Planning the future for your loved ones

Estate Planning

Dying without a Will – Laws of Intestate Succession

As has been stressed, you should have a will before you pass on. So, what are the consequences if you don’t. Simply that everything about the fate of your estate is out of your hands and your assets are distributed to your next of kin, i.e. your closest family members, even if that is not […]

Updating Your Will

Creating your will is only half the battle, you must keep it up to date with any changes that will affect it. You may only need to change or add a few things or need to make major changes. Only you can do this; your Power of Attorney or Executor cannot. While there are many […]

Guardians/Conservators

After you are gone there may be minor children or other dependents, such as disabled or cognitively impaired adults, that still need to be cared for and supervised. To do this you will need to choose a legal guardian for them and include this in your will. You may choose multiple guardians, such as a […]

What Should be Included in a Will

The content of your last will and testament usually depends on your personal and financial situation and should include ALL of your assets. Any remaining assets will be managed by the probate court, so you may want to consider a residuary or “leftovers” clause to prevent this. It may be as simple as “I leave […]

Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries are the primary focus of your last will and testament and/or trusts set up in their behalf. These are the people or groups (such as a charitable organization) you choose to inherit part or all of your estate after your death You can list the name of a beneficiary, but you can assign a […]

Doing it Yourself

Attorneys and other estate planners do not come cheaply, so when it comes time to make your last will and testament, can you go it alone? While doing it yourself may be the fastest, easiest, and least expensive option, at least if your estate is very simple. Even in this case, it is best to […]

Inheritance Law

Most people assume that their close relatives will inherit only what is left to them in the will. However, when it comes to your spouse and descendants this may not be true. There are inheritance laws that regulate their rights to inherit your property. These inheritance laws are complex and have two major consequences. You […]

Last Will and Testament

The last will and testament is a major part of an estate plan and will ensure that the estate is settled according to your wishes. While there are other steps in estate planning, the will is the primary document to guide the process of settling an estate. You may also use your will to express […]

What Should Not be Included in a Will

Spoken-for Property Property that shouldn’t be included in your will is any that is not owned solely by you or is already spoken for upon your death. There is considerable overlap between this list and the non-probate assets list. The most common examples of this property include the following: Property held with rights of survivorship, […]

The Probate Process

Since probate is an important issue in estate planning, you will see the word probate come up a lot. Information about the probate process will be needed to help you better understand some of the details of estate planning. Probate is simply the legal process where the court or a judge verifies your will and […]

Sharing Your Estate Plan

Before finalizing an estate plan, you should consider whether or not you will share it with others. It can be difficult for some people, especially the elderly, to share all this financial and estate information while they are alive. When to share the plan is also something to consider carefully. Everyone who has access to […]

Will Options for Couples

While an individual will gives you complete control of your wishes after you die, for committed couples creating two wills can sometimes be an expensive process. There are other forms of wills that you and your partner can consider if each of you want the same thing after your death, i.e. passing your combined estate […]

Contesting Your Will

If you have considered everything carefully, have your will just the way you want it, and keep it up to date, can you be sure everything is done according to your wishes after you die? Not really, but there are two additional ways to improve your chances As we’ve seen above, the primary way is […]

Dying without a Will – Laws of Intestate Succession

As has been stressed, you should have a will before you pass on. So, what are the consequences if you don’t. Simply that everything about the fate of your estate is out of your hands and your assets are distributed to your next of kin, i.e. your closest family members, even if that is not […]

Updating Your Will

Creating your will is only half the battle, you must keep it up to date with any changes that will affect it. You may only need to change or add a few things or need to make major changes. Only you can do this; your Power of Attorney or Executor cannot. While there are many […]

Guardians/Conservators

After you are gone there may be minor children or other dependents, such as disabled or cognitively impaired adults, that still need to be cared for and supervised. To do this you will need to choose a legal guardian for them and include this in your will. You may choose multiple guardians, such as a […]

Your Executor/Personal Representative

The executor is the person you name to settle your will according to your directions. Your executor is entitled to a fee for their role in closing out your estate, but are not entitled to proceeds from the sale of the property of your estate. Many states mandate this fee and some states even govern […]

What Should be Included in a Will

The content of your last will and testament usually depends on your personal and financial situation and should include ALL of your assets. Any remaining assets will be managed by the probate court, so you may want to consider a residuary or “leftovers” clause to prevent this. It may be as simple as “I leave […]

Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries are the primary focus of your last will and testament and/or trusts set up in their behalf. These are the people or groups (such as a charitable organization) you choose to inherit part or all of your estate after your death You can list the name of a beneficiary, but you can assign a […]

Estates and Taxes

Like the end of life, taxes are also inevitable when your estate is passed on. There are five ways your estate may be taxed after you die, three of which will be paid by your beneficiaries and two by your estate. Tax Description When Assessed When Due Payor Gift Tax A tax on any gift […]

Estate Planning Checklist

Once you have detailed your assets, chosen beneficiaries and executors or trustees, and decided on how to disperse your assets, you should choose the most effective ways to accomplish and document the estate plan. Here is a checklist of the tools, documents, information, and measures that you need to make estate planning more efficient, especially […]