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
- Understanding the Process of Probate in Florida: What You Need to KnowAccording to the Florida Bar Association, probate is a court-supervised process of finding and collecting the assets of a deceased person (called the decedent), paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the remainder of the assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries
- A Living Trust, Just What Is That?Many probate and estate planning attorneys act as if everyone should have a trust yet most Americans don’t even have a simple hand written will. Given that trusts can easily cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, it’s a big purchase that shouldn’t be taken lightly, consider the consequences if you do not have a proper trust:
- Common Misconceptions about ProbateThe number one misconception people have about probate is that having a will means no probate; all wills go to probate, whether it was a handwritten or typed, primarily because only the judge can sign over the assets to the beneficiaries.
- How Do You Know if Your Probate Attorney Is Qualified?What Should I Ask an Attorney that Handles Probate and Estate Planning? Ask about their experience; ask them how many probates have they handled in the last 10 years, and ask if they’ve been sued for one.
- Elder Law and Estate PlanningToday it's more important than every before to plan your estates. People are living longer and thus acquiring more assets, it is imperative that you protect those assets.
- Understanding and Defending a Will in CaliforniaProbate is a division of the Superior Court of the State of California. The Probate court has jurisdiction over what are deemed “legally incompetent parties”, generally that includes deceased, disabled, and incapacitated persons. The responsibility of the Probate court is to protect these individuals and their assets.
- A Trustee’s Responsibilities Administering a California Living TrustEstate planning clients often have a lot of questions about their obligations as a trustee of their living trust. Where the acting trustee is also the creator or “grantor” of the trust, the trustee typically has plenary power to act on behalf of the trust and may amend or even revoke the trust in its entirety.
- Enhanced Life Estate Deeds in FloridaEnhanced life estate deeds, commonly known as “Lady Bird Deeds” provide a legal mechanism for property to pass automatically to a person or group of people without going through Florida probate.
- Wills, Estates, and TrustsA person’s estate is comprised of everything you own, including your car, house, bank account, life insurance, personal possessions, and retirement account. Estate planning is the process of arranging to distribute your possessions upon your death. It does not need to be expensive or complicated, and knowing your family is taken care of can give you peace of mind.
- What Is Ancillary Probate?Ancillary probate is a mechanism of having two probate proceedings going on at the same time in different states. Whether a person’s estate will be subject to ancillary probate depends on the status of the property he or she owns and state law.
- 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!