You may think that estate planning is a do-it-yourself project, thanks to the array of online tools and forms available today. However, estate planning is far more complex than just filling in the blanks on a will template. Let's dive into why consulting an estate planning lawyer is not just recommended but essential. They Know the Law Inside and Out Laws governing estate planning are intricate and vary by state. An estate planning lawyer understands these laws and how they apply to your … [Read more...] about Is an Estate Planning Lawyer Really Necessary?
The probate process is a legal procedure that many people encounter after a loved one's death. It can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive. One way to circumvent this process is through the use of a revocable living trust. Let's take a look at what the probate process involves and how a revocable living trust can offer a more streamlined solution. 1. What is Probate? Probate is the legal process that oversees the distribution of a deceased person's assets, ensuring that debts are paid, … [Read more...] about Understanding the Probate Process and How to Avoid It
Being appointed as an executor is both an honor and a responsibility. It means that someone has entrusted you with the important task of administering their estate and carrying out their final wishes. While the role of an executor may seem daunting, understanding your duties and responsibilities can help you navigate the process with confidence and efficiency. In this blog post, we will explore the key duties of an executor and provide you with a comprehensive guide to fulfilling these … [Read more...] about The Duties of an Executor: A Guide to Fulfilling Your Responsibilities
People often have questions about how taxes can impact inheritances, and we are going to look at taxation on living trusts in this post. But first, we will provide a general overview that will help you understand some of the benefits that these trusts provide. Simple, Efficient Estate Administration One of the most commonly held estate planning misperceptions is the notion that wills are very simple, and trusts are extremely complicated. The verbiage and the underlying principles that are … [Read more...] about Are Living Trust Distributions Taxable?
There are websites that sell generic, boilerplate legal documents, including DIY wills. Their marketing material makes it sound like it is easy for anyone to plan their own estate using DIY tools that can be purchased online. Since so many people put estate planning on the back burner, this can sound like a simple solution, but this is actually a shortsighted perspective. In this post, we will look at four reasons why you should probably steer clear of do-it-yourself estate planning … [Read more...] about Four Reasons to Steer Clear of DIY Wills
A lot of people think that estate planning is something that is only important for very wealthy people. They think that you do not need to work with an attorney to map out a comprehensive strategy unless you are a multimillionaire. In reality, this is patently false, and we will look at the subject in this post. Estate Taxes Part of this misconception comes from the little bits and pieces of information that folks hear about estates and taxation. Generally speaking, an inheritance is not … [Read more...] about Is Estate Planning Only for the Rich?
The executor of a will is the individual that will handle the estate administration tasks. It is not a ceremonial role that you bestow upon someone as a sign of respect, and we will look at the details here. Selecting an Executor If you decide to record your final wishes with regard to asset transfers in a will, you can name an executor when you are drawing up the document. The will is going to be admitted to probate after your passing, which is a court supervised process. This court would … [Read more...] about What Does the Executor of a Will Do?
The most common estate planning document is the simple will. If you express your final wishes in a will, the executor that you name would admit the document to probate after your death. This is a court supervised proceeding. During probate, creditors are notified about the decedent’s passing, and final debts are paid. The assets are prepared for distribution to the heirs, and the court determines the validity of the will. If everything goes smoothly and the situation is not especially … [Read more...] about An Overview of the Probate Process
A lot of people do not consider the possibility of using a trust because they make assumptions about the complexity level. In this post, we will share some basic information about living trust administration to demystify the process so you can make informed decisions. Ongoing Control While You Are Living One commonly held misconception about trusts is the idea that you surrender control of assets that you convey into a trust. There are irrevocable trusts, and though there are limited exceptions, … [Read more...] about Living Trust Administration Basics
We recently reported about the closing of the intestate estate of the musical artist Prince. He passed away in 2016, and the estate was stalled in probate for six years in large part because of the fact that there was a dispute about the degree of estate tax responsibility. You may have read about the estate planning decisions of other celebrities over the years. Why does the press have access to this information? If it is disclosed to them, can anyone find out the details about any … [Read more...] about How Do You Keep Your Estate Planning Decisions Confidential?