Wills

News & Analysis as of

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

"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

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