Estate Planning 101

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

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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Looking Gift Taxes In the Mouth: Upcoming Rules for 2011

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‘Tis still the season of giving.  Thanks to a $5 million lifetime gift exemption starting in January, most of your gifts will have very little impact, if any, on your estate plan.  However, today we will discuss why you perhaps should not ignore gift tax issues just yet. Let’s take a look at some of…

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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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Digital Assets: Estate Planning for Online Accounts Becoming Essential (Part II)

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Today, we’ll continue our discussion on digital assets (see part I here) by reviewing the current state of the law, including the enforceability of the “Terms of Service” we all click on before opening an online account. Categories of Property First, let’s discuss the broad ways that the law defines different kinds of property before…

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5 Estate Planning Ideas for Cliff Lee (& Other Pro Athletes)

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I am a life-long Phillies fan.  Imagine my pure delight when I heard that on Monday, elite pitcher Cliff Lee signed a 5-year, $120 million deal (plus a potential 6th if he reaches certain goals) with my phavorite team to help shepherd in a new era of excellence.  For more information, type “Cliff Lee” into…

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