Keyword Search Result: will

Am I responsible for my father’s debts?

The Facts: My uncle died without a Will. He was never married and has no children. He owned a house and a car and likely died with significant debts. No one in the family wants to handle his estate because they are concerned that they will be personally responsible for paying that debt. The Questions: […]

Consistency Is the Key

The Facts: My mother’s Will contains provisions that are inconsistent with other documents she has signed and with what she told my sister about the distribution of her estate. The Question: Are the Will provisions void or are the other documents unenforceable? The Answer: Unfortunately, the situation you’ve described is quite common and often creates […]

Setting Up a Trust For Your Pet

The Facts: I have two dogs that I consider part of my family. I want to be sure they are cared for after I die. Someone suggested that I include a Pet Trust in my Will The Question: Do you think this is a good approach? The Answer: Yes, I do. However, in addition to […]

Will My Brother Still Inherit?

The Facts: My mother died recently. She and my brother, who is my only sibling, had not spoken to each other in over a decade. In her Will, my mother disinherited my brother. On the beneficiary designation form for her IRA, my mother named my father, who predeceased my mother, as the sole beneficiary. She […]

Who Can Dispute the Will?

The Facts: My sister died recently. In her Will she left 50% of her estate to friends and 50% of her estate to a charity. I feel she should have left her estate to her family. The Question: As her sibling, can I contest the probate of her Will? The Answer: Whether you can contest […]

Vacation Planning and Estate Planning

It is that time of year when many people make vacation plans that involve flying or driving long distances or engaging in activities that are risker than their day to day activities. Whatever their vacation plans may include, being in a different environment, coupled with the risks associated with travel and the possibility that something […]

Your ‘To Do’ List Should Include Updating Your Will

We all know that time flies by and that important things are sometimes put on the back burner as we rush around taking care of our day to day responsibilities. We have also all heard heartbreaking stories about people who had every intention of revising their estate plans but, failed to take the necessary steps […]

Do I Really Have to pay That Back?

Estate planning clients often ask me how loans they have made to friends and family members should be addressed in their Wills. Since a private loan is simply an agreement between individuals, there is no right or wrong way to deal with loans when the lender dies.  The intent of the parties as expressed in […]

Is it Time to Revise Your Will?

Recently I was reminded of how important it is to update your Will when circumstances change. A client came to see me about probating her husband’s Will. Unfortunately, her husband had signed the Will before he met my client and did not take the time to revise it.  Since he did not have any children […]

Calculating an Executor’s Commissions

There seems to be a great deal of confusion about the commissions that may be paid to the executor of an estate. Clients frequently ask me if they should specify in their Will the total commission that should be paid  to the executor or if it is better to have the commissions determined by the […]

Will or Beneficiary Form: Which Controls?

The Facts: I was told that the money in the joint account I have with my son and the money in my IRA will not be distributed according to my Will when I die. The Question: Is that correct? The Answer: Yes, that is correct. Many people mistakenly believe that, following their death, the provisions in their Will […]

Who is Required to Get Notice of the Probate of My Will?

The Facts: My father died 2 years ago. My mother is receiving hospice care. In her Will my mother leaves her estate to me and my sister. Her Will provides that my estranged brother who has not been seen or heard from by anyone in the family for over a decade is not to receive anything. […]

Children’s Inheritance When a Parent Dies

The Facts: I was married for 20 years and have two sons ages 19 and 13. I am now divorced and my ex-husband has remarried. Despite the settlement papers we signed in connection with our divorce, my ex never paid child support or contributed to my sons’ education expenses and has not been part of my […]

What if a Beneficiary Dies Before Me?

The Facts: My mother’s brother, Frank, never married and did not have any children. He died with a Will that left everything to my mother. Although Frank and my mother had a brother, John, Frank did not mention John in his Will. Unfortunately, my mother died a year before Frank. I am my mother’s only heir. […]

The Who, What, Why Etc. of Contesting a Will

Clients often express concern that a dissatisfied family member may contest the probate of their Will. While a Will contest can be costly both in terms of money and time, only certain individuals can object to the probate of a Will and only certain grounds for objecting are acceptable. A person is able to file […]

What Happens if you Die Without a Will?

Many people mistakenly assume that, if they die without a Will, all of their assets are taken by the government. Although seizing a person’s assets may be a great way for the government to raise revenue, unless a person owes the government money, the government will not step in and seize a person’s assets when […]

Who is the Record Owner of Your Property?

With low interest rates and a glut of properties on the market, an increasing number of clients are looking to purchase real property. Many of those clients are purchasing the property with friends and family members and have questions about how best to take title to the property. Since joint ownership of property can take […]

What is Probate?

As an attorney that focuses on estate planning, I am frequently asked what “probate” means. Technically, probate is the court procedure by which a decedent’s Will is either proved to be valid or found to be invalid and unenforceable. However, many people use the word probate in a more general sense to mean the process […]

Wills vs. Living Trusts: What’s Right for You?

The saying that nothing is certain except death and taxes is not accurate. The fact that taxes will increase is also a certainty, as is the fact that many people try to avoid paying taxes. Unfortunately, some attorneys take advantage of the public’s aversion to paying taxes and convince people that living trusts, also known […]

Children From a Prior Marriage & Property Ownership

The Facts: My father had a daughter, Jane, from a prior marriage. He and Jane did not stay in touch. Since he wanted me to have his house after his death and wanted to avoid probate, my father put my name on the deed to his house after my mother’s death. The deed does not identify […]

Estate Planning, Legal Separation and Inheritance

The Facts: My husband and I agreed to separate over 20 years ago. Since neither of us wanted to remarry, we never filed for a divorce. In my Will my estate is divided equally between my current partner and my son. The Question: I was told that my husband may have a claim against my estate when […]