As 2019 draws to a close, it may be time to take a fresh look at your financial and legal documents to ensure that your affairs are in order and that you are ending the year on a solid foundation
It is rather common these days here in Fairfield Glade and Crossville, Tennessee for a married couple to reside in a home that is the separate property of one spouse, and often the owner has children from a previous marriage or relationship. The owner of the home ultimately wants to leave the ho...
I answer a lot of "Ask A Lawyer" questions online. Here is one that came up recently (slightly edited for spelling and grammar): "My mom moved from GA to NC with me. We recently went to get a new license plate for her but we could not because the title of her car had her name and her deceased husband's name on it with no "and/or" beside the name. The plate office told us to go to the clerk of court with a will and death certificate. When we got to the clerk of court they told us we had to go to GA as the title was in GA. However, we are a minimum of 4 hours from GA. Is there anything else we can do switch the title without taking a long trip?"
There are lots of misconceptions about estate planning, and any one of them can result in costly mistakes. Understanding who needs an estate plan and what it should cover is key to creating a plan that is right for you.
Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is protect children and other loved ones from themselves. You might want to make sure that your children are financially secure during their lifetime or that your nephew’s education is paid for. Whatever your goals are, a proper estate plan can put provisions in place to make sure your loved ones are provided for, rather than having their inheritance squandered on a Ferrari, seized by a creditor, or given to an ex-spouse during a divorce.
A comprehensive estate plan can contain your wishes with as much detail as you want, including instructions for your funeral or memorial service. Make sure your family has a chance to remember and celebrate your life instead of placing the burden of arranging final plans—like what song will be playing at your funeral—on your already grieving loved ones.
You’re a unique individual with your own wishes, hopes, and dreams. Should a will that works for a single, 20-something be the same one used for a well-invested grandparent of 12? You’ve worked hard to create the life you have—make sure you trust your planning to an experienced estate planning attorney and not a fill-in-the-blank, cookie-cutter document generator (you know you’ve heard of them) with a final product resembling a Mad Lib game.
Make sure your valuables, mementos, and family heirlooms are handed down to the right person (or organization) who will really appreciate them. Failing to memorialize your wishes in a comprehensive estate plan with a will and/or trust results in intestate succession—the state’s best guess at what you would have wanted to be done with your things.
In 2008, Congress recognized the need for the public to understand the importance and benefits of estate planning by passing House Resolution 1499, which designated the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Nevertheless, according to a 2019 survey carried out by Caring.com, 57% of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents such as a will or trust despite the fact that 76% viewed them as important. Many of the respondents said this was due to procrastination, but many others mistakenly believed that it was not necessary because they did not have many assets.
The answer is, as in so many things in life, it depends. There is no one-size-fits all trust, and sometimes more than one is needed. Factors that need to be considered include:
An Arizona beneficiary deed is a nonprobate device to transfer residential real property to a named beneficiary upon the owner's death. Like a will, no consideration is required and the beneficiary’s acceptance is not required. Capacity to contract is required. Beneficiary deeds are revocable by recording a revocation, recording an absolute conveyance, or recording a subsequent beneficiary deed.
Estate planning can be a very difficult process. While it’s not brain surgery, making the decision to move forward with the planning requires us to face the fact that we will not live forever. This thought can stop many people right in their tracks. Others talk themselves out of seeing a qualified attorney to put together an estate plan based on some of the following common myths:
I actually never get asked this question, sadly. This is because people that age are immortal, invincible and made of rubber, or so they believe.
A nonprobate device to transfer residential real property to a named beneficiary upon the owner’s death. Like a will, no consideration is required and the beneficiary’s acceptance is not required. Capacity to contract is required. TODs are revocable by recording a revocation, recording an absolute conveyance, or recording a subsequent TOD deed.
Older parents are becoming more common, driven in part by changing cultural mores and advances in infertility treatment.
How frequently you should review your estate plan depends on how old you are and whether there has been a significant change in your circumstances. If you are over age 60 and you haven't updated your estate plan in many decades, it's almost certain that you need to update your documents. After that, you should review your plan every three years or so. But if you're younger, you don't need to do so nearly as often.
I get calls often from people moving to another state and wanting to know if they are going to need to have their estate plan updated. This is a very good question, and the answer is . . . it depends. That is what attorneys always say, right?
I get calls a lot from people asking how they should title their house. The answer is . . . you guessed it . . . it depends. First, it depends a LOT on whether you are married or single.
I have lost count of the number of times I have met with potential clients who are convinced that they need this or that document or amendment or whatnot, but they at least have open minds, and by the end of the meeting they realize that what they actually need is completely different, and far superior to what they had in mind.
It doesn't happen very often, fortunately, but every once in a while I get a call from an individual wanting me to prepare a particular document that he or she specifies by name. The only concern the caller has is how much it is going to cost. The caller is resistant to answering questions. That is like calling a doctor and asking him or her to write out a prescription for a certain pharmaceutical but refusing to provide your medical history and symptoms and refusing to allow a physical examination. Most doctors (the good ones anyway) will send you packing. You see, doctors don't sell drugs (the good ones anyway); they sell diagnoses and advice. And most doctors tailor that advice to your particular condition.
If your child has reached the teenage years, you may already feel as though you are losing control of her life. This is legally true once your child reaches the age of 18 because then the state considers your child to be an adult with the legal right to govern his or her own life.
Parents want their children to be taken care of after they die. But children with disabilities have increased financial and care needs, so ensuring their long-term welfare can be tricky. Proper planning by parents is necessary to benefit the child with a disability, including an adult child, as...
A power of attorney is one of the most important estate planning documents you can create, but it is also one that can be misused. While it isn't possible to entirely prevent the possibility of abuse, there are steps you can take in drafting the document to greatly reduce the chances.
How frequently you should review your estate plan depends on how old you are and whether there has been a significant change in your circumstances. If you are over age 60 and you haven't updated your estate plan in many decades, it's almost certain that you need to update your documents. Afte...
The key is to make your plans and prepare for problems BEFORE they happen. An article explaining why one should prepare before a crisis arises appeared on OakPark.com in “START WITH A PLAN (not a heart attack).” The article details an incident that happens all too often.