inside the house. C...

    David’s Answer

    I think it is pretty clear great-grandson is not the heir, or at least the sole heir. Check this link for heirship information: https://www.traviscountytx.gov/images/probate/Docs/DnD_diagrams.pdf

    To take control, one or all of the heirs need an attorney to help them open administration. The administrator can then take control of the house and evict great-grandson if necessary.

    The final sentence throws me for a loop. If grandmother doesn't own the house, then the landlord can lease to anyone he or she likes, including great-grandson. The administrator still has the right to obtain the possessions

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  • Will I have issues opening a bank account / merchant account if my Revocable Living Trust is listed as the sole member of my LL?

    For privacy and estate planning, I plan to form an LLC in Texas and list my Living Trust as the sole member of the LLC. Inside of my notarized trust documents, it shows that I am the owner/Grantor of the Trust and that I am the trustee of the trus...

    David’s Answer

    The trust can be a member, but I would suggest a manager-managed LLC because it will be easier for you, individually, to operate the LLC and just have the LT as the member. Both the LLC (if you are sole owner) and LT are pass through for tax purposes, so all revenue from business and trust will be reported on your 1040.

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  • If a piece of property is not described in a will correctly, what do you do?

    In my grandfathers will, probated in 1978, it states he is leaving "being of tract of land in Dallas, city block 415/64" But that is not correct, it is city block 416/64. The deed was never executed. We have recently found out about this thru...

    David’s Answer

    The ambiguity may or may not be a big problem depending on all of the provisions of the will. The will must e reviewed to give a complete and accurate answer. There are many possible cures, but if it is clear that your grandfather never had land at 415/64 and at the time of the will had 416/64, a strong argument can be made that your grandfather's intent -- which is the legal standard -- was leaving the 416/64 land to the person named in the will (you? your parent?). Regardless, consider a consultation, probably without charge, with an experienced probate attorney to advise how to proceed.

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  • What do I need to do to have my Last Will and Testament rewritten

    I have been recently divorced and want to leave everything I have to my daughter also to finish out her last 3 years of school here in TX

    David’s Answer

    The divorce voids anything in your will concerning you ex-husband, such as him serving as executor or receiving anything, but this probably means you need new executors and the disposition provisions may need work. A trust for your daughter is probably advisable. What the divorce doesn't do automatically is change beneficiary provisions in 401ks, life insurance from employers, IRA's, and other similar assets. Please consult an estate planning attorney ASAP to get these matters fixed.

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  • Can I become an independent administrator for an estate after four years has elapsed and no will has been filed for probate?

    My father died over four years ago. He owned 5 city lots four of which are in my name including the lot with the home on it. I have paid the taxes for not only my four lots but the taxes and upkeep on the fifth lot which is adjoining my four. ...

    David’s Answer

    If you have an original will that leaves the lot to you, yes, by all means probate it. Whether there is a need for administration after four years would take a more extensive interview, but probating the will as a muniment of title may be sufficient. I'm unclear how any of the lots "are in your name" if no will has been probated. Having your name listed as the one to receive the tax bill at the Appraisal District office is not the same as ownership. Probate records are public, so your brother isn't executor unless he has been appointed by a court. You should search the probate records to see if anything has been done at Court. Regardless., you need legal help. You should have sought it many years ago, but hopefully, no serious damage has been caused by the delay, but further delay is unacceptable.

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  • I have a Texas I love you will question.

    My Mother passed away, then my Step father passed away in that order. Both lived in Texas. Their wills are what I believed to be called I love you wills. As my mother passed first, the house went to my step father. He passed later and it's m...

    David’s Answer

    If your mother's will left everything to her husband, then title has completely passed to him. Unless her will restricts the transfer by way of a trust, her will has no further legal impact when he passes. Then, only his will determines who receives what is now completely his property. If his will only names his children, then his children receive all of the property. You should have the wills reviewed by a probate attorney to be certain of the correct interpretation.

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  • If a "will" was written in another county which the deceased did not live in. Is the will still valid?

    Over 4 yrs, "will" just came out stating Dallas County.. Lived in Collin County.

    David’s Answer

    The place of execution does not determine validity. Sometimes a resident of one county hires a lawyer and drafts and signs the will in that county. It happens all the time at our office since we represent people in Collin County but our office is in Dallas County. If the deceased lived in Collin County at the time of death, that is where the will must be probated.

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  • I just sold my home that was in Revocable Trust. Check from closing was made in Trust Name. Why won't my bank deposit it?

    My residence was just sold (homestead) that had been placed in my Revocable Living Trust three years ago. The Title Company made the check out to the Trust not me because the house was listed on tax rolls as the owner being "______Family Trust." N...

    David’s Answer

    it looks like the estate planning attorney who created your trust didn't explain to you what it means. It is not just "you" anymore and he probably designed the trusts to hold all of your assets, not just your homestead. The Title Company properly made the check payable to the owner, the trust, and you need an account for the trust. It is a trust asset and may be restricted by the terms of the trust. You need an account in the trust name, not your individual name. You need an estate planning attorney to review your will and trust to make sure the plan, as designed by the prior attorney, is working.

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