Estate Planning

Dying without a Will – Laws of Intestate Succession

Dying without a Will – Laws of Intestate Succession What are the consequences if you don’t arrange a will before passing away? Everything about the fate of your estate will be 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

Updating Your Will Creating a New Will Revoking a Will Altering a Will Using Codicils (Addenda or Additions) Creating your will is only half the work. You must keep it up to date with any changes that will alter your estate plans. You may need to add a few things or make major changes. Only […]

Guardians/Conservators

Guardians/Conservators Choosing a Guardian Your Children’s Guardian Guardianship of Incapacitated or Disabled Persons Tasks of the Guardian Ending a Guardianship After you pass away, there may be minor children or other dependents such as disabled or cognitively impaired adults that still need to be cared for and supervised. You will need to choose a legal […]

What Should be Included in a Will

What Should be Included in a Will Your beneficiaries Your choice of Executor/Personal Representative Your Choice of Guardians for Minor Children or Dependent Adults Your assets The content of your last will and testament usually depends on your personal and financial situation, and should include all of the assets owned solely by you. These are […]

Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries Primary Beneficiaries Contingent Beneficiaries Trust as a Beneficiary in Your Will or Retirement Plan Beneficiaries are the primary focus of your last will and testament and/or trusts set up on their behalf. These are the people you choose to inherit part or all of your estate after your death. Make sure you have enough […]

Doing it Yourself

Doing it Yourself A Summary of the Will-making Process Making Sure Your Will Is Valid When to Get Help Other Things to Consider 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? Doing it yourself may be the […]

Inheritance Law

Inheritance Law Inheritance Rights of a Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights of a Spouse after Divorce Inheritance Rights of Children Inheritance Rights of Grandchildren 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. […]

Last Will and Testament

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 for most people. You […]

What Should Not be Included in a Will

What Should Not be Included in a Will All last will and testaments will need to go through the probate process, but that does not mean all of your assets do. Those assets that do not need to be included in your will are known as non-probate estate assets. Spoken-for Property Property that shouldn’t be […]

The Probate Process

The Probate Process Estate Assets Subject to the Probate Process Non-probate Estate Assets Convertible assets Choosing Probate The probate process is an important issue in estate planning and it comes up a lot. Information about the probate process is important to understanding some of the details of estate planning and helping you make decisions. Probate […]

Sharing Your Estate Plan

Sharing Your Estate Plan With Whom and What to Share Old-Fashioned Way Digital Estate Plans Before finalizing an estate plan, you should consider whether or not you will share it with others, and if you do, how much you are comfortable sharing. It can be difficult for some people, especially the elderly, to share all […]

Other Methods to Preserve Your Estate

Other Methods to Preserve Your Estate Payable on Death Accounts Transfer on Death Deeds Homestead Protection Like a trust, these other methods avoid the probate process and protect your assets. The major means of protecting assets is to decrease the value of your taxable estate by arranging for transfer of your assets to your beneficiaries […]

Financial Power of Attorney

Financial Power of Attorney Types of Power of Attorney Choosing an Agent Choosing Powers to Assign Your Agent Creating a Power of Attorney Changing or Revoking a Power of Attorney At some point people with a chronic disease or terminal illness may become incapable of making or unwilling to make important decisions about their finances,d […]

Joint Ownership

Joint Ownership Joint Ownership with The Rights of Survivorship Joint Ownership without The Rights of Survivorship Joint ownership is a way to make it easier for individuals to enter the property market by sharing the purchase. Joint property is any property or asset owned by two or more people. Examples: you and your spouse, your […]

Charitable Trusts

Charitable Trusts Charitable Remainder Trust Charitable Lead Trust Giving to charity can feel rewarding and benefits good causes. For the most part, we give gifts while we are alive and receive benefits on our income taxes. Charitable gifts can also be used to reduce estate and capital gains taxes if you create a trust specifically […]

Special Needs Trust

Special Needs Trust Unique Features of the Special Needs Trust First-Party Special Needs Trusts Third-Party Special Needs Trusts For many with a serious disability, health insurance is a major consideration and it becomes crucial to get coverage under Medicaid for many reasons. They may need medical treatment and services for the rest of their lives, […]

Generation-Skipping Trust

Generation-Skipping Trust Indirect Skip Direct Skip A generation-skipping trust (GST) is a type of irrevocable bypass trust for assets to be subsequently passed on to your grandchildren while avoiding estate taxes during your children’s generation. They can be a living or testamentary trust. GSTs are much more complicated than they seem and you likely need […]

Trusts for Married Couples

Trusts for Married Couples Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust Dividing Trusts Dual Trusts Trust Vs Will Totten Trust Trusts specific to married couples are created to provide for your surviving spouse, not necessarily make all of your assets available to them, while arranging to have your descendants or adopted children inherit part of your estate. […]

Testamentary Trusts

Testamentary Trusts Standard Testamentary Trust Other Types of Testamentary Trusts Steps to Get Ready to Create a Testamentary Trust Creating a Testamentary Trust Adding Assets to a Testamentary Trust A testamentary trust (a.k.a. will trust) is a type of trust that, like a will, is created to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries according to […]

Family Trust/Living Trust

Family Trust A family trust is not a specific type of trust but is any trust you create that names your family members by blood, marriage, or law (in the case of adoption) as the beneficiaries — not just your spouse like A-B or ABC Trusts. It can be a living trust or a testamentary […]

Trustees

Trustees Who to Choose Duties of a Trustee Compensating Your Trustee The trustee will be the owner or holder of legal title of your trust property and the manager of the trust. This is known as a fiduciary role. They are responsible for all the decisions, choices, and transactions concerning the trust. They should be […]