Enhanced Life Estate Deeds (aka Lady Bird Deeds)
A Lady Bird Deed (“LBD”) is a deed that transfers a person’s (the “grantor”) interest to another (the “remainderman”) but reserves a life estate in favor of the grantor. Unlike a traditional life estate deed, a LBD’s retained life estate interest includes not only the right to occupy and use the property, but also includes the ability to sell, convey, lease, or mortgage the property without the consent of the remaindermen. The grantor has no obligation to obtain permission of the remaindermen to take any of these actions and does not have an obligation to account to them for any income the grantor receives. This is the key distinction between a life estate deed and a LBD. Read more
Hill Country Landowners Say Kinder Morgan is Lowballing Them. Special Courts are Agreeing.
Kay Pence owns a ranch in the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg. About a year ago, she got a call from the pipeline company Kinder Morgan. The caller told her the company planned to run a section of its 430-mile Permian Highway natural gas pipeline through her property. Pence didn’t like that. “This is going to sound overreactive, but you felt violated,” Pence says. “They have access to your property, and there was nothing you could do.” In Texas, pipeline companies have the power of eminent domain. That means they can take private land even if the landowner doesn’t want to sell. The company only needs to pay a fair price. Companies say this allows them to build the infrastructure necessary to move oil and gas. But a fair price can be hard to settle on. Read more
One Water: Projects in Motion
Ian Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at New Braunfels Utilities, knows his city is growing, fast. And that with that growth means looking at new ideas to manage resources. “I really struggled with [One Water] because … it was just kind of this out there concept,” Taylor explained at the Texas Water Symposium held on November 21, 2019 in San Marcos. “I had trouble trying to figure out how to nail it down and figure out how you apply this thing. I think what I came to realize was … it’s not a prescriptive program. It’s more of a paradigm. It’s more of a lens through which you view how you manage water resources.” The One Water concept re-imagines how communities manage traditional and non-traditional water sources in order to achieve the triple bottom line—providing benefits for humans, the environment, and the economy. Read more
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