Wills

When a will won’t work

Yahoo Finance discusses what a will cannot do:

A will can’t avoid probate, the legal process that typically follows death. In probate, your will becomes a public record and the court supervises the distribution of your estate.

A common way to bypass probate is to create a revocable living trust and then transfer ownership of your real estate, accounts and other property into the trust. You retain control, but upon your death, the person you name as your successor trustee can distribute your property without a court’s involvement, says Matt Palmer, associate product counsel at online legal site LegalZoom.

By |2021-11-05T13:20:30-07:00November 1st, 2021|

Do You Need a Trust?

Charles Schwab asked three of their own professionals important questions regarding the differences between wills and trusts.

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that specifies how your assets are to be distributed, usually without the involvement of a probate court. They can be structured to take effect before death, after death, or in case of incapacitation. In contrast, wills take effect only upon death and typically need to be authenticated by a probate court, which can take time and involve additional costs.

Trusts can be arranged to accomplish a variety of different goals. For example, you can use a trust to transfer property, help minimize estate taxes, preserve assets for minors until they are adults, or benefit a charity.

By |2021-11-05T15:21:20-07:00October 6th, 2021|

Are wills, medical directives and other end-of-life documents needed?

Richmond Times discusses the answer to this imperative question in a recent article regarding attorneys experiencing a surge in requests for wills and other estate planning matters as a result of COVID-19.

Legal professionals say definitely yes to make sure your wishes are honored for how your money is distributed or whether you want to be placed on a ventilator.

Wills spell out in detail who gets your property and other assets. Sometimes for young adults with minor children, wills might dictate who would serve as a guardian or how the children’s finances would be handled.

If someone dies without a will, generally that person’s property will go to the closest relative, starting with a spouse and then children. If single, the property and other assets could go to siblings or other relatives.

Advance medical directives or a health care power of attorney allow you to appoint someone to follow your decision on medical issues.

By |2021-11-05T13:09:23-07:00April 25th, 2020|

Estate planning gives peace of mind by making decisions you’ve been avoiding

St George News discusses the peace of mind that comes from having planned your future. The common elements of an estate plan include:

  • Revocable trust – Otherwise known as a “living trust.” While not appropriate for all situations, it keeps the estate private, protects against incapacity and helps to avoid probate. You also get to see how it works while still alive. For people that own a home, Brande said it is really crucial.
  • Pour-over will – A will can nominate guardians, appoint executors, include burial instructions and ensure that everything in the estate will go into a trust at the time of death to be dealt with according to documents.
  • Durable power of attorney – Used in the event of incapacity, this allows an agent to take necessary steps to place assets in a trust that may have been excluded.
  • Health care directive – This grants an agent the authority to act on your behalf and make medical decisions. Without this directive, physicians will consult the spouse or next of kin, and that can make any situation more complicated, Brande said, especially when there are many loved ones who all feel like they know what is best. In end-of-life situations, it will also direct providers when you want life-sustaining care to be withheld.
By |2021-11-05T15:05:46-07:00April 21st, 2020|

Last Will And Testament, Power Of Attorney, And Healthcare Proxy

Above the Law discusses the importance of having a Last Will And Testament, Power Of Attorney, And Healthcare Proxy:

Like an annual physical exam or dental cleaning, we know we must, but we often delay. Fear, anxiety, cost, and time are all factors in delaying that which all adults, regardless of familial structure and net worth, should accomplish. Executing estate planning documents, specifically a last will and testament, power of attorney and healthcare proxy, need not be a tremendous production, especially in the precarious times in which we live. At a minimum, we should all execute three basic documents, thus mitigating any future drama.

By |2021-11-05T13:10:37-07:00April 21st, 2020|

How to make sure your estate plan won’t cause a family fight

Market Watch:  “Creating an estate plan is a gift to the people you leave behind. By expressing your wishes, you’re trying to guide your loved ones at a difficult, emotional time. All too often, though, well-meaning people do things destined to create discord, rancor and resentment among their heirs. What looks good on paper may play out disastrously in real life, says estate and trust attorney Marve Ann Alaimo, partner at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur in Naples, Florida. “People want to think everybody will be nice and do right,” Alaimo says. “Human nature is not always that way.” You can reduce the chances of family discord by doing these four things:”

By |2018-11-06T10:51:10-08:00November 8th, 2018|

Disney World, Disneyland custodians claim parks are popular spots to scatter ashes

FOX:  “Walt Disney World and Disneyland have allegedly been outed as one of the most popular places for families to scatter their loved one’s ashesAccording to The Wall Street Journal, custodians at the famous theme parks are claiming that not only do guests bring their family’s ashes to scatter – they do so often enough to prompt a special code word for it: HEPA cleanup, referring to an ultrafine vacuum cleaner.”

By |2018-10-29T14:35:59-07:00October 31st, 2018|

Paul Allen’s $26 Billion Estate Will Take Years To Unravel

Financial Advisor:  “Paul Allen’s family office will live long and prosper. The billionaire’s vast holdings at Vulcan Inc. — with real estate, art, sports teams and venture capital stakes — would take years to unravel, if that’s even what he wanted. Allen, who died Monday, had no spouse or children to divide his empire. But there are many others with interests at stake, including family, staff and charities, as well as potential investors eager to snap up pieces.”

By |2018-10-23T15:30:56-07:00October 24th, 2018|

Six important tips for estate planning success

Moneyweb:  “The increased Value-Added Tax (VAT) rate – announced in the 2018 National Budget – dominated headlines for weeks thereafter, but this is not the only tax change affecting consumers and investors. Many tax changes also affect estate planning and the cost of estate administration. I asked Brenthurst’s Fiduciary Services Expert, Rozanne Heystek-Potgieter, for her top tips to navigate this. We compiled a list of six important issues to consider when navigating the complex field of deceased estate administration. More importantly, we have included tips on how to prepare for the inevitable and re-evaluate your existing will, the liquidity of your estate and estate planning goals in general.”

By |2018-10-15T14:46:06-07:00October 18th, 2018|

Why Estate Planning Is Easy And Legacy Planning Is Hard

Forbes: Estate planning is easy. It’s finite, calculable. What happens when you die? Who gets your stuff? How much will you owe in estate taxes and how can we prevent or prepare for it? You hire a lawyer to draft a will and possibly one or more trusts that provide for what happens when you die. It’s done. Complete. You tuck your documents away in drawer or safety deposit box and sleep well at night, knowing you have taken care of your estate plan. Death is inevitable, so planning for it—while admittedly uncomfortable for some—is relatively easy. Life, on the other hand, is hard.”

By |2018-10-08T13:48:06-07:00October 8th, 2018|

What ‘Succession’ And Sumner Redstone Can Teach Us About Planning Ahead For Senior Care

Forbes:  “Many of us have read the titillating and tragic story of Sumner Redstone, the former executive chairman of Viacom, and the litigious financial power struggle that has embroiled his family. Redstone’s story was a key influence on the HBO hit series Succession, which involves a lot of money, a pugnacious media mogul, a conniving lover, and children trying to wrest control of the family fortune from a sordid mess. Most of us won’t need to worry about a multi-billion-dollar empire, and our family struggles may appear mundane by comparison. But disagreements over money can and often do prevent families from making the right choices about care.”

By |2018-10-01T11:18:07-07:00October 1st, 2018|

Burt Reynolds Left His Only Son Out of His Will and Created a Trust for Him Instead

People:  “Screen legend Burt Reynolds left his only son out of his will — but did not cut him out. The will, which was obtained by TMZ, says of Quinton, “I intentionally omit him from this, my Last Will and Testament, as I have provided for him during my lifetime in my Declaration of Trust.” The will, which was signed in 2011, appoints Reynolds’ niece Nancy Lee Brown Hess as the personal representative of Reynolds’ estate. Reynolds lists his great nephew Brian Ritchey Brown and then his great niece Tracy Erin Rogers as the next personal representative were anything to happen to the previous one.”

By |2018-09-24T12:10:35-07:00September 24th, 2018|

What happens if you die without a will? You might leave a hot mess behind.

The Washington Post: Don’t have a will? Then let me ask you this: Do you love your family? Because, if you love and care about them and want to minimize the drama that you may leave after you die, you would get a will. And I don’t mean something done on the computer that you sign and stuff in a folder. Actually, you have a will, just not one that you created. If you die “intestate,” meaning without having a legal will, state laws dictate how your assets will be distributed. Here’s a link on Nolo.com where you can see, according to your state’s law, who is entitled to your assets if you die without creating a will.”

By |2018-09-12T14:33:52-07:00September 12th, 2018|

Why it’s smart to plan your own funeral—and do it now

Market Watch:  “Although I didn’t know it at the time, a week after my father received a terminal cancer diagnosis, he asked my cousin to take him to a local mortuary where he made decisions about his burial and paid for his funeral. Following his death five months later, as a grieving only child, I was thankful my father had the foresight to plan ahead, as he had always done for other life events. His choice to preplan was a gift that prevented me from making emotional and costly decisions based in grief. Death is a subject none of us want to confront. Talking about death causes us to face mortality and run head-on into the fact that we will not always be here. Yet death is inevitable and planning your funeral is a lot like planning for retirement. It requires honest evaluation and sometimes hard decisions, but it’s something that needs to be done. Here are five reasons to overcome hesitancy and consider planning your funeral now.”

By |2018-09-04T12:44:33-07:00September 6th, 2018|

“Que Je T’Aime”: L’affaire d’heritage de Johnny Hallyday

The National Law Review:  “As a battle rages on in Nanterre, west of Paris, over the estate of Johnny Hallyday, who is best known as the “French Elvis”, and spills out across the pages of the tabloid press in France, we offer a view from Hallyday’s adopted home, Los Angeles, California. It is, after all, the central question of this affair whether a will and trust executed in California under California law, which was intended to dispose of assets that include Hallyday’s properties in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, will be respected or tossed aside as a violation of French forced-heirship laws. The saga of the Hallyday case is a cautionary tale for French nationals who reside outside of France or who have property or assets outside of France, or for foreigners who may be considered domiciliaries of France (or other nations with inheritance laws that differ from France), as well as for members of their families whose inheritance may be caught in between.”

By |2018-08-27T10:39:31-07:00August 31st, 2018|

Aretha Franklin had NO will: Singer did not outline plans for her $80million estate before her tragic death

Daily Mail:  “Aretha Franklin passed away at her home in Detroit after a long battle with pancreatic cancer last Thursday. And while the Queen Of Soul had been struggling with health for some time, the iconic star did not leave behind a will, according to reports from TMZ. The Respect singer’s estate is estimated to be worth around an $80million, according to People.

By |2018-08-22T10:24:09-07:00August 22nd, 2018|

Are You Ready for Longevity? 4 Steps to Take Now

Kiplinger:  “Did you know that a non-smoking 65-year-old woman today has a 50% chance of living until 88? A non-smoking 65-year-old man has a 50% chance of living until 85? That’s how life expectancy works – the longer you live, the more likely you will live longer. Given that you could be well on your way to becoming a nonagenarian, here are four smart moves to help keep you and your family protected as you age.

By |2018-08-21T16:15:24-07:00August 21st, 2018|

Family Affair: Potential Problems with Family-Owned Businesses

Ward and Smith:  “Some of the most heartbreaking situations we see in our closely-held business and estate practices are families torn apart over differences in dealing with family-owned businesses. When there are problems with family-owned businesses, people tend to think with their hearts, rather than their brains, and often take unreasonable positions that are counterproductive to reaching a satisfactory resolution.  Often, the personal relationships among the family members continue to suffer until the business issues have been resolved, and even for a long time afterwards.”

By |2018-08-06T16:26:39-07:00August 9th, 2018|

Your Money: How to deal With the Paperwork Scramble After a Spouse Dies

Reuters:  “When you are grieving a departed spouse, the last thing you want to think about is changing the title to your car. Same goes for your house, your bank accounts, the retirement account you are inheriting and anything else of value that now belongs solely to you. Married couples have a certain ease when it comes to inheritance rules, often leaving everything to each other in a mostly unfettered manner. Many people have what estate lawyers call “sweetheart” or “I love you” wills, which means that spouses leave all of their worldly possessions to each other. That is all good when one’s spouse passes away. The survivor, however, is left with a mess of details to sort through, because there is now only one name on all of those joint accounts, and that can cause problems for heirs down the road.

By |2018-08-06T14:24:36-07:00August 6th, 2018|

Having a Baby Changes Everything: Guardianship Considerations for Parents Creating Wills

SmithAmundsen:  “Once couples have children, they are eager to get a plan in place for who will take guardianship of their children. Having children and not having a will or a selected guardian means parents are left to worry about what would happen in the event of their untimely death. For example, if both parents die, leaving no will, and minor children, any money the parents had will pass to the children. For children under the age of 18, the court would then need to supervise any money the children inherit in a conservatorship. “

By |2018-07-30T14:34:37-07:00August 3rd, 2018|

Five Estate Planning Tips that Remain Relevant Regardless of Shifting Political Winds

Wealth Management.com:  “There are important estate planning techniques that aren’t directly affected by legislation and changes in tax law, but that can still make a big impact on wealth preservation. From regularly updating a will to consistently moving assets off a balance sheet, here are five estate planning items that should be added to your client’s to-do list. Schedule Routine (Estate Planning) Checkups Make sure clients regularly update their health care documents and wills. Ask clients to consider whether the individuals named in their documents are still appropriate.”

By |2018-07-30T13:04:16-07:00August 1st, 2018|

Executors Can Count On Long, Arduous Estate Settlements

Financial Advisor:  “If your client is the executor of a family estate, you can warn him or her it will take an average of 800 hours—that’s 20 full workweeks—to settle most estates. That is, if it doesn’t get bogged down in a battle over an amethyst ring or Green Bay Packers tickets, said EstateExec, a company based in the San Francisco area that creates software for estate executors. It takes an average of 16 months to settle an estate, no matter the size, according to an EstateExec survey of 1,200 people involved in estate settlements. For 80 percent of estates, it takes 800 hours of work by the executor to settle, the survey said, and nearly half, 44 percent, of those surveyed were part of, or were at least aware of, family conflicts that erupted in the settlement process.”

By |2018-07-16T13:35:24-07:00July 20th, 2018|

Aligning Client Lifestyle, Dreams And Legacy Goals With Wealth Objectives

Private Wealth:  “Wealth management firms typically emphasize applying a personal touch in how they serve clients, driven by a sincere concern for their well-being, and a desire to build long-term relationships. And to a significant extent, the industry has delivered solutions that work for both clients in the mass market, generally defined as individuals and households with below $1 million in net worth, and to the upper echelons of the high net worth, broadly defined as those who have more than $20 million in net worth. The former is usually supported by a spectrum of small, independent financial advisor businesses, while the latter continues to be dominated by an assortment of white shoe family offices and Wall Street institutions. But this also means there is an “overlooked millionaire” segment of the wealth management market, comprised of individuals and families with between $2 million to $20 million in net worth, who have more complex needs than the mass market, but simply aren’t worth the time and attention of the top players in the industry.

By |2018-07-16T12:49:01-07:00July 19th, 2018|

Protecting Your Pets: How to Make Financial Provisions in a Will or Trust

Fiduciary Trust International:  “For many people, pets aren’t property—they are members of the family in every sense of the word; providing emotional support, protection and comfort in good times and bad. In return, we give them shelter, affection and a significant amount of financial support. According to a Harris Poll survey, Americans spend an average of nearly $1,500 on essentials such as food, grooming, boarding and trips to the veterinarian’s office for their pets each year. Horses are the most expensive at roughly $13,000 a year. But making financial provisions for a pet who outlives you hasn’t always been possible, at least not formally. Trusts were designed originally to benefit humans or charity, not animals.”

By |2018-07-16T12:24:01-07:00July 17th, 2018|

Businesses Require Proper Estate Planning

Brooklyn Trust and WIll:  “While many people associate the process of estate planning with retirement and owning significant value in assets, the fact of the matter is that quite the contrary is actually true. Estate planning by definition is the process of preparing for the transfer of wealth after death, so if you own anything of value, estate planning becomes necessary if you wish to pass on your assets to any beneficiaries. Further, estate planning becomes particularly necessary if you own a business, as the law may not always coincide with your intentions regarding passing on ownership of the business after your passing.”

By |2018-07-09T12:05:07-07:00July 11th, 2018|

The Rich Are Betting On Living to 100

Bloomberg:  Money might not buy love, but it can buy better health. And, to live as long as possible, the world’s wealthy are willing to pay up. Over the past few decades, the average person’s lifespan has risen almost everywhere in the world. In China, the U.S. and most of Eastern Europe, the average life expectancy at birth has reached the late 70s, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD. People in Western Europe and Japan, meanwhile, can expect to live into their early 80s. Most rich people, however, are counting on living even longer—a lot longer, as in two decades more than average. In a new UBS Financial Services survey, 53 percent of wealthy investors said they expected to live to 100.

By |2018-06-25T15:08:11-07:00June 25th, 2018|

Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain And Estate Planning When You Are Separated

Forbes:  “The recent tragic deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain had more in common than how they died. They were both separated from their spouses at the time of their deaths.  While by all accounts these separations were amicable, the fact that they were not legally divorced can lead to a host of estate planning issues. When spouses decide to divorce, the usual framework is a process involving attorneys and the court system. But as modern family life is complex, it is becoming more common for spouses to remain permanently separated yet not divorced.  It’s a state of gray that many feel comfortable in. Unfortunately for both family law and estate law, it’s a hard place to be. Just how many couples in the U.S. permanently separate versus divorce is not clear. Most researchers find the U.S. divorce rate hovers somewhere between 42% to 45%. However, when permanent separations are factored in, it is estimated that the rate is really 50%.”

By |2018-06-18T13:11:23-07:00June 21st, 2018|

When you write your will, don’t mess this up

Market Watch:  Two chores that most people gladly put off: The first is writing a will—and the second is updating it to reflect changed circumstances. Either way, it’s crucial to name the right executors.Regarding the first chore, my client roster includes recalcitrant individuals who’ve yet to write their wills. I regularly remind them how badly things could turn out if they fail to do so. For instance, their assets might wind up with individuals whom they never intended to benefit or they consider less deserving of their largess than others.

By |2018-06-18T11:06:18-07:00June 18th, 2018|

Your Parent Didn’t Have A Will: What Should You Do Now?

Forbes:  “Mom or dad has passed away and despite your requests over the last few years for them to see a lawyer and do a will, they never did. What do you do now. Make a diligent search for a will. Look through your parent’s records and file cabinets, talk to their close friends and other relatives, ask their accountant and any lawyer they worked with in the past. Look around the house for business cards of lawyers, accountants or financial advisors.”

By |2018-06-11T13:36:04-07:00June 15th, 2018|
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