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estate administration & probate Archives

How IRS changes may affect probate administration

Estate executors may not be familiar with the obligations they are saddled with in administering the estate of a loved one. Indeed, the responsibilities center on making sure that all debts and liabilities are paid before property is distributed. Depending on the size of the estate, one of the largest obligations could be estate taxes.

Three tips to avoid will contests

Headlines about high-value litigation cases commonly occur when a lawsuit is filed and when verdict is rendered, but few take into account the time that passes between those seminal events. For estate litigation (otherwise known as will contests), a “quick” settlement may occur 16 to 18 months after a suit is filed. For contested matters that reach a verdict, the average time is 2 to 3 years.

The difference between benign and undue influence

People create estate plans for the purpose of passing on assets to heirs and beneficiaries according to their own wishes. While we generally believe that people express their own desires in writing wills or creating trusts, instances may arise where a will was constructed through undue influence.

Is 'purposeful' estate planning right for you?

It is natural for people to either create or modify estate plans so that they can take advantage of tax laws that can result in substantial savings. However, with the best financial intentions, a person’s overall purpose in setting up trusts or modifying them may be lost.

Do I always transfer assets through probate court?

If you learn that you are tapped to be an executor, the responsibilities that come with administering an estate can be overwhelming. After all, the process of legally transferring property and assets from the deceased to heirs or beneficiaries (and even creditors) is not something that people do every day. Also, if there are disputes over who is entitled to receive the property, this can be daunting.

The basics of self-directed IRAs

If you have not heard of a self-directed IRA, you are certainly not alone. Most people who are building wealth through IRAs, use the traditional means (i.e. Roth, Inherited, SEP or SIMPLE). However, most are unfamiliar with the concept of self-directed IRAs and the benefits of having them.

How to protect digital assets with proper estate planning

If you created your estate plan before 2005, chances are that it did not have any provisions dealing with the handling or distribution of digital assets. Don’t worry, if this describes the current state of your plan, you are not alone. Most estate plans created before then did not deal with these assets, since they are a relatively new aspect of estate planning. However, a large majority of people have now have email accounts, digital copies of important documents (such as deeds and contracts) as well as pictures and videos stored on a hard drive or in a cloud storage mechanism. 

Options for handling inherited homes

Inheriting property from a loved one may bring about a range of emotions. On one hand, you may be saddened by a reminder of what he or she left behind. On the other hand, it could be an opportunity to keep a part of your family’s history relevant for another generation.

Can you prevent an inherited IRA from being lost in bankruptcy?

People in the midst of creating an estate plan understand that the ultimate goal is to provide for others (especially vulnerable adults and children) when they are no longer able to do so. But part of the difficulty of estate planning is that the future cannot be predicted.

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