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Estate Planning Law Articles

Articles written by lawyers and expert witnesses worldwide
explaining the different aspects of Estate Planning.

The Consequences of Not Planning for Your Death

Millions of Americans have not taken the time to sit down and create a comprehensive estate plan. In addition, a shocking number of Americans...

Mistakes in Estate Plans

People like to do things for themselves. We all think that we know what we need to do and what is in our best interests. However, if you try to...

Considering Digital Tombstones

As part of your legacy planning efforts, you may wish to consider digital tombstones. What are digital tombstones? Essentially they are websites...

Estate Planning Uncertainty in an Election Year

Creating a comprehensive estate plan is a complicated undertaking and requires a thorough understanding of all the myriad tax laws that will...

Feeling Conflicted about Seeking Guardianship of a Parent? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t

For any adult child who is facing the decision whether or not to petition to become his parent’s legal guardian, feelings of conflict are...

Challenging a Will – 3 Questions

Answer: Maybe. In order to challenge a Will you must have “standing,” the legal right to challenge a will in court. In order to have standing...

How the Heck Do I Start a Probate Case? 3 Tips

If you've experienced the death of a close family member, you may have to soon confront the prospect of beginning the probate process. Though...

Estate Planning When Shacking Up – 2 Tips

According to recent survey data, less than half of Americans 18 and older are married. For unmarried or cohabiting couples, estate planning is...

Planning for Dementia

Most people have watched an episode of 60 Minutes at some point in their lives and are familiar with Mike Wallace who recently passed away at...

Advanced Age Can Bring Dementia With It

It may be human nature to avoid subjects that are not especially pleasant, and this is one of the reasons why people often procrastinate when it...

Are Estate Planning Documents Public Record?

In recent years, the rate at which technology has developed is mind boggling. Just a generation ago, the internet was virtually non-existent....

What Do I Need to Do After the Death of a Family Member?

We all hope never to need to know the answer to that question; however, if you do find yourself in the position of trying to figure out what...

How to Handle an Unexpected Inheritance

If you recently received a letter or a telephone call telling you that you just inherited a small fortune from a long lost relative you probably...

Estate Planning and Taxes -- Why the Two Go Hand in Hand

When most people make an appointment to sit down with their estate planning attorney, they have given some very serious thought to how they want...

The Conservatorship of Britney Spears

How many people not named Britney does it take to manage Britney Spears' affairs? It turns out that the answer might be two. Recently, a court...

Only an Attorney Can Create Your Estate Plan

It is generally true that you might be able to use the services of a non-attorney for your important estate planning documents and end-of-life...

Talk to an Attorney after Receiving an Unexpected Inheritance

Receiving an unexpected inheritance can sometimes feel a lot like winning the lottery. Suddenly, you have assets that you did not plan on...

Hiring Professionals to Serve as Trustees

If you are afraid of your family fighting over your estate in Probate Court, an estate planning attorney has ways to help alleviate that...

You Probably Need More than Just a Simple Will

Most people are aware that they should have some legal documents that state what happens to their property when they pass away. You probably...

Avoid Family Conflict by Hiring an Estate Attorney

Estate plans can have many different goals. At a minimum, an estate plan sets out what will happen to your assets after you pass away. One thing...

Who Will Watch Over My Pet After I'm Gone? 3 Questions about Pet Trusts

A pet owner who creates a pet trust ensures that his or her pet will be cared for after the owner dies. A pet trust is a legal entity that owns...

When to Make an Estate Planning Change – 3 Key Moments

Anyone who welcomes a new child should always update his or her estate plan as soon as possible. Not only will you want to make provisions in...

Wrongful Death Claims

When you lose a loved one, the grief is immeasurable. If you lost a loved one and you believe that someone else was at fault, it can add anger...

Don't Be Fooled by Estate Tax Changes

With the recent changes to the estate tax, many people have become confused about estate planning. Unfortunately, a lot of the confusion is...

A High Estate Tax Level Does Not Mean You Don't Need a Trust

With the current Federal estate tax limit being at a higher than normal level, some people think that a Revocable Living Trust is no longer a...

Plan for a Nursing Home Now

Have you ever considered what might happen to your assets if you have to go into a nursing home for a long term stay? Nursing home care is...

Elder Law Primer – What is Elder Law?

As you get older, different laws have a greater or lesser effect on your life. Elder law is simply a phrase used to describe all the legal...

Three Questions about Digital Remembrances

For many people, how you are remembered after you die it as an important part of your estate plan as ensuring your property will pass to your...

The Generous, but Temporary, Gift Tax Exclusion

  By TroyGould
One of the remarkable changes to the 2010 tax law increases the amount a taxpayer may gift on a tax-free basis from $1 million to $5,120,000...

Preserving Wealth - A Concern for Facebook Founders

If you have more money than you're going to be able to spend during your lifetime you have to consider tax efficient asset transfers. Clearly...

Don't Give Large Gifts Without Legal Counsel

You have to be extremely careful about giving gifts of significant value in light of the looming threat of the federal gift tax. Right now this...

Choosing a Digital Tombstone: 3 Tips

With all the tools that online life allows us, more companies are offering “Digital Tombstones” that offer the promise to keep your legacy...

Avoiding Awkward Family Money Situations: 3 Tips

If you have spent your life providing for your family and making sure they are well cared for, the thought of having to ask your family for a...

Estate Planning for Pets – Questions about Pet Trusts

A pet trust is a legal entity you create by creating a document that includes specific and legally required terms. If you use your Will to...

An Introduction to Elder Law – 3 Issues

When you are making your estate plan you may hear the phrase “elder law” but not really know what it means. Elder law is simply the collection...

Building an Estate Plan Without Retiring

A good estate plan is one that takes into consideration all of your major life events, including a planned retirement and the money you'll need...

Pet Trusts and How They Work – 3 Questions

When you create a pet trust, the trust becomes the owner of some of your property. Animals cannot own property, but if you can create a trust,...

Avoiding a Mistaken Disinheritance – 3 Situations

If you are previously married and have children, you'll want to pay special attention to your estate plan if you're planning on remarrying. In...

Preserve Your Wealth by Looking Ahead

If you find yourself in a position where you have more than ample resources to last throughout your lifetime you have to start to consider how...

Amy Winehouse Legacy: Probate Records Examined

There was speculation regarding the Amy Winehouse estate shortly after she passed away last summer. Sources were saying that they had reason to...

Power of Attorney - Revisited

  By Gunster
In previous issues of this magazine, I covered the use of a Power of Attorney (a “POA”) in real estate transactions for those situations in...

AB Trusts

What is an AB Trust and how can it maximize the federal estate tax exemption? An AB Trust is an estate planning tool used by married couples...

Choosing an Executor

An important aspect of estate planning includes creating a will, and as such, you must choose an Executor to administrate the will. How do you...

Online Legacies

It used to be that your only option for leaving behind a legacy was deciding on a grave marker, hoping for an obituary and leaving it up to your...

What is Long Term Care Insurance?

Contrary to popular opinion, long term care insurance is not health insurance or even disability insurance. Instead it covers the expenses of...

What is a Durable Financial Power of Attorney?

A durable financial power of attorney (POA) is a document that grants authority to someone of your choosing to handle your financial matters....

Durable or Springing POA

One of the most important documents you should have in your estate plan is a Power of Attorney. But do a little research on POAs and you’ll...

Is it Possible to Contest a Trust?

We’ve all heard of Will contests; long, drawn out battles over whether grandma was in her right mind when she cut Uncle George out of his share...

What to Expect in the Probate Process

Probate is the legal proceeding of administering the estate of a deceased person. During probate all claims are settled and the deceased...

Avoiding Probate

You often hear that you should ‘avoid probate’ when doing estate planning, but do you know why you would want property to avoid the probate...

Probate Benefits

Certainly you have heard about or read the reasons for avoiding probate, which is the legal process of ‘settling’ an estate. But were you aware...

Probate Length

You often hear about the length and expense of probate, and some aspects of estate planning are aimed at avoiding probate. But why does probate...

Special Needs Trusts

A Supplemental Needs Trust, also known as a Special Needs Trust, is a specific legal Trust designed to benefit an individual who has a...

A Last Will May Not Be Best Choice

If you are like a lot of people you may think that planning your estate simply equates to having a last Will drawn up. Of course you can indeed...

For Gay Couples Estate Planning Can't Wait

A lot of people tend toward procrastination, and of course most of us live busy lives and you do have to prioritize the things that are...

What Are the Benefits of an IRA Trust?

Ordinarily, when you have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA),you name a beneficiary and, at your death, the IRA goes to that person. The...

How to Appeal a Denial of Social Security Benefits

Although you may not have any problems qualifying for your Social Security benefits once you reach retirement age, there is always a chance that...

Adjudication of Land Registration - Indonesia

  By Leks&Co
Definition of adjudication based on Article 1 point 8 of Government Regulation Number 24 of 1997 on Land Registration (“GR No.24/1997″) is...

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) Briefing Note - United Kingdom

An LPA is a legal document that allows someone (called the Donor) to choose who they want to make decisions on their behalf when they lack...

What is an Advance Medical Directive?

An Advance Medical Directive is an essential estate planning document that lets you communicate your wishes for end-of-life medical care to your...

What Happens to an IRA With No Beneficiary Designation?

When you establish your IRA, you have the opportunity to designate beneficiaries - -people who will receive the funds in your account after you...

Estate Planning With a Special Needs Child

When you have a child with special needs, many areas of your life require additional planning and special arrangements, and your estate plan is...

Helping Your Parents Avoid Guardianship

As your parents get older, the concern grows that their mental faculties will become impaired, and they’ll no longer be able to handle their own...

Estate Planning for Parents

When it comes to making sure young children are taken care of in the context of estate planning, parents have two main areas to address the...

What are the Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust?

If you’re looking into putting together an estate plan, you may have heard about Revocable Living Trusts. You might be wondering what all the...

How Do You Own Your Property?

When it comes to estate planning, it’s essential for both you and your attorney to know how your property is titled. Knowing how you own your...

How Does Your Pet Fit into Your Estate Plan?

We’ve all heard the stories of wealthy eccentrics leaving millions of dollars – or even their entire estates – to their pets. But it’s important...

Difference Between an Irrevocable and a Revocable Trust?

When you’re deciding what type of trust you need, it’s important to understand what’s available to you. Trusts fall into a few basic categories,...

Understand Tax Laws Before Making Asset Transfers

If you were to enjoy extraordinary financial success one of the first things that may cross your mind would be to share the wealth with your...

Understand Limitations of POD Accounts

There are some rather simple tools that can be utilized to arrange for the transfer of assets to your loved ones, and perhaps the simplest would...

4 Major Issues to Discuss with Your PA Divorce Lawyer

Those about to begin the Pennsylvania divorce process often find themselves overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted. For many, meeting with a...

Four Reasons to Consider a Living Trust

A living trust is a powerful estate planning tool, and we discuss four reasons a family should consider using this tool within their estate...

Payable on Death Accounts are Not a Comprehensive Solution

You don't want to take some type of surface action and go forward with the idea that you have all of your ducks in a row. This is something to...

How to Address Personal Property with Your Estate Plan: The Distribution Letter

When it comes to the big decisions about your estate plan, such as deciding how much of your estate to divide amongst your children your will is...

An Overview of Estate Planning

If you are considering how best to plan for your future, estate planning is an option that everyone should take advantage of. In order to ensure...

3 Ways to Prevent Your Elderly Loved Ones from Fraud

The elderly population has always been an easy target for financial fraud by both illegitimate and legitimate companies. During the recent...

Tell Your Designated Power of Attorney Agent about Your Finances

If you have followed your estate planning attorney's advice, then you have named someone to be your agent in a General Durable Power of Attorney...

Efficient Philanthropy with Donor Advised Funds

Several months ago there was an interesting story that was floating around various Atlanta area news outlets about a challenge that was issued...

Make an Ethical Will Part of Your Legacy

When you are evaluating your assets and the heirs to whom you intend to make bequests, a lot of thoughts will invariably cross your mind. Money...

Estate Planning Uncertainty in an Election Year

Tax laws have a direct and significant impact on your estate plan. During an election year, such as this year, the fate of many tax laws is...

An Empty Legacy – When Celebrities Choose to Disinherit

As you go about creating your estate plan and making choices about who you want to receive your property, you may experience a feeling of relief...

Updating Your Will -- There May Be More Reasons to Do So Than You Realize

Your Last Will and Testament is your only chance to decide what happens to your estate assets upon your death. It is the cornerstone of your...

Probate Litigation -- How to Avoid It

Most people go to great lengths to avoid litigation of any sort; however, they often forget about the possibility of probate litigation, relying...

Estate Planning and Tax Consequences

Estate planning serves two very important functions. First, it allows you to decide what will happen to your estate assets upon your death. A...

How to Choose Which Trust is Right for Your Estate

If you are one of the millions of people planning to utilize a trust in your estate plan, then you are likely trying to decide which type of...

Passing on a Family Business

As the name implies, a family owned business is a business that remains in the family under ideal circumstances. If you are the owner of a...

Battle of the Wills - What Happens When More than One Last Will and Testament Turns Up

Huguette Clark, a New York heiress with an estate valued at more than $400 million, died last year just shy of her 105th birthday. A Last Will...

Waiting on an Inheritance that May Never Arrive

Surprisingly, many Americans are still counting on a family inheritance to support them during their golden years. This may be a seriously...

A GST Can Reduce Heavy Estate Tax Erosion

When you are a child you are taught to understand right from wrong. Because so much effort is put into making this point to you, unfairness can...

Estate Planning: Why Limit Yourself?

Some people recommend payable on death or transfer on death accounts as a way to transfer assets to your loved ones after you pass away. You can...

How to Know It's Time for an Estate Plan Tune-Up

Anyone with an estate plan should congratulate themselves that they've taken the required steps to adequately prepare for the future. However,...

Don't Leave Your Spouse's Probate to Your Children

No one wants to go through the probate process after a spouse dies, but there is an important reason that you shouldn't delay it. If you do not...

What is a Pour Over Will?

Attorneys use many different terms in estate planning and they sometimes use terms without thoroughly explaining what everything means. For...

Retiree Wisdom – Advice for Doing it Differently

A recent article discussed retirees and some common regrets they share. Though their answers are often not surprising they can be helpful if you...

Your Final Rest – A Decision with New Options

Though it may not be the most pleasant topic to bring up in casual conversation, we all will face the eventuality of a final resting place. In...

Gina Reinhart – The Richest Australian Decides To Disinherit

You may have recently heard the news out of Australia about the nation's richest woman, Gina Reinhart and her legal fight with her children over...

Acquiring Property in Greece - Buying Property in Greece

If you are planning to acquire real estate in Greece you have to set a perfect plan in order to put everything in the right place and to avoid...

Attorneys do not Suggest Probate Options for Their Own Benefit

Many people have an estate planning goal that includes avoiding Probate at all costs. Unfortunately, for many people, this includes avoiding the...

Money Pitfalls That Can Damage Your Retirement and Estate

Estate planning focuses on what you're going to leave behind after you die. If you're retired, how you spend your money now will significantly...

Financial Abuse: Elders Must Be On Guard

It is good to go through life staying positive, but at the same time you have to be aware of certain dangers that exist and take precautions to...


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