Estate Planning 101

An overview of estate planning, including discussions about intestacy, probate, asset ownership and estate taxes.

Last Week in Estate Planning (July 24 to July 30, 2011)

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The possibility of the U.S. government defaulting on its obligations dominated the news last week.  Two links below, including the Post of the Week, discusses the future effects of the raised debt ceiling that is now signed law. Top Posts and Articles of the Week Post of the Week Making a Deal in Washington (Capital…

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Last Week in Estate Planning (July 10 to July 16, 2010)

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When the best in online reading on estate planning involves traditional Jewish stews, baseball, and a lawsuit involving the inability of an apparently dead person to refinance her mortgage, you know it’s going to be a fun week. Enjoy these posts and articles that I thought were the most interesting and helpful during the week…

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Last Week in Estate Planning (June 10 to June 16, 2011)

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Here are links to the top estate planning stories and developments of last week. By the way, I receive absolutely no financial remuneration from recommending any of the following choices.  I believe this enables me to give an unbiased view of what, IMHO, is the best in topical and quality work from estate planning colleagues…

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Abatement 101: Which Beneficiaries Bear the Brunt of a Reduced Gift?

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I asked my young kids today if they knew what “abatement” was.  They replied, “Yes, Daddy, it’s the bottom floor in our house where all our toys and boxes and other stuff is!” To avoid the stigma of negligent parenting, I explained to them that within the estate planning context, abatement is the forced decrease…

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Don’t Have $5 Million? 50 Reasons to Get an Estate Plan Anyway

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“Estate Planning” is somewhat of a misnomer.  For example, let’s check out The Free Dictionary’s definition of “estate”. You’ll find that the majority of the 8 provided definitions associate the term either with land or with some kind wealth, social position, or political power.  Read more...

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5 Unconventional Estate Planning Tips (and Why They are Right)

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I hesitated to write this post for fear that many would be distracted over this weekend.  However, now that it is after 6 P.M. on May 21, 2011, and we seem to have avoided and survived the rapture, I can help return your focus to arguably more mundane concerns.  Read more...

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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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It’s Time for Estate Planning Maintenance Plans: Here’s Why

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Today, I’d like to revisit the idea of estate-planning maintenance plans.  There is a new trend developing in which people can not only receive the requisite documents from their estate planning attorney, but can also pay an annual fee to have the attorney provide necessary updates and guidance as your life, your circumstances and even…

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