Selecting a Contingent Beneficiary in Estate Planning

The beneficiary you name during your estate planning will receive a particular asset. Usually, this might be a house or other tangible item. However, what happens when the beneficiary is unable to take possession of the asset? Why Should You Name a Contingent Beneficiary? If the beneficiary dies before s/he can receive the asset, have a backup who will step in. If there is no contingent beneficiary, you fail to leave your instructions for the disposition of the asset. As …

What is an Advance Directive?

When it comes to estate planning, it can include a myriad of your different wishes for what should happen after you pass away. However, estate planning isn’t always for after death, in the case of an advance directive, it can be for decisions that happen when you are still alive but need medical care. An advance directive can be drafted as part of the will or as a standalone document. In it, it can cover some crucial decisions for your …

Estate Planning Checklist For Newlyweds

Marriage is one of the biggest steps that a person can take in their life. Now, they are not just living for themselves, but for another person. However, while you should enjoy that honeymoon, eventually you have to come back down to the real world. Now that you are living for another person, you both need to plan for the future. It is unpleasant to think about, but there is no better time to do estate planning than after you …

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. …