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estate administration & probate Archives

How pet trusts are becoming increasingly popular

For those who believe that pet trusts are only for wealthy and senile individuals, this sentiment is gradually changing across America. In fact, more people are making provisions in their wills for family dogs and cats to be cared for in the event their owners passed away or became incapacitated. The American Pet Products Association reported that last year, 9 percent of pet owners included provisions in their wills to ensure that their cats and dogs were cared for. This was an increase compared to the number of people who did so in 2010.

Jerry Lewis leaves children from first marriage out of his will

It is said that family members come together when a loved one is terminally ill so that they can set aside old grievances. While this behavior is ideal, it is not always the case. In fact, some people may take their umbrages to the grave by cutting specific people out of their wills. This may include children, siblings, business partners and especially former spouses.

Can child support be sought from a deceased parent's estate?

The passing of a loved one is undoubtedly an emotionally difficult time, even if the recently deceased was a non-custodial parent who was delinquent on child support obligations. In these instances, a custodial parent may feel like a vulture over roadkill, but the reality is that a deceased parent’s child support obligations may not pass into the afterlife with them. Like other debts, creditors have a right to initiate appropriate actions to obtain payments on outstanding debt.

Is a battle brewing over George Michael's estate?

Since a dispute over the late George Michael’s estate arose between the late pop star’s family and his lover, the media and legal analysts alike have been waiting with baited breath on whether a probate litigation battle will ensue.

What age should you plan on living to?

While a number of estate planning posts focus what should be done to prepare for retirement, not much is said about life expectancy. After all, most retirement plans are based in part on how long a person is expected to live. With health care advances and more emphasis on healthy living, it is out of the question to think about living to 100?

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.

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