Blended families have become the norm in America. While blending families may be the norm these days it doesn’t mean that they blend easily. Often, it takes a significant amount of work and patience to create a harmonious blended family. Along with all of the work it takes to make your new family work, be sure that you also make changes to your estate plan that reflect your new blended family. For starters, review all of your old life insurance policies, retirement accounts and financial … [Read more...] about Estate Plan Changes for a Blended Family
A comprehensive estate plan typically encompasses much more than just a Last Will and Testament. For most people, it also includes things such as a life insurance policy, investment plans, trusts and even documents that you may not think of as estate planning documents like titles to property. Ideally, all of these documents will be coordinated; however, the world doesn’t always operate under ideal circumstances. Sometimes, two or more estate planning documents conflict. Imagine, for … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Documents – Which One Controls in a Conflict?
Sometimes people seek to contest Wills simply because they do not like the way the deceased distributed his or her property. However, in order to effectively contest a Will, you need to have legal grounds for doing so and not liking how the Will distributes property is not a legal ground for contesting a Will. Here are a few of the more common legal grounds that people use to contest Wills: Revocation: The Will submitted to Probate was actually revoked by the deceased, for example by creating a … [Read more...] about Grounds for Contesting Wills
An Executor's duties consist in part of gathering all of the assets of an estate. Most of you probably know this. What you may not know is that part of doing that can consist of reclaiming copyrights that the deceased previously assigned to someone else. In 1976, Congress was concerned that artists were being taken advantage of and assigning the copyrights to their original works for far less than the copyrights were actually worth. In contrast to many things Congress does, there was actually … [Read more...] about Reclaiming Copyrights
People often ask estate planning attorneys how they can make sure that their wishes are fulfilled after they pass away. People have a legitimate fear that their family will not listen to their wishes and obey the dictates in their estate plans. This is because they have heard horror stories about estate challenges gone awry. The truth is that estate planning attorneys have a variety of ways to make sure that your wishes are fulfilled. None of these methods are perfect by themselves, but used in … [Read more...] about How Good is a No Contest Clause?
American history is full of strange and mostly forgotten facts that we cannot believe to be true when we first hear about them. Yet, they are true. One such fact is that it was a mistake to designate money in a Will to be used to free slaves and appoint Thomas Jefferson as the Executor to carry out the task. That did happen and it was a mistake. Out of all of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson was probably the most opposed to slavery. He spoke out against it many times and often wrote … [Read more...] about A Strange Historical Fact
We have told you several different stories about the things that have gone wrong with celebrities' estates when they passed away without having a Will. It is a common theme as most Americans do not have Wills and things tend to go wrong with estates in that situation. However, things do not always go wrong when someone passes away without a Will. Sometimes, things go exceptionally well. For example, Abraham Lincoln did not have a Will when he was assassinated. In today's money, his entire … [Read more...] about Lincoln and the Lack of a Will
We have previously told you a couple of very basic, but important, estate planning tips. We have told you that when you make a new Will, you need to be sure that you destroy any old Wills. We have also told you that you need to make sure that your heirs can easily find your Will. A case in New York highlights why you need to listen to these tips. Elmer H. Bobst was multi-millionaire who passed away over 30 years ago. At the time, his estate was Probated and distributed according to Letters … [Read more...] about Destroy Old Wills
Many times in this space we have told you that when there is money involved in an estate, families will fight over that estate if they have any basis for doing so. This is why you need an estate plan so that your wishes are known. It helps avoid family fights. The fights are often not even about who gets what. Families can fight over other things if you do not have an estate plan. Consider the estate of rapper Nate Dogg who passed away without a Will. Someone still has to administer his estate … [Read more...] about Another Thing Families Can Fight About
Our last post was about what can happen if your college bound child gets into an accident and is incapacitated. We told you that you should get a Health Care Power of Attorney and a General Durable Power of Attorney ahead of time, so that you, or someone else, can handle the child's affairs. That information is worth repeating, but this time we are going to tell you why you might also want to get a Will for your college bound student. No parent wants to think about it, but the truth is that … [Read more...] about Your College Kid’s Junk