Jun 2015

You Need More than a Will to Avoid Probate

Probate Avoidance Steps

A last will and testament is an incredibly important estate planning document that provides a firm foundation for your estate plan. Contrary to what many people believe, however, a will does not help a testator avoid probate. Fortunately, our estate planning attorneys can help you create an estate plan that achieves this goal. So what does it take to avoid probate? The answer is not the same for everyone, which is why it’s critical to work closely with an estate planning attorney at law. That said, here are several documents and accounts you may need to ensure your estate does not have to pass through probate:

Trusts

Assets held in a trust at the time of an individual’s death are considered the property of the trust – not the individual. As such, these assets...
Jun 2015

I Think the Executor of My Loved One’s Estate Should Be Removed. What Should I Do?

Probate Court and the Executor Removal Process

This is a sensitive subject but one that does unfortunately come up from time to time in probate court. The law requires the executor (also called a “personal representative”) of an estate to perform numerous obligations and always act in the best interests of the estate. When a person dies with a will in place, the will names an executor to oversee the estate’s administration. In cases where a decedent dies without a will, the probate court appoints someone to serve in this role. Whether the executor is appointed through the will or by the probate court, he or she must take care to handle the estate properly at all times. When an executor fails to properly execute his or her duties, the interests of the estate’s beneficiaries may suffer. This...
Jun 2015

Toss It or Keep It: When Can I Throw Away Documents?

Estate Planning Tips: Which Paperwork to Save

Whether you’re spring cleaning or just trying to declutter, you probably wonder how long you need to hang on to estate planning paperwork, legal documents, and receipts. If you’re like most people, you have thrown something away, only to realize down the road that you should have kept it. When it comes to estate planning, the question of what to save and what to toss becomes vitally important. Here are some general tips for what to keep and for how long.

Personal Records

You should keep estate planning documents like birth certificates, social security records, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and adoption records forever. Store them in a bank deposit box or at home in a fireproof safe whenever possible. You should also make copies of these important personal records in case the originals...
May 2015

I Want a Will, But I’m Short on Cash

The Importance of a Will and a Living Will

A living will and a will serve two different functions in the practice of law. A living will is an estate planning document that specifies what type of medical care you would like to receive if you are unable to make your wishes clear. A will serves as a way to distribute property and settles any debt that may still be current.

Finances can Affect Who Makes a Will or Living Will

Lack of funds is one of the most common reasons people give for not making a will or living will. They assume they will never be able to afford the attorney’s fees. Others claim that they don’t really need a will because they don’t own anything anyway. The reality is that foregoing a living will or will...
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