Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law



What is Estate Planning law? This area governs the laws, procedures and practices associated with planning for one’s estate in the event that he/she becomes incapacitated and for when he/she is deceased. It encompasses the roles and activities of Executors and Administrators; creation and administration of Wills and Last Testaments; Trusts and Living Trusts; Probate; Medical Powers of Attorney, DNR Orders and Advance Directives; associated tax issues; and various other related topics.

The laws governing most of these areas are created primarily on the state level and therefore vary greatly. The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) has sought to clarify, unify and modernize these laws throughout all the U.S states and D.C., but to date, only about 30% have completely adopted the Code, while some of the remaining state have only implemented parts of it. Estate related tax issues, such as gift tax laws and federal estate tax, and various college savings plans are regulated by federal as well as state laws.

The Estate Planning Center on HG.org provides in depth coverage of estate planning law, with detailed definitions and links to various resources. In addition to the topics referenced above, our Estate Planning Center also offers resources, infomraiton and links covering the Fundamentals of Estate Planning; Types of Wills and Testaments; Types of Trusts; Property That Does Not Pass Via a Will; and Other Estate Planning Issues.

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Articles on HG.org Related to Estate Planning and Trust Law

  • Can an HOA Prevent the Lawful Exercise of Gun Rights?
    Homeowners’ Associations are able to create and enforce many different rules and guidelines for those within the community. However, in usual circumstances, they are not permitted to take away the basic freedoms granted to United States citizens, but these HOAs could affect how rights are utilized within the area.
  • Can a Private Lender Initiate a Voluntary Foreclosure?
    Foreclosure of a property is often devastating to the person that is leasing or that owns the house. There are several processes involved in this event, and the lending agency holds the most power over the entire situation with the ability to initiate a voluntary foreclosure in usual circumstances.
  • Construction Expert Witnesses Explain Why Balconies Collapse
    Balcony collapses often lead to severe injuries or death when someone is on the ledge when the accident occurs. With the help of a construction expert witness, it may be possible to discover why this incident happened and if there is a liable party.
  • Your Special Needs Child and Estate Planning
    When there are children with special needs that may inherit or are dependent on the estate owner, certain provisions are necessary in the estate plan. This could include healthcare, long-term care, planning for the unexpected and hiring an agent to ensure business matters are taken care of while the child adjusts to his or her new role.
  • Three Types of Trusts: Differences and Similarities
    Trusts are created usually to assist heirs with managing or acquiring assets that may bypass probate or other legal concerns such as dependents that attempt to challenge a will. Other benefits of trusts may include evading certain taxes, lawyer expenses and keeping the income within the family or with a beneficiary that has been chosen by the estate owner.
  • Effect of Failing to Account for Unborn Children in an Estate Plan
    When building an estate plan, it is crucial to account for unborn children when their conception is known. Without planning for these children, the owner of the estate may have challenges to his or her will, last testament or other legal documents to pass down his or her assets to dependents.
  • Seller's Duty to Disclose Known Defects to Home Buyers
    You’ve hired the best real estate broker, so you thought, now your home is sold. You go on and soon forget about the old and bring in the new. But then, when you least expect it, you are served with a Demand for Mediation and Arbitration (or Lawsuit) for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why you ask.
  • What New Parents Need to Know about Wills
    Every parent should have an understanding of how will work and why one is necessary. Unfortunately, over half of all United States citizens have no will or any preparation for the next generation of heirs, and this could leave state processes passing on assets.
  • Small Estate Administration Considerations
    Smaller estates usually have less administration complications than their larger counterparts. However, administration considerations should be researched and understood by the owner so that he or she is able to leave enough to beneficiaries or heirs with probate processes known or similar situations mapped out.
  • Is an Anticompetitive Contract Clause an Ancillary Restraint that Will Survive Antitrust Scrutiny?
    Setting prices or allocating markets with your competitor is a terrible idea. Doing so is likely to lead to civil litigation and perhaps even criminal penalties.
  • All Estate Planning and Trust Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Estate Planning including: estate and trust, inheritance law, personal property, probate, wills.

Estate Planning and Trust Law - US

  • ABA - Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section

    The Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section is a leading national forum for lawyers, and currently has over 30,000 members. The Real Property Division focuses on legal aspects of property use, ownership, development, transfer, regulation, financing, taxation and disposal. The Trust and Estate Division focuses on all aspects of trusts, estate planning, employee benefits, insurance, and probate and trust litigation.

  • Elder Law Answers - Estate Planning

    The knowledge that we will eventually die is one of the things that seems to distinguish humans from other living beings. At the same time, no one likes to dwell on the prospect of his or her own death. But if you postpone planning for your demise until it is too late, you run the risk that your intended beneficiaries -- those you love the most -- may not receive what you would want them to receive whether due to extra administration costs, unnecessary taxes or squabbling among your heirs.

  • Federal Inheritance Tax

    Depending on where you live the tax code may make reference to inheritance tax, estate tax, and even "death duty." Here in the United States, there is a difference between estate taxes and inheritance taxes. Estate taxes are levied on representatives of the deceased person, while inheritance taxes are levied on the beneficiaries of an estate. Elsewhere in the world, the terms estate tax and inheritance tax are used interchangeably.

  • IRS - Estate and Gift Taxes

    The Estate Tax is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death. The fair market value of these items is used, not necessarily what you paid for them or what their values were when you acquired them. The total of all of these items is your "Gross Estate." The includible property may consist of cash and securities, real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests and other assets.

Organizations Related to Estate Planning and Trust Law

  • American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys

    The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys is an exclusive, membership organization serving the needs of attorneys and law firms nationwide. Academy members focus on one or more of the following areas: estate planning, elder law, post-mortem services and financial services. Members are equipped with the legal research and education it takes to serve consumers with the highest quality advice and documents.

  • American Association of Trusts, Estates and Elder Law Attorneys

    The American Association of Trusts, Estates and Elder Law Attorneys (AATEELA) is an invitation-only, professional association of estate planning and elder law attorneys from across the United States. Members are selected on the basis of their professional reputation, ability and creativity in the fields of trusts, estates and elder law. Each has made substantial contributions to these fields through lecturing, writing, and continuing education instruction.

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

    The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is a nonprofit association of lawyers established in 1949. Its members are elected to the College by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence and experience as trust and estate counselors. All ACTEC members have made substantial contributions to the field of trusts and estates law through writing, teaching and bar leadership activities.

  • National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys

    The National Network is a cooperative alliance of nationally recognized estate planning attorneys from across the country. Together they provide one another with the support and tools needed to serve their clients better while building highly successful and rewarding practices.

  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

    The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is a unique professional body providing members with a local, national and international learning and business network. STEP provides education, training, representation and networking for its members, who are professionals specialising in trusts and estates, executorship, administration and related taxes. Members advise clients on the broad business of the management of personal finance. Full members of STEP are the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates.

Publications Related to Estate Planning and Trust Law

  • ABA - Estate Planning FAQs

    The Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section provides a wealth of practice information. Whether you’re looking for RPTE Section news, law specialty issues and cases, or news-and-feature articles, we strive to meet your educational and informational needs!

  • Oxford Journals - Trust and Trustees

    Trusts & Trustees is the leading international journal on trust law and practice. The most significant source of information in its field, the journal is essential for all trusts practitioners and lawyers,

  • Trusts and Estates

    Trusts & Estates is the town center where experts who serve the ultra-wealthy's planning needs gather to gain insight into their specialties and to learn about related professions. This community includes attorneys, fiduciaries, accountants, investment advisors, charitable giving specialists, family office executives, insurance agents and valuation experts.




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