Living trust beneficiaries have certain rights that are designed to help protect their interests with regard to the trust at hand. The type of living trust (revocable or irrevocable) and the type of beneficiary involved determines which rights apply. Read More
There are a few facts about revocable living trusts that might seem a bit surprising to many individuals who are interested in this effective estate planning tool. While a living trust is often an adequate solution for avoiding lengthy probate and the expenses that are associated with this burdensome process, it may not be the right choice for everyone. Before deciding to create a living trust, it is advised that consumers learn the facts and compare their options. Read More
Taking certain precautions when drafting estate-planning documents can help to avoid future legal challenges by disgruntled family members. One common will contest involves allegations that the family members were incompetent when they drafted their wills. Others may involve arguments that the testators were unduly coerced when they drafted their wills or that the wills were not properly executed. A legal challenge is far less likely to prevail if the decedent demonstrated his or her competence. Spouses may want to hire separate attorneys to prepare their wills in order to prevent future conflicts. Read More
Probate law will likely change under the new presidential administration. Trump calls for a repeal of the estate tax. He also proposes a capital gains tax on assets left behind over $10 million. The details are still unclear, but an experienced probate lawyer can answer questions about estate planning. Read More
Approximately 12% of the US population is physically or mentally disabled. Many of these individuals reside with or receive financial support from their parents or other family members. Estate planning for these dependents is crucial for ensuring their long-term care and welfare. Read More
While individuals can put intra-family loans together themselves, the services of an experienced estate planning attorney and possibly a tax advisor should be considered to avoid possible complications or having the loan contested by the IRS. Read More
Estate tax laws were overhauled by the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (“Improvement Act”), by IRS proposed regulation § 2801, and by a series of cases which addressed estate planning issues. These recent developments, while not expansive, could significantly impact some estate and individual tax returns. Furthermore, Congress expanded the number of tax returns that could be subjected to penalties and interest for improper or late filings. Read More
Valuable estates can easily become war zones. The desire for land, possessions, or other assets can quickly sever family ties. Estates are typically distributed per the wishes of the deceased. But not always. There are cases when a court determines legitimate grounds exist to question a will’s validity. These contests, however, can trigger the beginning of a never-ending, bitter family feud. They are costly legal actions that take years to resolve. Three common grounds used to contest a will, include:
Property that is not settled with a will or trust must either pass automatically to the heirs or be devised through probate. Probate is a legal process through which a will is accepted (or “probated”), or assets are devised to beneficiaries. Probate allows potential beneficiaries to submit claims to a person’s estate.
Wills that are not contested avoid probate; the estate administrator need only file a copy with the court as a public record.