Wills

News & Analysis as of

Prince: The Lost Legacy of an Estate Plan Untold

You may not have produced over 30 albums, accrued over $300 million and an equivalent amount of fans as Prince, but, like the recent pop star, you too have a legacy that could impact many individuals around you. The term...more

"New Connecticut Laws Limit Transfer Taxes for Some Decedents, Increase Probate Fees for Most Estates"

Connecticut has implemented changes to its transfer tax and probate laws that affect nearly every decedent leaving even a modest estate via will or nonprobate transfer (such as a revocable trust). A new $20 million cap for...more

Family Planning

Well thought out and prepared estate planning is important for many reasons. Some reasons are obvious, such as tax planning and making sure your assets go where you want them to go; others are not. These less obvious...more

Estate Planning Pitfall - Your college-age child doesn’t have an estate plan

In addition to essentials such as clothing, toiletries, bedding and a laptop, students heading off to college in the fall also should “pack” all the necessary financial and medical documents. This brief article details...more

Court Holds That Will Did Not Revoke Inter Vivos Trust

In Gordon v. Gordon, a man and his wife executed a revocable trust agreement and began to fund the trust. No. 11-14-00086-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 3357 (Tex. App.—Eastland March 31, 2016, no pet. history). The couple later...more

Have you addressed elderly parents in your estate plan?

Typically, an estate plan includes accommodations for one’s spouse, children, grandchildren and even future generations. But some members of the family can be overlooked, such as parents or in-laws. This article offers a...more

Insight on Estate Planning - April/May 2016

Have you addressed elderly parents in your estate plan? Typically, an estate plan includes accommodations for your spouse, children, grandchildren and even future generations. But some members of the family can be...more

When is a Will Not a Will? Court Determines that “Will” Was Not a Valid Will or a Valid Gift Deed and that Decedent Later Lacked...

In Lemus v. Aguilar, relatives fought over ownership of a decedent’s home. No. 04-14-00609-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 2685 (Tex. App.—San Antonio Mar. 16, 2016, no pet. h.). ...more

Court Addresses Common-Disaster Provision In Will

In Stephens v. Beard, a husband shot his wife, who died immediately, and then shot himself. He died hours later in the hospital. No. 12-13-00160-CV, 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 3895 (Tex. App.—Tyler April 10, 2014), rev’d, No....more

Court Reverses Finding Of Undue Influence In A Will Contest And Discusses Requirements To Execute A Will

In In re Estate of Kam, an elderly man executed a new will to omit any gift to one son after the man discovered that his life insurance had been altered to name his son as the sole beneficiary. No. 08-14-00016-CV, 2016 Tex....more

The Double-Fraction Dilemma: Intent-Focused Inquiry Prevails

As the oil and gas industry has moved away from the legacy of the 1/8th royalty, double-fraction language has generated a multitude of disagreements as to whether a royalty interest should be construed as "fixed" or...more

Alert: The Importance of Beneficiary Designations

Who really benefits? You may be surprised! If you participate in a 401(k) or other retirement plan, have one or more IRA accounts, or life insurance policies, you need to designate beneficiaries to receive the benefits...more

Your Estate Plan – Four Documents You Should Be Considering

An estate plan can be a complicated thing. Attorneys, accountants, advisors all may be involved in pulling together a customized plan that conforms to your desires, complies with state and federal law and minimizes your tax...more

Court Concludes Spouses’ Joint Will Was a Contractual Will and Imposes Constructive Trust to Enforce Terms of Joint Will

In Estate of Pursley, a husband and wife (Harold Sr. and Mildred) with three children executed a joint will in 1975 that provided the survivor would take the entire estate “to be used, occupied, enjoyed, conveyed and expended...more

Health Alert (Australia) - November 2, 2015

In This Issue: -Judgments; Legislation; and Reports -Excerpt from Judgments Australian Capital Territory 29 October 2015 - In the matter of ER (Mental Health and Guardianship and...more

Preparation is the most important component of an estate plan.

Many people mistakenly believe that estate planning is only necessary for the rich. In actuality, a basic estate plan is essential for everyone, regardless of income or net worth, because we all want to minimize...more

Addressing adopted children or stepchildren in your estate plan

Families that have children who are adopted, or stepchildren who haven’t been legally adopted, face unique estate planning challenges. Additional consideration must be taken when a family includes an unmarried couple in a...more

Preserving Assets in a Will Contest

There may come a time when one finds it necessary to contest a will, and there can be legitimate reasons for doing so. This course of action is likely to cause emotions to run high, and it could be likely that a beneficiary...more

Florida Court Provides a Lesson in Nuncupative and Notarial Wills

Many lawyers have not heard the terms “nuncupative wills” and “notarial wills” since they took their bar exams (and some perhaps not even then). A recent Florida case provides us with a real world application of these terms....more

It’s Just a Simple Will

Often times, people believe their wills (or other estate planning documents) are really simple and straight forward. In fact, this assumption is probably the primary reason that some websites generate significant business...more

T&E Litigation Newsletter- 9/16/15

In a decision in a case entitled In the Matter of the Estate of Charles P. Galatis, Case No. 14-P-579 (September 9, 2015), the Appeals Court addressed what happens when there is a will contest involving two possible wills,...more

Are You Aware That Your Estate Planning Documents Could Be Voided By Disgruntled Heirs?

An heir, beneficiary or interested party could seek to have a person’s testamentary plan voided on one or more grounds after the testator’s death. Such actions are common if the interested party is not satisfied by the...more

Trust and Estate Law: South Dakota Dynasty Trusts 101

Usually, estate planning involves the creation of an updated will, a health care directive, and assigning a power of attorney. But sometimes an estate needs more, especially when a large or growing inheritance is involved....more

North Carolina Changes Trust Code and Permits “Living Probate”

On August 11th, Governor McCrory signed North Carolina Senate Bill 336, Act to Amend the Law Governing Estate Planning and Fiduciaries (the “Act”). Notably, the Act adopts a procedure for living probate in North Carolina and...more

Does a Class Gift to Children Include Adult Adoptees?

The Probate Code says no, in most cases, but a recent court decision said yes. Here’s what happened in Sanders v Yanez (July 30, 2015, H041578) 2015 Cal App Lexis 662....more

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