Estate Planning Law Center
Fundamentals of Estate Planning, Will & Testaments, Advance Medical Directives, Probate
- What is Estate Planning
- Fundamentals of Estate Planning
- Estate Executors and Administrators
- Fundamentals of Wills and Last Testaments
- Types of Wills and Testaments
- Advance Medical Directives
- Fundamentals of Trusts and Living Trusts
- Types of Trusts
- Property That Does Not Pass Via a Will
- Other Estate Planning Issues
- More Information about Estate Planning
- Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law
- Wills and Testament Law
- Wills and Testament Law by State
What is Estate Planning
Your estate consist of all your property, which includes your house and other real estate; tangible personal property; and intangible property, like insurance, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, pensions, etc.
The elements of an estate plan include a will; assignment of power of attorney; a living will or health-care proxy; and for some people, a trust.
When you are setting up an estate plan, ask yourself the following questions:
- Whom do you want to inherit your assets?
- Whom do you want handling your financial affairs if you are ever incapacitated?
- Whom do you want making medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them yourself?
Recent Articles Related to Estate Planning
- Passing the Estate to Nonfamily Members: Expert WitnessIn some situations, a person may wish to pass his or her property to a business partner, friend, church member or other individual outside of his or her own family. Understanding what heirs are and any statutory right to inherit is important. An expert witness can explain the steps that are legally necessary to effectuate this transaction and whether they were or were not present in a specific situation.
- New Jersey Estate Tax LawAs well as paying inheritance tax if you are the named recipient in a will people of New Jersey are also subject to additional Estate Tax if the value of the property is deemed taxable as well as adjusted gifts being taxable.
- Prenuptial Agreements and Digital Assets: Why You Need to Plan for ThemToday’s society largely stays in touch over social media and other electronic means. Individuals may share a number of digital assets or may want to keep them separate. Knowing how digital assets will be treated and divided in the event of divorce or death can provide clarity to this issue. Prenuptial agreements can help safeguard digital assets.
- What Is a “Transfer on Death Deed” and Should I Use It?There are many documents that may be created and used to permit the passing of property, assets and funds from one person to another upon the event of his or her death. Many of these are for business use if someone must leave the company or if a death occurs.
- Can a Co-Trustee of a Family Business Trust Eliminate the Other Co-Trustees?Some family businesses are held in trust which allow trusted trustees to protect the asset so that the business is not adversely affected by family disagreements. The trust document contains specific information and directives regarding how the family business can be ran and provide protections to the business and the beneficiaries.
- Expert Witness: How to Properly Plan for Wills and Estates to Avoid ContestPlanning for the future when death is inevitable is often fraught with complications when there are family members that may contest the last will and testament of the deceased.
- What Does Texas’s Community Property Law Mean for Your Divorce?Under Texas law, most assets that either spouse acquires during a marriage will be deemed community property when the spouses divorce. If you are preparing to end your marriage, here are some key facts to know about protecting your interest in community and separate property.
- Expressing Your Wishes and Mitigating Tensions Through Letters of IntentionThe estate planning process can be an overwhelming experience for clients. After all, we are discussing a pretty unpleasant topic (your ultimate demise), and what will happen when you’re gone. It is an inevitable part of life as we know.
- Expert Witness on Testamentary CapacityExperts are often needed when a will must be analyzed either before or after the person has died. Testamentary capacity is regarded as the legal and mental ability of a person to create or change a valid will.
- Changing Beneficiary Designations after a DivorceDivorces are never easy. Aside from the emotional aspects of it that are always difficult to deal with, there are many practical things to consider after a divorce is complete that few people think about until it actually becomes a problem.
- Divorce and Estate Planning
If you are going through or even contemplating a divorce, the single most important step you can take to make sure that your desires are carried out is to execute a new will, power-of-attorney and health care proxy.
- DIY Estate Plans
Many people view estate planning as selling of commodity documents (like wills, trusts, etc.). And if that is all there is to it, then they are right to choose DIY options like the form sites that are available. This article discusses DIY estate planning.
- Do-It-Yourself Wills Leave Families Unprotected
As the economy crawls sluggishly toward recovery, individuals and families continue to make difficult financial choices. In an effort to save money, people are increasingly attempting to personally handle tasks that were once reserved for professionals.
- Golden Years can be Tarnished by Lack of Planning
Retirees often come to Arizona to enjoy their golden years in great weather and an affordable state with spectacular natural beauty. Things sometimes turn ugly and expensive for seniors in Arizona, however.
- Is This a Good Time to Transfer Your Wealth to Your Children?
Is this a good time to transfer your wealth to your children? With the interest rates at a really low rate, and with the economic fallout from the present economy, even people with money do not feel flush now and may decide that they do not want to make gifts to the next generation. Even though the economy has been in recession many times before and has come out of it to prosperity, sometimes it is hard to look beyond the present time to see that prosperity.
- Making Estate Planning a Family Affair
Very few people are excited about drawing up their estate plans.
- Pet Trusts Are an Important Part of Estate Planning
A pet trust should be included as part of any good estate plan, just as a will, POS, HCP, and LW are the minimums everyone should have. The Helmsley debacle outlined some problems in her Pet Trust and will. Good drafting goes a long way.
- Repeal of Estate Tax Likely to be Short-Lived
As December 31 came and went, so did the federal estate tax - or at least for the time being. The estate tax, or the "death tax" as it is more affectionately known, is a tax imposed on the property and assets (i.e. "the estate") that an individual leaves behind at death. Under 2009 rates, the first $3.5 million of the estate was exempt from the tax while any amount over this was taxed at 45 percent.
- Seniors – Planning Ahead is Key to Financial Stability
Recently, there was a case in the news of a Brooks Astor, a New York socialite, who is now 104 years old. Her grandson is in a heated battle to remove his dad as Mrs. Astor's caregiver. In court papers that were filed, the grandson accused his father of ignoring Mrs. Astor's health and personal needs and requested a friend of Mrs. Astor's be appointed as her guardian.
- The Pitfalls of Improper Titling of your Assets
Even if the terms of your estate plan meet your current goals, your estate plan could be defeated if your assets are not titled in accordance with your particular estate plan.
- The Value of Gifts to Estate Planning
Gifts offer an important tool for Estate Planners to avoid federal estate taxes. However if gifts do not take into account the special circumstances of the giver and recipient it may create more harm than help.
- Three Ways to Ensure your Minor Children can Inherit without Costly Guardianship Proceedings
While it’s not a pleasant subject, sometimes parents pass away while their children are still under the age of 18. What happens then? In this article, we discuss the perils of guardianship and three ways to avoid it.
- What is IRS Section 529?
IRS section 529 or Qualified Tuition Programs (QTP's) are found under Title 26, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Subchapter F, Part VIII, Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code or "IRC". It is considered the most complicated and hard to read section of the Code and a good treatment for insomnia. This section deals with special tax breaks for families, hence the "insomnia effect".
- Why You Need an Estate Plan
With the repeal of the estate tax (and generation skipping tax or "GST"), you may have put your estate plan on hold. This could be a serious mistake and put your family's (and business') financial future in jeopardy!