Are There Alternatives to Guardianship?

Whether it is of a minor child or an adult with an illness or disability that allows them to no longer take care of themselves, filing for a guardianship will give someone legal authority to manage their affairs. However, guardianship can be undesirable from both sides. The ward may not wish to lose their full legal authority to someone else, and the guardian themselves may not also want to have to deal with the responsibilities and court appearances involved with …

Estate Planning When You Don’t Have an “Estate”

There is a common misconception when it comes to estate planning. Some think that an estate refers to their house or property, and if they don’t own a home or property, then don’t need to estate planning. However, while estate is another term for one’s property, estate planning is more than just who gets the house. Even if you rent or live with another person, you still have an estate that you need to plan for in case of your …

Partitioning Land in Probate

Often when it comes to probate, the most important asset is the old family home. It may be the home you grew up in, and it is sometimes likely that the children may not want to see that home sold. However, often that is a likely result of probate if the beneficiaries of an estate cannot come to an agreement on how to split the home. In these cases, often the courts will demand that the house is sold and …

When Are Estate Taxes Due After a Passing?

You know what they say – You always have to pay the tax man. Even if you have passed on, taxes must be paid out of your estate one final time. If you have a will, you can assign an executor who will settle your final debts, but if you pass away without one, the probate court will assign an individual. When it comes to estate taxes to be paid after an individual’s passing, there are only two major concerns …

What Is an Estate Planning Lawyer Responsible For?

There are many out there that believe they can handle estate planning on their own. While in some states it may be possible with just a notary to notarize your handwritten will, often you will still want to consult an estate planning attorney. They do much more than just draft up wills. It is better to think of an estate planning attorney as someone who can make sure your wishes are carried out legally. At a glance, estate planning seems …

Tricky Complications of Foreign Beneficiaries

Even if your family is built in the United States, chances are that you may have family members who moved abroad.  It is easier to move around now more than ever. This may mean that your daughter chooses to go teach abroad in Spain and live there,  or your son moves to Australia to be closer to his wife’s family. While it may not seem like a big issue, if you pass away and want to leave your estate to …

Creating a Master Document as Part of Your Estate Plan

Often when you think of estate planning, you think of all the legal documents that you need to create. While those are of the utmost importance, you should also consider creating a master document for your survivors. This “master document” is essentially a cheat sheet that can help decrease the stress and complication that goes along with finances after you pass away. It details all your bills, accounts, debts, and especially the logins to those accounts if they are online. …

Why Estate Litigation is So Much More Common in a Blended Family?

Estate planning is an issue that should be given its due diligence. However, even if you put forth your best effort into creating an estate plan for your family after your passing, if your family is blended, your chances of your estate ending in estate litigation definitely increase.  Why? It almost always comes down to blood. Disagreements between stepchildren or even step-parents are common. Even if they got along relatively well while you were alive, after you pass away there …

Special Needs Trusts: Five Things to Know

A family with a member that has special needs, whether physical or mental, has many challenges and worries. For many parents, worrying about what happens to their child with special needs after the parents pass away is one of them. Often times, parents disinherit their child with special needs, leaving additional money to other children or relatives with the expectation that those third parties will care for person with special needs. This leaves too much unsettled and too much at …

Can the Executor Sell a Home Inherited to Someone?

Nothing could be more exciting than inheriting someone’s house under their Will.  Often homes are not only the most expensive item in a person’s estate, but often we attach a lot of fond memories attached to a household. However, if you suddenly find a “for sale” sign on the lawn, if the executor of the estate allowed to sell the house when it has been designated to pass to you?  The answer is yes, but only in certain circumstances. The …