Sep 2015

If It Starts with a “D” It’s a Good Reason to Update Your Estate Planning Documents

Estate Planning: When to Review and Update

There are few guarantees in life, but one thing that’s for certain is that life is constantly changing. It’s full of surprises, both expected and unexpected. When it comes to estate planning, creating a comprehensive plan is important, and most people feel a sense of well-being and peace knowing that their estate is taken care of and their loved ones are protected. Just because you have an estate plan, however, doesn’t mean you should throw it in a drawer or filing cabinet and forget about it. You should review it periodically to make sure it’s still accurate. There are also several life events that should prompt an estate plan review. Divorce – divorce is one of the primary reasons you should review your estate plan. You will want to update...
Sep 2015

Sweating the “Small Stuff” – How to Avoid Family Fights Over Sentimental Items

Adding Sentimental Items to Your Estate Planning Documents

It seems everyone has heard a heartbreaking story of a family torn apart by arguments over sentimental items left behind by a loved one. Many relatives may get into a conflict over both small and large items not included their loved one’s estate planning process. Perhaps siblings bicker about who gets old photographs, or cousins disagree about who should receive a set of antique dishes. Although these items may have very little monetary value, their worth is immeasurable to the people left behind after a beloved family member passes away. Unfortunately, many people fail to plan for the distribution of sentimental items and other personal property during the estate planning process. They may have comprehensive plans regarding their stocks, real estate, retirement assets, and even the family business –...
Aug 2015

Will a Court Ever Order a Trustee Removed from a Trust?

Reasons for Removing a Trustee from a Living Trust

A properly drafted living trust can be an excellent addition to a well-rounded estate plan. Part of the reason trusts have become popular is that they offer a great deal of flexibility. If you create a trust, you must appoint a trustee to administer the terms of your trust. A trustee must oversee property and assets held in the trust, as well as make sure they are properly distributed. Whether a trust is a revocable or irrevocable trust, there may come a time when it is necessary to remove a trustee. If the living trust gives the beneficiaries the authority to remove a trustee, the beneficiaries can remove the trustee and appoint an alternative. Absent this power in the...
Jul 2015

My Deceased Loved One Had Debts. Does Probate Handle Them?

Ways that the Probate Process Deals with Debt

The period immediately following the death of a loved one is frequently emotionally challenging. The last thing a surviving spouse or other heirs need to deal with is persistent or harassing calls from bill collectors due to the probate process. If your loved one has creditors, however, these debts must be settled. Furthermore, most creditors know that they have a limited time during which they can make a claim against the estate during the probate process. For this reason, they are usually quick to follow up once they receive notice that a debtor has passed away.

Debts and the Probate Process

If you are the personal representative (executor or administrator) of the estate, it’s important to understand that the estate must pay all creditors before it can make any distributions...
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