In the age of the internet, it is easy to locate online legal forms such as Do-It-Yourself ("DIY") Wills and other estate planning instruments. Some people think that using a DIY Will form can save you both time and money. But there's a catch - your loved ones may pay the price for your shortcut because of the common problems with DIY Wills. Common Problems with DIY Wills: It may be tempting to download a form Last Will and Testament, fill in the blanks, and call it a day. Doing … [Read more...] about DIY Dangers – Why You Need an Estate Planning Attorney
Wills and Trusts
Before you sit down to draft your Last Will and Testament you will undoubtedly spend a considerable amount of time contemplating the gifts you intend to make in your Will. Who will you include in the Will? Which beneficiary will receive which assets? Like most people, these are all questions you might ask yourself. Unlike like most people, you shouldn't make the mistake of giving very little thought to the appointment of your Executor. What to Consider Before Appointing Your Executor Many … [Read more...] about Five Questions to Consider before Appointing Your Executor
What should you do if you have a Last Will and Testament that you wish to change or revoke? One frequent mistake is to simply write the words “Revoked” on the document; however, that may not accomplish what you intend it to – in fact, it may not accomplish anything. Understanding why you should never write on your Will is important. Your Last Will and Testament typically serves as the foundation for a comprehensive estate plan. Like most legal documents, your Will should be reviewed and … [Read more...] about Why You Should Not Try to Revoke a Will Yourself
When most people think of the purpose of a Last Will and Testament they envision the distribution of estate assets after death. While your Will does allow you to decide who will receive which assets after your death, it can also serve one other vitally important purpose – allowing you the opportunity to nominate a guardian for minor children. In fact, your Will is the only chance you will have to officially tell a judge who you would want to assume the care of your children if you are gone. … [Read more...] about Questions To Consider When Choosing a Guardian for Minor Children
When discussing estate planning you may have heard the term “pour over Will” used at some point and wondered “What is a pour over Will and do I need one?” The simple answer to that is that if you are relying on a revocable living trust to handle the fate of your estate assets after your death you should also create a pour over Will as well. A Last Will and Testament typically serves as the foundation of an estate plan; however, you may choose to rely on a revocable living trust to handle your … [Read more...] about What Is a Pour Over Will and Do I Need One?
When you sit down to create or revise your estate plan you may decide to include a trust agreement in your overall plan. Among the many benefits of including a trust is that trusts have evolved to the point where there seems to be a specialized trust for just about every estate planning goal or objective. A QTIP trust, for example, is an excellent way to provide for a second spouse while still protecting and reserving assets for your children. All trusts share the same basic elements – a … [Read more...] about What Is a QTIP Trust?
In years past, trusts were used almost exclusively by wealthy families as a tool to pass down the family fortune while avoiding estate taxes and retaining some degree of control over the assets held by the trust. Trusts have come a long way, however, since those days and are now commonly used by anyone creating a comprehensive estate. If you are contemplating the addition of a trust in your estate plan you may be wondering how you fund your trust. Funding a trust is actually very simple. A … [Read more...] about How Do I Fund My Trust?
One of the most commonly used types of trusts is a revocable living trust. A revocable living trust offers a variety of benefits to the settlor, or person who created the trust. People often use a revocable living trust as part of their incapacity plan, for example. By naming a spouse/parent/adult child as the successor trustee to your living trust you allow for immediate transfer of control over trust assets in the event of your incapacity. If you decide that a living trust would be a valuable … [Read more...] about How Do I Fund My Revocable Trust?
Estate planning can be a very complex process involving numerous strategies and tools. At its most basic, however, estate planning starts with the creation of a Last Will and Testament. People often make the mistake of assuming that they need to have a large estate with complicated assets in order to utilize the services of an estate planning attorney to create an estate plan. The truth, however, is that even the creation of a simple Will should be done with the assistance of a professional … [Read more...] about Does Your Law Firm Do Wills?
Just a few generations ago trusts were used primarily by very wealthy families as a way to pass down the family wealth while maintaining some degree of control over the money. Today, trusts can still accomplish that goal; however, they can also do much more. For this reason, even the average estate planner often includes at least one trust in his or her estate plan. For many people, they choose to include a living trust. To decide if a living trust might be a beneficial addition to your estate … [Read more...] about Why Should I Have A Living Trust?