Tarrant County, TX Consumer Law

 
Fort Worth, Texas 76101
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Welcome Tarrant County, TX consumers! Congratulations on deciding to defend your rights under Texas law! Our seasoned lawyer editors have been translating legalese into plain English for over 35 years.

Here you'll find free tools, plain-English explanations of federal, state, and local laws and procedures, and the best local Texas resources on Probate & Inheritance Law, Bankruptcy, Unemployment BenefitsWage & Hour Laws, Obamacare (ACA -Affordable Care Act),Child Custody Law, and Democracy & Voting Rights.

Free Texas Resources For Consumers

Texans enjoy several generous protections under state law, ranging from the unlimited protection of real estate in its homestead exemption,  to its ample protection of personal property (up to $50,000!! far more than many states) in bankruptcy.

And, most Texans can take advantage of efficient small estate procedures, especially if they use and use probate-avoidance methods available in Texas.

Texas consumer law has several unique aspects that set it apart from other states, particularly in areas such as bankruptcy, child custody, inheritance law, wage and hour law, including wage garnishment, and debt collection procedures and laws. Here's an overview:

  1. Bankruptcy: Texas offers generous exemptions for those filing for bankruptcy. For instance, the Texas homestead exemption is particularly broad, allowing unlimited value in one's home, provided it doesn't exceed 10 acres in a city, town, or village, or 100 acres elsewhere (200 acres for families). This means that in bankruptcy, individuals can protect a significant amount of property from being liquidated to pay creditors.

  2. Child Custody: In Texas, there is a presumption for joint managing conservatorship, meaning both parents share duties and rights regarding the child. This differs from sole custody, where one parent has exclusive rights and duties. Texas law focuses on the best interest of the child, with factors including the child’s desires, the physical and emotional needs of the child, any danger to the child, and the stability of the home environment.

  3. Inheritance Law: Texas is a community property state, meaning that all property acquired during marriage is considered jointly owned by both spouses and is divided equally upon divorce. This can significantly impact inheritance, as spouses typically inherit all community property. Additionally, if a person dies without a will, Texas law has specific rules for how their property is distributed, which is different from many other states.

  4. Wage and Hour Law including Wage Garnishment: Texas has strict laws regarding wage garnishment. Creditors cannot garnish wages for consumer debt like credit cards, personal loans, or medical bills. However, there are exceptions for child support, student loans, federal taxes, and criminal restitution. The state also sets its own minimum wage and work hour regulations, which can be more stringent than federal law.

  5. Debt Collection Procedures and Laws: Texas law provides a number of protections to consumers against abusive or unfair debt collection practices. Debt collectors are prohibited from using fraudulent, coercive, or abusive tactics to collect debts. Texas also has a statute of limitations on debt, which limits the amount of time a creditor can pursue legal action to collect a debt.

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Tools and Resources for Tarrant County, TX Consumers

Texas Inheritance Law & Probate Procedure

  • Texas PROBATE COURT FINDER:
  • How Probate Works in Texas: How to handle the probate of an inheritance at Tarrant County's probate court.
  • Small Estates Procedures in Texas: Learn how to use Texas's Small Estate procedures that can save you time and money.
    • In Texas you can use an Affidavit if the entire estate, not including homestead and exempt property, is worth $75,000 or less and there's no Will.  A probate judge must approve the Affidavit. Can be used to transfer homestead, but no other real estate. There is a 30-day waiting period.

      Tex. Est. Code 205.001-008.

      You can use a summary probate procedure if the value of the property doesn't exceed what's needed to pay family allowance and certain creditors.

      Tex. Est. Code 354.001.

      "Independent administration" is available, regardless of value of estate, it is requested in the Will or all inheritors agree to it.

      Tex. Est. Code 401.001 and following.

      Texas offers simpler procedures available for smaller estates. The two most common options are:

      1. Small Estate Affidavit: This is a simplified probate process that can be used when the value of the deceased person's assets, excluding real estate, is $75,000 or less. The deceased person must have had a valid will, or if they did not have a will, they must have died intestate (without a will) and met certain other criteria. The person who is entitled to inherit the property can complete a small estate affidavit and present it to the holder of the property (such as a bank or other financial institution) to transfer the property to them. Texas Estates Code § 205.001-205.008.

      2. Muniment of Title: This is a court order that can be used to transfer title of property when the deceased person had a valid will and there are no outstanding debts or liabilities other than those secured by liens on real property. This process does not involve the appointment of an executor, and can be used when the value of the estate, excluding real estate, is $75,000 or less. Texas Estates Code § 257.001-257.010.

      It's important to note that these simplified procedures may not be appropriate or available in all cases, and the specific requirements and procedures may vary depending on the circumstances. It's always a good idea to consult with an experienced probate attorney to determine the best course of action.

      Sources:

  • Texas Estate Taxes:
    • Texas, like most states, does not impose an estate or inheritance tax. Only a few states do.

  • Avoiding Probate in Texas. Find out what property bypasses probate death and goes directly to beneficiaries. such as:

Texas Wage & Hour Law

  • Texas Minimum Wage:  
    • Texas has a minimum wage law. The current minimum wage in Texas is $7.25 per hour for non-exempt employees, which matches the federal minimum wage. However, a new law, the Texas Fair Minimum Wage Act, was signed in 2023, and it will gradually increase the state's minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2026. The law will take effect on January 1, 2024, with an initial increase to $9.50 per hour

      Tarrant County Minimum Wage

      The minimum wage in Tarrant County is $9.50 an hour, the state minimum wage. Texas law prohibits city and county governments from adopting a local minimum wage that's higher than the state minimum wage. 

      Fort Worth Minimum Wage

      The minimum wage in Fort Worth, Texas, is $9.50 an hour, the state minimum wage. Texas law prohibits city and county governments from adopting a local minimum wage that's higher than the state minimum wage.

  • Overtime Pay: Every state has rules about weekly maximum hours and overtime. Learn about the overtime laws in Texas and whether they apply to you.
  • Wage Claims: If you're being unlawfully underpaid, you need to learn how to file a "Wage Claim" in Texas. 
  • Tips : Every state has special pay rates for tipped workers. Find out the rules for tipped workers in Texas.
    • In Texas, your employer may pay you a minimum wage of $2.13 an hour, as long as you earn enough in tips to bring your total hourly pay up to the full minimum wage, $7.25 an hour. If you don’t earn enough in tips to bring your compensation to the full minimum wage, your employer must make up the difference.

  • State Labor Board:

Texas Unemployment Benefits


Bankruptcy & Debt


Child Custody & Family Courts in Texas 


Texas Obamacare


Democracy In Texas, Tarrant County, Fort Worth 


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