Sharita

/Sharita

About Sharita

Sharita Blacknall is an attorney with decades of legal experience under her belt. Based in Dallas, Texas, Sharita brings a unique perspective to the areas of Personal Injury and family law. Sharita prides herself on constant communication, as well as integrity, honesty and passionately working to serve her clients in all areas. She and her legal team form the backbone of The Law Offices of Sharita Blacknall, PC, and strive to create tailored solutions for each client in order to protect their rights and preserve their futures. Whether you need to file a claim for an accident that was not your fault or you need to get a divorce, get a custody order or child support,,contact us today 214-678-9111.

Stepparent Adoption in Texas

By | August 21st, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

Adopting a stepchild can be a beautiful gesture of love, creating a deep family bond that will last forever. However, there are many factors for stepparents to consider before beginning the adoption process. Adoption is a life-long commitment with real life ramifications. Before rushing into adoption, make sure you understand the emotional, legal, and financial significance [...]

Four Divorce Trends That Might Surprise You

By | August 21st, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

The landscape of marriage and divorce in the United States is shifting. Despite all the talk about the breakdown of the American family, the marriage rate is up, the divorce rate is down, and it seems to be a pretty good time to be married in the United States (at least for the young and educated). [...]

5 Ways Settling a Car Accident Case for a Child is Different

By | July 27th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

When a minor is injured in an accident it is treated slightly different than that of an adult for various reasons.  First, you have to make sure that there is no conflict of interest between the parents and the child.  Second, because the child’s body may not have formed completely yet, the injury may have long [...]

Q. How Much Money Should I Ask for My Car Accident Settlement?

By | July 27th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

A. The question of how much money to ask for in a car accident settlement hinges on whether you are a personal injury lawyer, whether you are willing to file a lawsuit, and the size of your claim.   At our law firm, all roads lead to the same Road:  how  do we maximize the value of this [...]

In An Accident Without a License? You Could Still Get a Settlement

By | July 25th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

I can’t tell you how many personal injury lawsuits are never presented to a court because the injured party didn’t have a driver’s license. While it is against the law to drive without a license in the state of Texas, and you may incur some fines during the process of the case, you are not barred [...]

4 Mistakes Plaintiffs Make After a Car Accident

By | July 25th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you should be awarded damages not only for the repairs of your car but also for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and any lost wages due to time off of work after the accident. This applies whether you were driving at the time [...]

Parenting Rights for Unmarried Fathers in Texas

By | July 24th, 2017|Categories: Custody|

When a child is born in Texas to unmarried parents, the biological mother alone receives all the rights and responsibilities of parenting the child. The child’s father will have NO rights to the child unless he takes specific legal actions to secure them. However, if he seeks legal recognition through the proper channels, he can seek [...]

Back to School Transitions for Divorced Families in Texas

By | July 24th, 2017|Categories: Custody, Divorce|

It may feel like you are just getting acclimated to your kids’ summer break routine, but school will be back in session sooner than you can say “school supply shopping.” This time of year is stressful for every family, but if you are recently separated or divorced, sending the kids back to school can be an [...]

Is Divorce Going to the Dogs?

By | June 28th, 2017|Categories: Custody, Divorce|

Or cats? Or hamsters? It is not uncommon for pets to be treated like part of the family. Disputes over dogs and other pets are not uncommon in family court now. As a result of this, family law courts have had to work on adapting the existing law to apply to couples who have decided to [...]

Do I Have to Change My Texas Parenting Plan if I am Moving Temporarily?

By | June 15th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

Life brings changes, and those changes can often affect a parenting plan that has been established by the Texas family law court system. But, if the move is only temporary, does the parenting plan have to change? Let’s take a look at some circumstances that would affect the parenting plan and whether or not a temporary [...]

What Does “The Best Interest of the Child” Mean in Texas?

By | June 12th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

When family law issues come up, whether a new divorce is pending, a child support order is being assessed, or a modification of a parenting plan is being considered, the words, “the best interest of the child” come up over and over again. What exactly does that mean? There are several factors that Texas courts take [...]

Do I Have to Change My Texas Parenting Plan if I am Moving Temporarily?

By | June 12th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

Life brings changes, and those changes can often affect a parenting plan that has been established by the Texas family law court system. But, if the move is only temporary, does the parenting plan have to change? Let’s take a look at some circumstances that would affect the parenting plan and whether or not a temporary [...]

How to Co-Parent During Summer Break

By | May 24th, 2017|Categories: Custody|

Summer break is coming up, and before we know it, the kids will be out of school and ready for some fun in the sun. This also means that you are going to be wondering what your co-parent plans to do with his or her time with the kids. If those plans include a trip somewhere, [...]

How Mediation Can Help with Divorce

By | April 18th, 2017|Categories: Custody, Divorce|

In a perfect world, nobody would get divorced. However, if divorce were to happen in a perfect world, it would happen quickly, easily, and the process would certainly not include any pain or stress. Unfortunately, though, this is the real world, and in the real world, divorce is often a painful, stressful process that can be [...]

Have You Put in for Time With Your Kids This Summer?

By | April 1st, 2017|Categories: Custody, Divorce|

Most divorced parents in the state of Texas follow by the Texas Family Code standard possession order. This schedule is quite detailed and the provisions in it typically apply to both of the parents, as well as any children involved. If the non-custodial parent wants to spend time with a child or children during the summer, [...]

How the SCOTUS Ruling Impacts Same-Sex Marriage

By | April 1st, 2017|Categories: Same Sex Couples|

An extremely important Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling occurred on June 26, 2015, changing the scope of same-sex marriage in America forever. In the final ruling regarding the case Obergefell v. Hodges,  SCOTUS stated that all of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, must recognize marriages and issue marriage [...]

Avoid Living Probate: How to Keep Guardians and Conservators Out of Your Estate

By | March 25th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

  While most proactive individuals know the importance of having a well-rounded estate plan, it is typically considered as something that will take effect after they have passed away. But there are in fact many ways in which comprehensive estate planning can have a positive impact on your life while you are still around to reap [...]

How to Choose a Trustee

By | March 25th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

When you establish a trust, you name someone to be the trustee. A trustee does what you do right now with your financial affairs - collect income, pay bills and taxes, save and invest for the future, buy and sell assets, provide for your loved ones, keep accurate records, and generally keep things organized and in [...]

Who Should Be Your Successor Trustee?

By | March 25th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

  If you have a revocable living trust, you probably named yourself as trustee so you can continue to manage your own financial affairs, but eventually someone will need to step in for you when you are no longer able to act due to incapacity or after your death. The Successor Trustee plays an important role [...]

Do It Now: Name a Guardian for Your Minor Child(ren)

By | March 25th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

We know it’s hard. Thinking about someone else raising your children stops us all in our tracks. It feels crushing and too horrific to consider. But you must. If you don’t, a stranger will determine who raises your children if something happens to you - your child’s guardian could be a relative you despise or even [...]

The Top 2 Ways the Court Gets Involved in Your Estate, and How to Avoid Them

By | March 25th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

No one wants unnecessary court involvement in their life. But without careful and proactive estate planning, chances are that some aspect of your estate will end up being decided there. Here are two of the most common ways court proceedings can make their way into the management and distribution of your assets, along with the estate [...]

New Legislation Could Mean the End of Estate and GSTT Taxes

By | March 25th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

What This Means for You and Your Family On January 24, 2017, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017, or H.R. 631, was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by South Dakota congresswoman Kristi Noem. If passed, H.R. 631 would completely repeal the federal estate tax. A separate companion bill put before the Senate by [...]

How to Pick a Trustee, Executor, and Agent Under a Power of Attorney

By | March 25th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

While the term fiduciary is a legal term with a long history, it very generally means someone who is legally obligated to act in another person’s best interests. Trustees, executors, and agents are all examples of fiduciaries. When you pick trustees, executors, and agents in your estate plan, you’re picking one or more people to make [...]

Why “I Love You” Wills Really Don’t Say “I Love You”

By | February 15th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

As Valentine’s Day brings heart-shaped chocolate boxes and roses by the dozen into your imagination, seize the moment to learn about the drawbacks of “I love you” wills and introduce yourself to the estate planning move that’s actually going to ensure you do well by your loved ones: a lifetime beneficiary trust. Rise above the misconceptions [...]

Why Your Estate Planning Project Must Morph into a Process

By | December 29th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Many people put their estate plan on their to-do list as a one-time project: “Create estate plan” or “Meeting with lawyer 10:30 a.m. Thursday for estate plan.” Thinking of your estate plan as a single project or task to complete and move off your list is a common approach – but it’s also an approach that [...]

3 Famous Pet Trust Cases and the Lessons We Can Learn from Them

By | December 29th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Things don’t always go according to plan. On the other hand, sometimes pet owners can get a bit creative when providing for their pets. Let’s take a look now at 3 famous cases involving pet trusts and distill important lessons from them. David Harper and Red David Harper, a wealthy, reclusive bachelor in Ottawa, Canada, wasn’t [...]

Why a Trust Is the Best Option for Avoiding Probate

By | December 29th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

  As Ambrose Bierce once darkly observed, “Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.” Obviously, ideally, when someone passes away, the paperwork and material concerns associated with the estate are so flawlessly handled (thanks to excellent preparation) that they fade into the background, allowing the family to grieve and remember in [...]

The Pros and Cons of Probate

By | December 29th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

In estate planning circles, the word “probate” often comes with a starkly negative connotation. Indeed, for many people — especially those with larger estates — financial planners recommend trying to keep property out of probate whenever possible. That being said, the probate system was ultimately established to protect the property of the deceased and his/her heirs, [...]

3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Probate

By | December 28th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

When you pass away, your family may need to visit a probate court in order to claim their inheritance. This can happen if you own property (like a house, car, bank account, investment account, or other asset) in only your name. Although having a will is a good basic form of planning, a will does not [...]

5 Tragic Mistakes People Make When Leaving Assets to Their Pets

By | December 21st, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

A pet trust is an excellent way to make sure your beloved pet will receive proper care after you pass on. The problem, of course, is that you won’t actually be there to see that your wishes are carried out. It’s critical to set up a pet trust correctly to ensure there are no loopholes or [...]

Is a Financial Plan Enough? Why Experts Say You Need an Estate Plan, Too

By | December 13th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

  If you want to leave a robust financial legacy for your family, a financial plan alone is like trying to guide a boat with just one oar. It’s only part of the big picture for your overall monetary health. A well-informed financial plan is worth your time for several reasons, but let’s look at how [...]

3 Famous Pet Trust Cases and the Lessons We Can Learn from Them

By | December 6th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Not long ago, pet trusts were thought of as little more than eccentric things that famous people did for their pets when they had too much money. These days, pet trusts are considered mainstream. For example: in May 2016, Minnesota became the 50th (and final) state to recognize pet trusts. But not every pet trust is [...]

3 Tips for Overwhelmed Executors

By | November 16th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

While it is an honor to be named as an executor of a will or estate, it can also be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being a personal representative requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet all responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are [...]

Updating Your Revocable Trust: How Many “Tweaks” Are Too Many?

By | October 19th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

If your life or the law has changed since you signed your trust, it needs to be updated. Updates can be made by way of an amendment - or - a complete restatement. An amendment updates a specific part of the trust; whereas, a restatement, updates the entire trust. You might think that an amendment would [...]

How Often Do You Update Your Estate Plan? More Often Than Your Resume?

By | October 19th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

A resume is a “snapshot” of your experience, skill set, and education which provides prospective employers insight into who you are and how you will perform. Imagine not updating that resume for 5, 10, or even 15 years. Would it accurately reflect who you are? Would it do what you want it to do? Likely not. [...]

Is Your Estate Plan as Stale as Last Week’s Ham Sandwich? 5 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

By | October 19th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Estate plans are almost magical: they allow you to maintain control of your assets, yet protect you should you become incapacitated. They take care of your family and pets. And, if carefully crafted, they reduce fees, taxes, stress, and time delays. Estate plans can even keep your family and financial affairs private. But one thing estate [...]

Wondering Whether You Need to Update Your Estate Plan? Yes, You Do and Here’s Why

By | October 19th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Please allow us to be frank. It’s unrealistic to think that a piece of paper you draft, reflecting your life at a certain time, will work when your life has completely changed some years later. We’ll use the Kendrick family as an example. Meet the Kendricks Meet Bill and Karen Kendrick. They got their first estate [...]

Q: What if I end up using up my retirement account during my lifetime?

By | October 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

A:  By all means, use your retirement funds as you think best. Even after you set up a standalone retirement trust, you’ll have full control and the right to enjoy your retirement funds for years.  However, if you’re like most people, you will still have assets in your retirement account when you die; that’s when the [...]

Q: Why would my loved ones need asset protection?

By | October 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

A: Lawsuits are filed every few seconds all year long, every year, in the United States. We all have a bullseye on our back. Commonly, lawsuits stem from car accidents, business failure, divorce, malpractice, tenants, slip-and-falls, bankruptcy, and the like. Without your protection, inherited assets can be seized.

Q: What is an SRT?

By | October 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

A: A standalone retirement trust, “SRT” for short, is a trust used to provide asset protection and maximized tax deferred growth for spouses, children, and other loved ones. This means more assets go to the people you care about.  

Q: I set up a trust for my grandchildren years ago and everything has changed since then. Can I revoke that trust and start over?

By | October 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

A:  What you can do is “decant” your trust, meaning you can take the assets from the original trust and pour them into a new trust, with new and more favorable terms. Decanting essentially would give you the results you’re looking for.  

Q: I feel as though I’m always battling with my deceased husband’s children as they are the remainder beneficiaries of my trust. I don’t like having to ask for A, B, and C. I’d rather have a fixed amount that comes each month so I can count on that income and not deal with my step-children’s lawyer. What can I do?

By | October 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

A: This may be a good case to have the trust converted to a unitrust, so monthly payments are guaranteed and conflict is reduced. That being said, we wouldn’t want you to give up your right to principal if you need it. Let’s talk about it.

Q: What does a trust protector do? Do I need one?

By | October 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

A: A trust protector’s duty is to make sure the trust maker’s intent is carried out. And, yes, we use trust protectors in all of our trusts to make sure changes in the law or changes in circumstances don’t frustrate the trust maker’s intent. The trust protector has the power to modify your trust to meet [...]

Q: I’m the beneficiary of a trust set up by my spouse when she died. The tax laws have changed significantly since then. Do I have to go to court to change the terms of the trust?

By | October 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

A: Not necessarily. The simplest way to modify the trust would be if there are provisions within the trust that allow a private modification. Look for “trust protector” provisions. If you’d like help interpreting your trust and get an overview of your options, we’d be happy to review the trust.

Q: The trustee of my trust just isn’t working out. Can I change the trustee? I’m afraid I’m stuck because the trust is irrevocable. Please help!

By | October 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

A: You may be in luck because most trust modifications we make involve changing the trustee.  Unfortunately, we can only answer generally here because we don’t know the details of your trust or your individual situation, but, yes, often the trustee can be changed, even if the trust is irrevocable. Please call our office ASAP to [...]

Nosey Neighbor Nellie Can Find Out About Your Probate. Really.

By | October 16th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Most people think of probate as a private process. However, since wills are filed at the courthouse, probated estates become a matter of public record. That means your nosey neighbor Nellie can simply go down to the courthouse or hop online and find out about your probate. Really. It's Not Just Nellie That Has Access... After [...]

How to Avoid Sending Your Loved Ones (and Assets) through Probate

By | October 16th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Today many people are using a revocable living trust instead of a will or joint ownership as the foundation of their estate plan. When properly prepared, a living trust will avoid the public, costly and time-consuming court processes of conservatorship or guardianship (due to incapacity) or probate (after death). Still, many people make a big mistake [...]

5 Easy Tips to Simplify Your Year End Charitable Giving

By | October 16th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Are you planning on making charitable donations before the end of the year?  The IRS reminds us that you must itemize deductions on your tax return to claim a deduction for these gifts.  In addition, the following five tips can help make those year-end charitable gifts count. Tip #1 – Give to a Qualified Charity.  Only [...]

Warning: Don’t Let Creditors Inherit from You

By | October 16th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Shocking to most people, the retirement account you leave for your spouse can be seized in a divorce, lawsuit, or bankruptcy. 3 Options Available To Surviving Spouses When your surviving spouse inherits your IRA, he or she generally has three options: Cash out the inherited IRA and pay the associated income tax. WARNING: the cashed-out IRA [...]

Caution: Creditors Now Have Easy Access to Inherited IRAs

By | October 16th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Do you have IRAs or other retirement accounts that you plan to leave to your loved ones?  If so, proceed with caution.  Most people don’t know the law has changed: inherited retirement accounts no longer have asset protection, meaning they can be seized by strangers. How Can Inherited IRAs Be Protected?  Enter the Standalone Retirement Trust [...]