Richard Alderman's archive

Q. I was told that Texas now allows me to have a special type of deed that transfers title to my home after my death without probate. Is this true? What is it called?

A. As of September 1, 2015, Texas allows an owner of real property to transfer the property to his or her beneficiaries by executing what is called a Transfer On Death (TOD) deed. This type of deed effectively avoids the need for probate to transfer the title to real property after death. Homeowners can now transfer real property after death without incurring legal fees or court costs.

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Q. I pay my bills by mail. My due date is the first of the month and I have a 10-day period before they charge a late fee. I always mail my check by the tenth day. The company has begun charging me interest and a late fee. How can I be charged a late fee if I can prove my payment was mailed before the due date?

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Q. I am 60 years old and my English is not very good. I usually get very nervous speaking to a group or to people I don’t know. I want to file a claim in justice court, but I am afraid I will not be able to communicate well with the judge. I know I can have a lawyer, but that will be expensive. I have a grown son who has said he will assist me, but I don’t know if that will be allowed. Can my son help me in court?

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Q. How many days do I have to change my mind after I buy a car? I signed a contract late at night and went in the next morning to cancel. The dealer told me I was out of luck and couldn’t change my mind. My friend told me I have three days to change my mind.

A. The dealer is correct. As far as the law is concerned, you generally cannot simply change your mind after you sign a contract.  There are exceptions, however, for health spa contracts, door-to-door sales, timeshare contracts and certain contracts that put a lien on your homestead.

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Q. I just moved out of my apartment. I gave proper notice and left it cleaner than when I moved in. I have been told this landlord does not return security deposits. How long do I have to wait to find out if mine is being returned? What can I do if it is not?

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