Estate Planning

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 what you wanted. In other words, any non-family member or charity you would have wanted to be a beneficiary would not receive anything. In the case that you have no next of kin, your assets are taken by the state.

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 and you either have no surviving spouse or your spouse dies at the same time, there may be minor children or other dependents such as disabled or cognitively impaired adults that […]

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 Your will should include basic personal information such as your full name, birthdate, and address. You should include any other names you go by, as well as the names […]

Beneficiaries

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

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. The […]

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/Transfer on Death Accounts Transfer on Death Deeds Homestead Protection Property and assets inherited after your death goes through the probate court if they are included in your will or if you die without one. Avoiding the probate process will save time and money on legal and court fees. […]

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, […]

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 A generation-skipping trust (GST) is a type of irrevocable bypass trust for assets to be subsequently passed on to your grandchildren while avoiding or skipping 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 will likely need a professional to create one. A GST lets you […]

Trusts for Married Couples

Trusts for Married Couples Marital Trusts 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 […]

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 […]

The Living Trust

The Living Trust Family Trust Irrevocable Living Trust Revocable Living Trusts Income Trusts Steps to Get Ready to Create a Living Trust Creating a Living Trust Transferring Assets to a Living Trust This type of trust is created while you’re alive. Living trusts can be revocable (altered or dissolved) or irrevocable (cannot be changed). It […]

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 […]