Latest & Greatest – Special Needs Trusts: Protect Your Child’s Financial Future

By Kevin Urbatsch & Michele Fuller-Urbatsch  Published by Nolo  KF 480 .Z9 E45 2017

By Kevin Urbatsch & Michele Fuller-Urbatsch

Published by Nolo

KF 480 .Z9 E45 2017

Parents of children with special needs understand that their loved ones require not only special care but also special planning. In most, if not in all, cases, individuals with special needs receive benefits under governmental programs, such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. However, unless arrangements are made, any funds the child will receive by way of inheritance will affect the provision of any governmental benefits. Special needs trusts (SNT) are a legal mechanism that permits the leaving of money to a loved one without jeopardizing the receipt of governmental benefits. If you are unfamiliar with SNTs or are unsure of how to establish one, have a look at Nolo’s Special Needs Trusts: Protect Your Child’s Financial Future. This book explains the nuts and bolts of how SNTs work and who can benefit from them. It also addresses how the trust funds can and cannot be used, how to create and draft the SNT, and how to and finalize and fund the trust. Of course, you also need to determine who will administer the trust and act as trustee. For this important topic, the authors use two chapters to explain how to choose a trustee and what the duties of that trustee will be. Other topics of interest include ABLE accounts, pooled trusts, and letters of intent. 

If you or someone you know has a loved one with disabilities, be sure to read Nolo’s Special Needs Trusts: Protect Your Child’s Financial Future. It could allow you to rest easy knowing that your child or loved one will be provided for when you are no longer here. You can find it in the Law Library’s Self-Help Collection.

Also, the Law Library has developed a Special Needs Legal Resource Guide with a listing of self-help resources, in-depth legal research materials, and resources available from the Texas State Law Library, the government, and Houston Bar Association.

Happy National Space Day

As the public law library for Space City, we’ve taken a special interest in space law. And there are plenty of interesting things in Texas law about space, including the Texas Administrative Code provision pictured here on procedures for astronauts to vote from outer space! Celebrate National Space Day by taking a look at the Harris County Law Library’s accumulated knowledge of space law via the links below:

Space Laws

  • The Outer Space Treaty, the multilateral agreement that established the governance of state activities in the exploration and use of outer space, was signed by more than 100 countries. It was first proposed by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in August of 1966, making this the 50th anniversary of its conception.

Space Law Collection

Further Reading

Law Day 2019 - Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society

Today, we celebrate the rule of law.

Today is Law Day. Law Day was established by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 and subsequently codified by Congress in 1961 (see 36 U.S.C. §113) as a day for celebration of the rule of law. Each year, the American Bar Association establishes a theme to help focus our attention on an area of law that is timely and pertinent. This year, the theme is “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.”

Free Speech: A view from the bench

To honor this year’s theme, the Harris County Law Library has created an online exhibit entitled Free Speech: A view from the bench. Visit the exhibit to learn about different factors judges take into account when reviewing issues concerning freedom of speech under the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Houston Bar Association Law Week Poster Contest

Each year the Houston Bar Association holds a poster contest and encourages area K-12 students to express the meaning of Law Day artistically. The Harris County Law Library is proud to partner with the HBA to display award-winning entries throughout this week-long celebration of the rule of law.

Latest & Greatest – Confessions

By Alan K. Curry  Published by Texas District & County Attorneys Association  KFT 9664 .S76 2019

By Alan K. Curry

Published by Texas District & County Attorneys Association

KFT 9664 .S76 2019

Confessions are a crucial part of the evidence that is gathered during the investigation and prosecution of a criminal defendant. As such, it is important for attorneys, both on the prosecution side and the defense side, to understand the law surrounding these statements, especially those obtained during a custodial interrogation. In this regard, Confessions begins with the basics of confession law: what is a confession, what are the pertinent federal and Texas statutes that govern confessions, and what are the differences between federal and state confession law. The author then moves on to the heart of confession law: the custodial interrogation. Here, the reader will find a discussion of Miranda, its required warnings, and the exceptions to that requirement; in-depth explanations of the two key events that trigger Miranda: custody and interrogation; and an analysis of what occurs when a defendant invokes his rights under Miranda. Subsequent chapters address written and oral statements and some of the rules governing the admissibility of such assertions, statements and confessions made by juveniles, and hearings and trials. The author also explains some interrogation techniques and discusses false confessions and recantations and how those false confessions can be identified. Of course, no discussion of interrogation and confessions would be complete without an examination of the prosecutor’s ethical duties in obtaining or using a defendant’s confession. 

Confessions is one of many books in the Law Library’s collection published by Texas District & County Attorneys Association. If you are looking for resources that concisely explain various aspects, issues, and topics of interest to the criminal lawyer, have a look at this book and others, including Traffic Stops, Expunction and Nondisclosure, Predicates, DWI Investigation & Prosecution, and Punishment & Probation.

Law Library Recognized by American Association of Law Libraries

Yesterday, the American Association of Law Libraries announced the individuals and institutions honored as part of the organization’s 2019 Awards Program. The Harris County Law Library was recognized with two awards, both of which highlight our work to ensure access to information for those who need it most in Harris County.


The Law Library’s Pro Se Litigant Handbook was recognized with the Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award. The Handbook combines information about sources of forms and local assistance for self-represented litigants with guidance on courtroom procedure and decorum. The Award highlights “a significant textual contribution to legal literature.” Our staff is immensely honored to receive such a prestigious award for our efforts to help those in our community who are unable to afford legal representation access the legal information they need.


The Law Library was also honored to receive the inaugural Excellence in Community Engagement Award for our Harvey Recovery Resources webpage. When Hurricane Harvey poured record-setting rains on our community, assistance came from all directions. Our law librarians jumped into action - even before our facility reopened - to collect and organize information about programs meant to help our neighbors impacted by the storm with their legal needs. Hundreds in our community accessed the page and community partners shared it with clients. For us, it was a natural way to show the same spirit so many in our community exemplified to pull together and lend a hand to those in need. Our staff is very honored for the recognition and we hope it inspires law librarians throughout the AALL community to lend their talents when their neighbors need access to legal information the most.

For more about the American Association of Law Library and the Annual Awards Program, visit