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  • What Advantages Do Living Trusts Provide?

    Many people think that trusts are only useful for the wealthy, but this is not the case.

  • What Are My Rights as an Executor and Beneficiary?

    Executors and beneficiaries to a will each have rights and responsibilities as promulgated under state law. Both have important roles in the probate process and mechanisms to ensure that their rights are considered by the court.

  • What Are the Grounds to Contest a Will?

    Because wills provide the final word from a decedent, courts are hesitant to step into the decedentís shoes and attempt to speculate on his or her intentions. However, heirs may be unhappy with the terms of a will, especially if they are given a small portion of the estate or left out of the will completely. An individual may be able to contest a will if legal cause exists to do so.

  • Do Children Have the Right to Inherit?

    Whether a child has the right to inherit largely depends on whether the person who died has a valid will or not. With a will, the testator determines how he or she wants probate assets handled. Without a will, state laws of intestacy govern.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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