Wills

News & Analysis as of

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

5 Guardianship Clauses You Need in Your California Will

Writing a will is one of the most important things that you can do for your children: you are ensuring that they will be taken care of after you are gone – both financially and emotionally. However, the time and effort that...more

Five Estate Planning Tips to Prepare For Your Upcoming Trip

After surviving this past winter’s polar vortex, it is hard to believe that summer is flying by and that vacation season is in full swing. Summer vacation, or any trip, is a great opportunity to relax and recharge by spending...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Trust Code UTC), unless the terms of a revocable inter vivos trust provided otherwise, the trust could not have been revoked by the settlor’s will.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

What’s The Best Way To Pass On A Restaurant At Death?

Most restaurant owners want to provide for their families when they die and protect their assets from liability. However, there are issues if the owner just conveys the real estate in a Will. ...more

When Wills are Contested

Skilled estate planning is essential for ensuring your assets are handled properly and your wealth maximized while you are alive, and for directing the flow of your wealth after you pass away. A well-crafted will is central...more

Estate Planning After Divorce

A good estate plan should be flexible and structured to account for foreseeable life events. However, even the best estate plan cannot accommodate every turn your life may take. Periodic review and tweaking of an estate plan...more

Probate v. Non-Probate: What Is the Difference?

When planning your estate it is important to understand the difference between probate and non-probate assets. Probate is the process through which a court determines how to distribute your property after you die. Some assets...more

Lottery Winner Without A Will Dead After Cyanide Poisoning

According to a sensational report, the widow of a Chicago lottery winner who was poisoned with cyanide fought with the man’s siblings over control of his estate. The battle included a fight over his nearly half a...more

Thinking Of Establishing Florida Residency? What To Consider Before Changing Your Legal Residence

Many clients whose family circumstances and employment situation permit them to spend in excess of six months every year in Florida may elect to become Florida residents. The biggest advantage, compared to being Michigan...more

Estate Planning Update: Make Sure to Address Social Media

Think twice before guffawing over the idea of addressing social media in your will. Not only can it make life easier for your survivors, a social media will is recommended by the United States Government....more

Common Estate Planning Misconceptions

Like many areas of law, estate planning is rife with confusion. And it is often misunderstanding that leads to costly mistakes — mistakes that can produce negative effects now or in the future. However, misconceptions...more

Steps to Making Your Will

You probably know you need a will, but do you know what a will is? A will, also called a last will and testament explains your final wishes and instructs how you would like them carried out. A will can do many things...more

Common Reasons for Probate Litigation

When someone dies, the probate process begins. Probate typically involves identifying and inventorying the property of the deceased, appraising the property, paying off debts and taxes, distributing the property according to...more

Florida statute provides confidentiality in disputes involving wills and trusts

Which American president was the first to incorporate arbitration as a dispute resolution method in his will? Every lawyer swears an oath to maintain the secrets of clients. This is the client’s guarantee that when he...more

Where There’s A Will, Is There Always A Way?

After their respective divorces Anita Will married Shelby A. Reck in Oklahoma. At the time each had a child and an Oklahoma home from their former marriages. Following the blissful event each adopted the other’s child, they...more

Lessons from Tony Soprano’s Estate Plan

James Gandolfini, a/k/a Tony Soprano, died unexpectedly at the age of 51. Not that we should all take money management lessons from a TV mobster, nor should we take guidance on estate planning from him, but the death of a...more

When are “No-Contest” Clauses Enforceable?

We are often asked about in terrorem clauses or “no-contest” clauses in wills or trusts. Can they be enforced? Under what conditions? Can a contesting party really lose everything? Does a contesting party put anyone else’s...more

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