Exactly what the definition of a "friend" is may vary from person to person. Most individuals would say that you can't be friends with someone that you have never met (Manti Te'o and Lennay Kekua notwithstanding). Whatever your opinions on the matter may be, a man who passed away in Illinois last summer left behind everything that he owned to a pair of individuals that he considered to be his friends though he had never met them in person. He did see them frequently on the television … [Read more...] about Actors Receive Bequests From “Friend”
There are two sides to consider when you think about the subject of last will challenges. The first thought that may come to mind is that some disgruntled party is unwilling to accept the final wishes of a deceased individual. To prevent successful challenges when you know that there could be those who are not happy with your decisions you should explain your concerns to your estate planning attorney. He or she will gain an understanding of the situation and take this into consideration when … [Read more...] about Challenging a Last Will
The so-called "fiscal cliff" included changes to the estate tax that would have been devastating for many. If no deal was made to avoid falling over the cliff in 2013 the estate tax exclusion would have been reduced to just $1 million. The maximum rate of the tax would have gone up from the 35% that was in place in 2012 to a staggering 55%. After the crisis was averted via an 11th hour compromise we were spared the above fate. Going forward in 2013 we have much of the same with a slight … [Read more...] about Fiscal Cliff Compromise Provides Estate Tax Clarity
Most people do not have an estate plan in place, and younger adults are more likely to be going through life without having made any preparations than older ones. You may say that this is logical because estate planning is absolutely more important for senior citizens than it is for young adults. In fact, it could be argued that nothing is further from the truth. At the time of this writing the average life expectancy for people of all ages is 78 years. So for the purposes of this example … [Read more...] about Have You Selected a Guardian for Your Minor Children?
Each year many of us make resolutions that we intend to make good on once the holiday season has come and gone. This year we would like to urge everyone to consider the importance of estate planning. The statisticians tell us that the majority of people are going through life without a solidly constructed estate plan. If you are among them you are quite frankly doing your family a disservice. We never can predict the future, and even if you are a relatively young adult you should execute the … [Read more...] about New Year’s Resolution: Talk to an Estate Planning Lawyer
If you were to go on vacation for an extended period of time you would have to leave behind instructions to whoever was watching your home and otherwise looking after your affairs. You would invariably go through a checklist in your mind and leave behind all of the relevant information that the person handling your affairs would need. A similar dynamic exists when you are engaged in estate and incapacity planning. You never know what the future holds, and there is some practical information … [Read more...] about What Will Your Representative Need to Know?
A lot of people would say that you have paid more than your share of estate taxes if you wind up parting with $471 million or so. The case of the estate of the deceased art collector Ileana Sonnabend demonstrates that this amount may not be enough for the Internal Revenue Service. It all revolved around a work of art, a sculptural combine called "Canyon" that is the creation of Robert Rauschenberg. This work would be very valuable on the open market if it wasn't for the fact that it can never … [Read more...] about When Is $471 Million Not Enough?
The body of the actor Sherman Hemsley has finally been put to rest after the probate court in El Paso, Texas found that the last will that he executed before passing away is indeed valid. You may recall some of the earlier reporting that we have done on the story. Hemsley died of lung cancer back on July 24. He had a longtime dear friend that he lived with named Flora Enchinton. Helmsley reportedly never married and he didn't have any children so he named Enchinton as the sole heir to his … [Read more...] about Body of Actor Hemsley Finally Put to Rest
There are various options available to you when you are looking ahead toward the inevitable, and you really should not automatically assume that a last will is the best choice for you. However, many individuals make assumptions and they go forward without professional advice. As a result they sometimes choose courses of action that yield unintended negative consequences. You should certainly discuss your unique situation with a good estate planning lawyer before you decide on a last will as a … [Read more...] about Obtain Our Report Examining DIY Last Wills
People who own pets should consider the future of their animals when they are engaged in the process of estate planning. This is actually true for everyone because even young people sometimes meet with tragic circumstances. But of course it is more important for senior citizens who own pets, and indeed pet ownership can be beneficial for those who have reached an advanced age. You should not let the possibility of predeceasing the animal prevent you from enjoying all the benefits that go along … [Read more...] about Access Your Free Report on Pet Planning