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Denton Texas Legal Blog

Understanding oil rig blowouts

With the enormous oil industry in Texas, oil rig blowouts pose a continuing problem. The State of Texas keeps track of such potentially catastrophic events and reports that Texas saw 46 blowouts over the past three years, 11 in 2018, 14 in 2017, and 24 in 2016.

Petro-Online provides the explanation of what happens when an oil rig blows: the crude oil gushes uncontrollably out of the well. If even the smallest spark, such as one from a cigarette ash, comes into contact with the gushing oil, the result could be a massive explosion and fire.

Common mistakes to avoid when preparing your estate plan

If you have decided it is now time to complete your estate planning, then congratulations, you have made the decision to take care of your family and make sure all your future wishes will be carried out when you are no longer around.

However, as you begin the estate planning process, there are certain mistakes you need to watch out for. By not properly executing your will or trust, you could end up affecting the inheritances that you want your beneficiaries to receive. By reading this, you may have already dodged the biggest estate planning mistake you can make, dying without establishing a will. Dying without a will puts others in charge of your property and it may not turn out anything like you would want.

Tips for winning condo or homeowner’s association disputes

As one of the millions of Americans across Texas and the United States who must abide by the rules of a condo or homeowner’s association, you may have certain guidelines governing you with regard to painting, maintenance and so on. You may, too, have had some type of disagreement with your HOA at some point or another, whether it be about parking, tree branches, fencing or what have you. At Kelsey, Kelsey & Hickey, PLLC, we recognize that fighting your homeowner’s association is often an uphill battle, and we have helped many Texas homeowners involved in HOA disputes pursue solutions that meet their needs.

According to U.S. News & World Report, about 72 percent of people who live within condo or homeowner’s associations have experienced issues at some point that they found difficult to resolve. While it can prove difficult for a homeowner to go toe-to-toe with an entire board and find success, there are certain steps you can take while preparing to fight your HOA that may make you more likely to find a favorable solution.

Arbitration often used in oil and gas disputes

As many business owners know, disputes between companies can get contentious and costly, both in terms of time wasted and money spent. In Texas, where the oil and gas industry dominates a large share of the market, disputes are not uncommon. There are many ways to settle a dispute, ranging from courtroom litigation to alternative dispute resolution methods – the latter of which are meant to reduce conflict, time and cost, as well as to preserve business interests.

A current dispute between two Texas oil companies – Wagner Oil Company in Fort Worth and Apache Corporation in Houston – was recently scheduled for arbitration by an appellate court. The Dallas Business Journal reports that the dispute concerns environmental cleanup litigation over assets previously owned by Apache, which Wagner Oil Company purchased. According to the arbitration terms, the final hearing should take place within 30 days of the first hearing.

Identifying the roles of an estate executor

People who have lost a close friend or loved one may feel overcome with emotion. In addition to dealing with the loss, there is the task of organizing the estate left behind by the deceased. This can be a daunting process, and it is usually led by estate administrator or executor of the estate. In some cases, the deceased will name someone they wish to act as an estate executor in his or her will. However, if an executor is not named, the court may appoint someone to carry out the tasks delegated to that position. What exactly does an estate executor do?

The executor must gather up critical documents, including the death certificate, life insurance policies, trust documents and the last will and testament. They must also gather together all of the deceased’s property and assets and have them valued. This value is the estate’s worth, and the administrator may have to pay certain bills, taxes, funeral expenses and other expenses out of this fund. Executor’s are responsible for protecting the estate while it is going through the probate process or paperwork is being processed. Once the value of the property is assessed and all of the expenses are taken care of, the remaining property and assets are distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will. The executor may have to locate these heirs to alert them of their inheritance.

Maximizing the return on your land as a property owner

Many landowners across the United States own properties that contain oil, gas or other mineral resources beneath their surfaces. In exchange for these coveted resources, many receive royalties. In fact, the National Association of Royalty Owners estimates that nearly 12 million American landowners receive royalties for companies extracting minerals from their properties.

In Texas, mineral rights are a common issue for property owners. Whether you already own property or are looking to purchase, it is important to understand your rights, as well as how to maximize the potential return on any resources on such property.

Which business form should I choose?

One of the first decisions you have to make when starting a business in Texas is which business form you will use. There are a few options, and each one has specific requirements, benefits and characteristics. According to the Texas Secretary of State, there are five main business form options.

A common choice, if you are opening a business on your own, is a sole proprietorship. The main requirement is one business owner. You also carry the business liability as a personal liability.

What exactly is an estate plan?

You may hear the term "estate plan" and feel a bit intimidated. This can stem from the feeling that what you own does not feel like an estate. Maybe you believe that estate planning is only reserved for the rich and famous. The truth is, estate planning is for everybody and there is no need to feel intimidated.

Getting the facts on fair market value

When the government decides that it wants to use your Texas property, it will invoke eminent domain to acquire it from you in exchange for what the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution calls “just compensation.” However, you might not agree with what the government says your just compensation should be. By finding out what the fair market value of your home is, you can make the case for a fairer price for your property.

As FindLaw explains, the fair market value of your home is a key factor in determining the valuation of your home. Fair market value is what people would reasonably consider a piece of property to be worth. For the purposes of eminent domain, fair market value would produce the amount that the government would be willing to compensate the property owner for.

Avoiding delays in real estate development projects

Delays can be very costly to a real estate development project. They can significantly throw off a developer’s plans and goals. So, avoiding unnecessary delays can be critical for real estate developers here in Texas.

There are a range of things that can delay a project. For one, legal problems and disputes can have this effect. So, among the delay-prevention steps developers can take is making sure legal matters related to the project are in order and that any unexpected legal issues that come up are promptly addressed. Skilled real estate lawyers can assist developers with efforts to avoid project delays related to legal issues.

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Kelsey, Kelsey & Hickey, PLLC - Estate Planning

Kelsey, Kelsey & Hickey, PLLC
2225 E. McKinney Street
Denton, TX 76209

Phone: 940-387-9551
Fax: 940-387-9553
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