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Designation of Homestead Appeases Lawyers Concern Over Will.

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 21, 1999--

Homer had always born the brunt of his brother's wrath.

Jacob, two years Homer's senior, had always resented his brother during their years growing up and had never passed up an opportunity to torment Homer in any way he could. Their parents had always been at a loss to understand Jacob's attitude.

They had shown both boys an equal amount of love and attention, but Jacob was apparently one of those people who just needed more attention than their share.

Both of the brothers stayed on the farm into their twenties. By now it had become the largest farm in three counties. Jacob continued the rivalry but Homer did his best to ignore his brother's jibes and constant attempts to stir up trouble. Realizing the problem was serious; the parents made a very big decision about their wills.

They had a proviso put in that required that the family farm be sold upon their deaths and the proceeds be equally divided between their two sons. They knew this might be painful to Jacob and Homer, but they also knew that leaving the farm to them both would be out of the question, and to leave out to just one of them would be unfair to the other.

Hiram passed away when Homer was 29. By that time, he had married and moved off of the farm to a small farm of his own. Jacob had married too, but he brought his bride to the family home. Jessica didn't mind. Jacob's wife was a lovely girl and they got along well. Then, five years after Hiram died, Jessica also passed away.

Although both of the sons had been told about the contents of the will, it still came as a great shock to Jacob when it was read. He didn't have the money to purchase the farm so he and his wife had to leave so the property could be sold. He didn't demonstrate good grace upon leaving the farm and in fact, made threats against his brother. Homer, upon hearing this, shook his head sadly.

The farm was sold and the proceeds divided equally among the brothers, just as the will had provided. Homer resigned himself to getting on with his life, without his brother as part of it. Jacob had settled on a rented farm on the other side of town, which meant they were far enough apart that communication, for the most part, wasn't necessary.

The money Homer had received from the sale of his parents' farm had come at a good time. Expenses were running pretty high because Homer had had to make some immediate improvements to his farm. It was only 160 acres, but it needed a lot of work. Also, his wife had been ill; that had cost quite a bit of money too. He had put a little away, but not much.

Then, one day, responding to a knock on the door, Homer was handed a subpoena. Jacob was suing him, claiming he should have had more than half the proceeds of the sale of their parents' farm. According to Jacob, the fact that he'd stayed on after Homer left for his own farm and had assisted their parents meant he should be entitled to an extra share of the proceeds.

After getting over his initial astonishment, Homer was stricken with fear. He knew the claim was false; Jacob really hadn't done all that much work around the farm. He was never all that industrious, and most of the work had been done by hired help. But you never knew what a court of law might do.

Homer had spent most of his inheritance. He simply didn't have anything to fall back on if the judgement were to go against him. The thought struck him anew. He could lose his farm! The place he'd worked so hard to turn into a success. He felt helpless. He tried talking to his brother but Jacob wouldn't discuss it. His mind was made up. He wanted money.

Sitting in a local cafe having coffee one morning, he was quietly discussing his fears with a friend. Their waitress, overhearing what was being said, finally spoke to Homer. "Homer, I'm sorry if you think I'm being nosy, but I couldn't help overhearing what you were saying. You know, there is a way you can protect most, if not all of your property."

Homer looked at her quizzically, "How?" "Well, you remember when I got divorced last year? That bum thought he was going to bleed me dry by taking away everything I had ever earned ... even the house. He bragged to his friend that one day soon he'd be living in my house and I'd be out. Then a friend told me about the Texas Designation of Homestead Act. Now it's not the same as the Homestead Tax Exemption.

"This one protects your property, sometimes up to 160 acres. Also, if you're like me, you hate to have to deal with legal papers. My friend advised me to contact Homestead Recording Service. When I heard you talking I went and got their phone number out of my purse. It's 800/400-1693."

Homer followed her advice and contacted Homestead Recording Service immediately. The rep sent him the information, then filled out the form and even filed it for him at County Seat. After this was accomplished, Homer drew the first deep breath he'd drawn in months. His home was safe.

If the judgement went against him, he'd deal with it somehow, but his home would remain his home, safe from creditors, including Jacob. And the day they got the news that the Designation of Homestead had been filed was the same day Homer's wife informed him he was going to be a father. With news like that, nothing could dampen his spirits ever again.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 21, 1999
Words:980
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