Estate Planning Lawyers in the USA
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- Inheritance Laws
Inheritance laws are determined on the state level. These laws come into effect when the person who died left no will or his or her will is invalidated due to not following legal formalities, being the product of undue influence or duress, the testator lacking the requisite capacity or for other reasons as determined under state law. Additionally, some inheritance laws take effect even if a valid will was left and if the will says something that contradicts state law.
- The Disadvantages of a Living Trust
Many financial service providers spout the advantages of a trust, promising that trusts can be used as an asset protection tool and can help your beneficiaries avoid the cost and expense of probate. However, living trusts also carry certain disadvantages with them, which should be carefully considered and weighed against the advantages.
- Donít Neglect these Issues that Could Deplete Your Estate
Individuals need to take the following often-neglected but important issues into consideration when developing an estate plan or they risk depleting estate assets:
- What Is the Process of Probate?
The probate process is the legal process that is undertaken after a person dies. This process helps to identify the individualís rightful ownership interests, pay off remaining debts and distribute property in accordance with the will or the laws of intestacy. This process involves several stages.
- Components of a Good Estate Plan
A thorough estate plan should be designed to avoid probate, save on estate taxes, appoint someone to act for you if you become disabled, and protect assets if you need to move into a nursing home.
- Can I Avoid Probate?
Probate is a process in which a personís final affairs are wrapped up, debts are paid off and any remaining assets are distributed according to the terms of a will or the laws of intestacy if there is no valid will. During this time, assets are tied up as beneficiaries impatiently await their share. Probate can also be expensive and time-consuming. For these reasons, many individuals try to avoid probate through one or more of the following ways.
- What Are the Laws of Intestacy?
The laws of intestacy are the default rules that are followed to dispose of a personís probate estate after he or she dies. These laws are based on state statute. In order to avoid these laws, a decedent can make a will or otherwise dispose of the assets before or at death, such as through a living revocable trust or a testamentary trust.
- Digital Assets in Estate Planning
Many individuals account for their real estate, securities and tangible property as part of their estate plan. However, much of peopleís lives are now online, potentially leaving a personís digital assets unclaimed or even susceptible to theft. A comprehensive estate plan should address the handling of digital assets.
- Holographic Wills: Pros and Cons
Having a will helps prevent a testatorís estate from passing through the laws of intestacy. However, if the will is not executed properly, these rules can apply if the will is considered invalid or does not completely dispose of all property under the will.
- Does My Will Have to Be Witnessed?
Wills allow individuals to avoid the stateís rules about who gets what portion of a decedentís estate. They also allow individuals to name their executors, name a guardian for their children and bequeath specific items to certain individuals. However, if a will is not properly executed, the will can be invalidated and the rules of intestacy (dying without a will) can apply.