Wills

News & Analysis as of

"Duke" Blazes a New Trail in Estate Law - California Supreme Court Reverses Course, Changing 50 Years of Precedent

The California Supreme Court issued its long-anticipated decision in Estate of Duke July 27, 2015, changing the way in which all state courts evaluate wills prospectively. At issue was a rule established by the Supreme Court...more

Estate Tax Portability: Panacea or Potential Peril?

In 2013, Congress made the estate tax portability rules permanent. Some predicted this would negate the need for advanced estate planning, but two years later, it is clear that portability is not a panacea even for smaller...more

Lost Wills: What To Do When The Original Can’t Be Found

Virginia law requires that an original will be probated (as opposed to a copy). Occasionally, this poses a problem as no one can locate the original will. In those instances, Virginia law provides that a proponent of a...more

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Same-Sex Marriage To Be a Fundamental Right

The United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015) on June 26, 2015. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage...more

Virginia Supreme Court Issues New Ruling Regarding Missing Wills

The Virginia Supreme Court recently issued a ruling relating to missing wills and the legal standard courts must apply when an original will cannot be found and therefore an executor seeks to probate a copy of the will. While...more

Estate Planning for Young Families

Proper estate planning for young families is essential, despite often being overlooked by both clients and attorneys. Many young families view their estate as being “simple” because in their minds they “don’t have much,” and...more

The ABC’s of Estate Planning

What are the “ABC’s” of estate planning? Over the next few weeks we will discuss some simple but important concepts as we discuss the “ABCs” of estate planning. Today we will discuss “A” and “B”....more

Till Death Do Us Part. . . or at Least Until the Divorce Becomes Final

When important changes occur in life, it is advisable to reevaluate your estate planning to ensure it continues to meet the goals and objectives you have for your estate and your beneficiaries – and going through a divorce is...more

Fiduciary News - June 2015

Changes Coming for Pennsylvania Fiduciaries in Their Ability to Access and Manage Digital Assets and Accounts - On January 1, 2015, Delaware became the first state to enact a comprehensive law granting fiduciaries the...more

What Happens to Your Digital Life After Death? Planning for the Transfer Of Digital Assets

Most people do not think about the large digital footprint that they have created. More importantly, they do not think about how their digital assets might pass (or not) at death. Since these assets may have value, either...more

In Defense of Probate

A critical goal of estate planning is to ease the burdens of administering the client’s estate for her beneficiaries. Clients rightfully wish to streamline the process for settlement of their affairs and seek guidance on how...more

Capacity at Issue? Consider Making a Video

When you’re preparing a will or trust for someone for whom capacity might later be raised as an issue, you have a potentially powerful tool that can help avoid later disputes: video. There’s nothing like a judge seeing a...more

What Type of Last Will and Testament Should I Have? #EstatePlanningAttorney

Estate planning has a couple of constants and always will. The first is changes in your family and circumstances will always happen. Whatever plan you put in place will, over time need to be adjusted and changed based upon...more

Do same sex couples have the same legal rights as other couples?  [Video]

Phoenix business law firm Jaburg Wilk Estate Planning attorney Beth Cohn talks about the legal rights of same sex couples who are married or are planning to be married. For more information visit www.jaburgwilk.com....more

The New Year is Here: Do You Have the Essential Estate Planning Documents in Place?

Essential Estate Planning Documents - Below is a list and brief overview of the documents most commonly identified as the “essential” estate planning documents. Please keep in mind that everyone’s situation is unique...more

When Estate Plans and Shareholder Agreements Collide

The Virginia Supreme Court recently provided a reminder of the importance for small business owners to coordinate their estate plan with a shareholder agreement or other corporation, partnership, or limited liability company...more

Have You Reviewed Your Estate Plan Recently?

Estate planning has received some recent media coverage with the deaths of celebrities such as Robin Williams, James Gandolfini, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In the case of James Gandolfini, the coverage focused on his failure...more

Last-Minute Wills….What Counts?

Monitoring his emails and gazing at the sights on Elafonisi beach in Crete, attorney Al B. Wise receives a desperate 4:30 a.m. (Texas time) email from his best client Betty Makit Williams – “Going under Slim Cutter’s knife in...more

Last Wishes, First Impression: Potential legal issues arise after Munich recluse passes away, bequeathing Nazi-looted art to a...

Cornelius Gurlitt’s notarized will, which did not surface until after his unexpected death this past May, lists the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland as the heir to his vast art collection, which included works by Matisse, Dix,...more

The confusion being engendered by the Uniform Trust Code’s default trust-revocation methodologies (§ 602(c)).

In the pre-Uniform Trust Code UTC), unless the terms of a revocable inter vivos trust provided otherwise, the trust could not have been revoked by the settlor’s will. A will speaks at the time of the testator’s death, an...more

ERISA 8th Circuit: Deciding Who Is The Beneficiary — The Abuse Of Discretion Standard Trumps The Substantial Compliance Doctrine

Sometimes determining the correct beneficiary for ERISA-governed life insurance benefits can present real challenges. Can the deceased’s will prove the deceased’s intent designating the correct beneficiary? It...more

Case Illustrates Dangers of Executing a Will Without Legal Assistance

People sometimes try to save money by not consulting with a qualified attorney when executing their will, instead using a pre-printed form or online program. A recent court case offers yet another example of the hazards of...more

DIY Will is a 'Cautionary Tale'

The Florida Supreme Court Case of Aldrich v. Basile may serve as a cautionary story that online pre-printed forms that allow a user to essentially fill in the blank may not address the specific needs of the individuals using...more

It’s Not Too Late to Use Your Spouse’s Unused Estate Tax Exclusion

In Revenue Procedure 2014-18 the IRS provided an extension of time to those who wished to be sure that a decedent’s surviving spouse could benefit from the concept known as “portability”. In the Procedure, the IRS provides...more

5 Estate Planning Mistakes You Should Try to Avoid

In your experience, what’s the most costly mistake people make when preparing estate plans, and what can they do to fix them? That’s the question we recently put to attorneys writing on JD Supra....more

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