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Texas
July 2010
 
Legal Humor
"It's like seeing your mother-in-law drive over a cliff in your new Cadillac."


Don Barrett,
American Lawyer,
Describing his reaction when jurors found for his client but awarded no damages because they said both parties were at fault

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Updates Review

2010 Updates

August WebUpdate
Civil Cover Sheet - Numerous attorneys have asked us about the new Civil Cover Sheet. We will add that form to nearly every ProDoc volume and WebUpdate the changes to you in August, before the form becomes mandatory September 1.

July WebUpdate
In early to mid-July we will provide a WebUpdate containing the following:

  1. Business Organizations - We're making minor changes to statutory citations.
  2. Family Law - We're updating the Harris County Child Support Information Sheet form and we're updating the Petition for Writ of Mandamus to meet the new Texas Supreme Court requirements.
  3. Landlord/Tenant - We're making minor changes to statutory citations.
  4. Litigation - We're updating the Petition for Writ of Mandamus to meet the new Texas Supreme Court requirements. We're also updating the Motion and Order for Pro Hac Vice to match the changes required Federal Eastern District Court, of Texas.
  5. Updating ProDoc and SOS to support Corel WordPerfect® X5.

June Update
We sent you the following updates via CD earlier this month:

  • AdoptionsWe revised the Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity form to match the updated agency form.  And, based on customer requests, we added more space in which to type in the name of an alleged father in the termination section of the volume.
  • Business Organizations – When registering an LLP, you can now list the number of general partners in the LLP at the time of registration pursuant to a change by the Texas Secretary of State. We also added 45 new forms to this volume.
  • Business Transactions Solutions – We updated the Directors', Officers' and Principal Shareholders' Questionnaire form per an update from the author, Alan S Gutterman.
  • Family Law – We updated the Qualified Domestic Relations Order for the Employee Retirement System of Texas. We made the inclusion of the social security numbers of the parties optional to match regulation changes by the agency which administers the plan.
  • Foreclosures – We enhanced the coding of two forms, the Authenticated Claim of Creditor and the Warranty Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, to make them work better with other forms.
  • Guardianship – We added three new forms to the volume: Notice to Interested Parties - Probate Code 633, Affidavit of Compliance - Probate Code 633, and Guardianship Referral to Harris County Probate Courts (Harris).
  • Litigation - We revised the Motion - Federal - Pro Hac Vice, with Order form to match updated agency form. We also added four forms in compliance with Federal Bankruptcy rules and updated one form to match TWC agency changes.
  • Real Estate – We modified a reference from Texas Business and Commerce Code to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. We also updated four agency forms and added 14 new forms.
  • Probate – We updated the Affidavit of Heirship for a Motor Vehicle form. We also updated 13 forms to match statutory references and modified the formatting in two forms.
  • Lipman’s Wills & Trusts – We revised approximately 100 forms with numerous enhancements, including:
  1. We modified and improving the fee agreements so that you now have more options available when creating these forms.
  2. We added a new form that revokes your client’s existing revocable trust. The form comes in six different versions depending on who created the trust that is being revoked.
  3. We revised the deed forms so that you can now draft an unlimited number of deeds at one time. Each of the deeds will be sent to a single output file, with one letter following the other.
  4. We improved and renamed the forms that were previously called Memorandum Regarding Transfer of Accounts. We reworked the forms so that they are now letters from your client to the financial institutions. And, you can now choose to draft an unlimited number of these letters at one time. Each of the letters will be sent to a single output file, with one letter following the other.
  5. You now have the option to draft trust agreements without withdrawal rights in all of the irrevocable trusts that contain Crummey withdrawal rights.
  6. We modified the language regarding the creation of pet trusts so that other provisions relating to the early termination of uneconomical trusts will not apply to pet trusts.
  7. We removed the Widow and Orphan format settings from every form. There will be places where the forms previously looked better than they do now, and you will find that certain provisions, notary acknowledgments especially, start on one page and end on the next. However, the formatting has been improved a great deal, especially for users of Microsoft® Word.
  8. We enhanced most of the wills and revocable trusts so you now have the option to include several different types of clauses for payment of taxes and expenses.
  • ProDoc/SOS Database Enhancement - We also released a database enhancement to make your ProDoc more stable and reliable.

Visit here for more information about this update >>

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If Your ProDoc No Longer Opens
If your ProDoc no longer opens, it probably has timed out on you. If that has happened, you need to install the June update and reregister ProDoc on your computer(s).

We suggest that you read the Preparation for Installing the June Update section below before you begin the installation.

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Preparation for Installing the June Update
If you already installed the June update, please ignore the following:

The June update includes a one-time-only database enhancement. As a result, the installation process has special requirements and will take longer. Please read this and the next article carefully before initiating the installation from the CD.

The database enhancement in this update has minimum system requirements that include the most current Microsoft Windows Service Pack for your operating system. If that is not installed on your computer/server, you will not be able to complete the installation of the update.

However, you should have the most current Service Pack installed for your peace of mind. Microsoft Service Packs contain bug fixes and even more importantly, they contain patches to known vulnerabilities in the Operating System. You should have automatic updating turned on but, if not, here is your opportunity to get current.

Here is how to check how current you are with your operating system: On your desktop click Start > click My Computer > click System. On the System window, look for the Service Pack information. If the most current Service Pack version does not display as shown below, be sure to download and install the most current Service Pack before installing the May update.

Operating System Most Recent Service Pack
Microsoft Windows 2000 Windows 2000 SP4
Microsoft Windows XP Windows XP SP3
Microsoft Windows Vista1 Windows Vista SP1
Windows Vista SP2
Microsoft Windows 7 None needed

1Unlike service packs for other Microsoft Operating Systems, SP2 for Vista is not a standalone service pack. It requires SP1 to be installed. If neither service pack is installed on your Vista Operating System, first install the Windows Vista SP1 and then the Windows Vista SP2.

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REALLY Helpful Hints for Installing Your ProDoc Update
If you already installed the June update, please ignore the following:

But, if you have not yet not installed the June update, please read the following before proceeding with your installation:

Time Your Installation for the Last Task of the Day
This time only, you will need to reboot/restart your computer during the installation process. So, and particularly if your installation is on a network server, we strongly advise that you wait to run the installation until everyone else is off the network.

Lengthier Installation
This installation will take longer than a typical ProDoc update. This is a one-time occurrence and we ask that you be patient with this process.

Your Computer Server Will Restart - Leave the CD in the Computer
The installation process will continue after the restart so do not remove the CD until you click the Finish button.

Installation Messages
You may encounter system messages during your installation process. Most commonly they are triggered because you have not installed all the Microsoft Windows service packs or you do not have administrative rights on the computer.

If you encounter any messages, please go to www.prodoc.com/install-2010/ to view our list of potential system messages you may encounter, what they mean, what to do about them, and who to call if you encounter problems with the installation.

Potential Issue After You Open ProDoc
The registration code you entered when you installed ProDoc governs how many users in your firm can simultaneously access ProDoc. If your firm received a network license and individual computer licenses (to install ProDoc on a laptop, for instance), it is possible that the registration codes were misapplied during the original installation. For example, if your firm registered a network server with an individual computer license (if your firm requested any), after this installation only one person will be able to access ProDoc at a time. If this issue should arise, call our Tech Support team at 800-759-5418, option 3.

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Customer Questions from the Last WebNotes
The following questions were from ProDoc customers like you in response to last month's ProDoc WebNotes.

Q: Why can't another user from my firm find and edit documents that are specific to my attorneys, and that I've prepared in ProDoc? Can't this program be networked to encompass all our clients and documents?
A: It sounds like ProDoc is not properly installed on your network. Call our Tech Support team at 800-759-5418, option 3) for free assistance with your network installation.

Q: I recently purchased a new laptop with Windows 7 as its operating system. What must I do to stop using the old laptop and use its license (one of two) to use ProDoc on the new laptop which has no ProDoc program on it presently?
A: Go ahead and install ProDoc on the new laptop. You have 15 days in which to license that installation. Contact our Tech Support team at 800-759-5418, option 3) for assistance in transferring the license to your new laptop and transferring over the appropriate ProDoc files.

Q: Does ProDoc support Microsoft Office® 2010?
A: We're working on support for Microsoft Windows Office 2010 - watch for details about a near term release of this enhancement. This month's WebUpdate includes support for Corel WordPerfect Office X5.

Q: I use the Lipman's estate planning volume every day. In the volume, there is a form for the drafting attorney to complete and give to an assistant to prepare the documents. The form contains a series of questions that need to be answered to draft the document. I don't like the design of the form provided in the volume. I would love for the volume to contain a form the attorney could print out and complete that would be easy for the assistant to use.
A: We passed your comments on to Mr. Lipman for his consideration of your suggestion. Meanwhile, it is quite simple to create a customized intake form using ProDoc volume questions for your use. You'll find instructions here for creating your customized intake form(s).

Q: I note in some of your Texas business organization forms reference to "telegram" and "telex" as in:". . . telegram, telex, cablegram or similar transmission . . " I note there is no reference to facsimile or e-mail!! If you use such a phrase, looks like your document should read "facsimile, e-mail or similar transmission" instead of using telegram and telex as the example words.
A: Our forms must be current, and in this case that means addressing the profound changes that have been taking place in electronic communications. We are putting this on our enhancement list with a high priority, although we cannot say exactly how soon we will be able to get that language changed.

Q: The requirement to fill in numerical answers (like date of death, etc., amounts due in foreclosure situations, etc..) causes havoc to me when I want to leave it blank for the time being. Because of your requirement, I have to put in fake figures;(like 01/01/1900 or $33333333333333333). I wish instead you had some rejection or warning if I tried to insert anything other than numbers. In other words, let the regular default blank appear in the document if I don't want to fill it in or I don't have the needed information at that point.
A: Forcing you to type numerical answers or date answers in a particular format are all done specifically for programming purposes. When we do calculations in ProDoc, we have to have numerical values and not just “blanks”. Because we know it’s an irritant, we only require you to enter those values when we use the answer for a calculation elsewhere. As just one example, we ask the date of death in a certain format to calculate the time that has passed since the date of death for extensions on the probate inventory. We hope that the overall benefit outweighs the occasional irritations when you would rather simply insert a placeholder value.

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ProDoc Customer Support: Save Editing Time Using Case Data Sheets
There is a faster and easier way to conduct the initial review of ProDoc-generated documents using the Case Data Sheet feature.

Your legal assistant/paralegal can quickly and easily print a Case Data Sheet after generating a document. The Case Data Sheet shows all of the document assembly and client matter choices your legal assistant/paralegal made during the assembly process. If some of the choices are incorrect, it is much easier to spot those issues on the Case Data Sheet with all of the boilerplate stripped out. This process also makes it very easy for your assistant to identify the data to be corrected and then make those revisions.

After such a review of the Case Data Sheet, when your legal assistant/paralegal presents the document(s) for your review, you can feel more confident that the major legal issues are already resolved. This provides you more time to focus on the finer legal issues.

Learn how to use case data sheets >>

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Practice Tip: Succession Planning
Leaving practice, for whatever reason, is less daunting when you have a plan in place. You'll find below a checklist for succession planning and a success story of a smooth transition in a solo firm.

Read Exit, Stage Left! A Succession Planning Checklist for Lawyers >>
Read Keys to the Succession Process: A Success Story >>

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Tech Tip: ABA's Smart Phone Buying Guide
If you're not a techy-type, you may be overwhelmed with your choices for smart phones. The recently released ABA smart phone buying guide provides a basic primer on operating system options, software applications (Apps), models and features, and coverage and carriers that you might find enlightening.

Read the ABA Smart phone buying guide >>

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Tech Tip: Using a Wiki to Promote Collaboration
What's a wiki and why on earth would our firm ever need one—both reasonable questions. However, at least one large law firm has found wikis invaluable for promoting and simplifying collaboration within its ranks. They found that the wikis in their firm were quick and easy to set up, required very little IT support, and provided benefits beyond their initial expectations.

Read Collaboration Through Wikis at Hicks Morley >>

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Tech Tip: Taming Your Email Inbox
Handy as email is, it can be exasperating dealing with the flood of email we deal with every day. With a little planning, however, you can make tame the email beast— leaving more time for everything else you would rather be doing than dealing with your email.

Read The Inbox Ninjas: Helping You Chop Through Your E-Mail Inbox >>

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Vent—Tell Us What's on Your Mind
This is your opportunity to what's on your mind. Email us your suggestions and other feedback.

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ProDoc, a Thomson Reuters company - 962 Coronado Boulevard - Universal City, Texas 78148
Phone: 800-759-5418

ProDoc® and SOS® are registered trademarks of West Publishing Corporation. All other trademarks are the
property of their respective owners.

1 This document assembly system is not a product of the State Bar of Texas and is not endorsed by the State Bar. The material in this system is provided by Thomson Reuters under a license from the State Bar of Texas, which took no part in producing the system. The license agreement between Thomson Reuters and the State Bar of Texas contains specific disclaimers of the State Bar's Liability with regard to the system and its contents, to which interested persons should refer. The material in this system is also contained in the Texas Family Law Practice Manual, 2nd Ed., The Texas Collections Manual, 3rd ed., The Texas Real Estate Forms Manual, the Texas Foreclosure Manual, 2nd ed., and the Texas Pattern Jury Charges, published by the State Bar of Texas and are intended for use in conjunction with those publications.