Estate Administration

State Law Differences Regarding Spousal Disinheritance

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We have talked a bit lately about how estate planning cannot meet a one-size-fits-all approach.  While this is primarily due to the differing situations and desires of each individual, it also has to do with the significant variations in state law.  Read more...

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Would You Like That “Per Stirpes” or “Per Capita”?

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There are many scenarios in estate planning where a deceased person receives a gift of property.  Someone’s will may not have been amended in time.  A trust drafted many years ago leaves an asset to several siblings, one of whom has passed away since the document was created.  State intestacy laws designate assets to classes…

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Will Contests: 10 Ways to Protect Against Estate Plan Challenges

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Getting your will drafted is a daunting enough process without worrying about whether or not to disinherit family.  If you anticipate that anyone will try to challenge your will, then your estate planning documents should provide as much protection as possible against a “will contest”.  Read more...

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Probate In Real Life III: Rights Against Beneficiaries

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Today, we continue our discussion of probate and the executor’s duties.  In Part I, we discussed what happens if a named executor does not want to serve.  In Part II, we discussed inventories, the executor’s duty to control the estate’s assets, and the potential for the estate representative to suffer personal liability.  In this post,…

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Probate In Real Life II: The Executor’s Duties and Liabilities

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Today, we continue our discussion of probate and the executor’s duties.  In Part I, we discussed what happens if a person named as executor does not want to serve.  In this post, we will cover the executor’s duties of preparing an inventory of the decedent’s property, controlling the estate’s assets, and his potential for personal…

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Probate in Real Life I: Named Executors Declining to Serve

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A Fairly Common Scenario Let’s say you live in a townhouse next door to a kindly elderly widower renting the place.  You help him with groceries, getting the newspaper, and make sure he pays his bills on time.  You become his confidant and spend more and more time exchanging life stories and shooting the breeze…

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The Elizabeth Edwards Estate: Will John Truly Be Disinherited?

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Making the rounds in the news lately is the fact that Elizabeth Edwards, who passed away this past December 7, has seemingly disinherited former Presidential candidate and husband John Edwards by not including him in her will.  Inside Edition has released the will, signed six days before Ms. Edwards’ death.  Read more...

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Virginia Probate in Just 27 Easy Steps

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Fellow blawger Martha Hartney, Esq. of Colorado wrote a post this week called “Probate? What’s the Big Deal?”.  She relates how one of her colleagues indicated that “Probate is easy in Colorado.  Any attorney who recommends a trust-based plan is practically committing malpractice.”  Similar claims are being made in different states as well, including Virginia.…

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Wills vs. Living Trusts: 6 Items to Consider

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All adults need at least a will.  Without one, state law determines what happens to your assets and minor children, and the results may not work out as you would expect or even like. However, in many situations, it may be more appropriate to have a living trust (aka “revocable trust” or “revocable living trust”)…

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Obama Signs New Tax Law: How It Affects You

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The House and Senate have passed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, also known as the 2010 Tax Relief Act, and President Obama signed the bill today.  Let’s take a brief first look at how the new law will affect all of us.  Read more...

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