You cannot be forced to accept an asset. The law has devised a very specific way to say "no" to a portion or all of a proposed gift or bequest. This technique is called a "Qualified Disclaimer." To be "Qualified," the disclaimer must be structured in a particular manner to meet the requirements of… Read More . . .
It has become my mission to shine light upon the paradox of privilege and the unique practical and emotional challenges that can come with a substantial inheritance. There is another legacy phenomenon within multi-generational families that has a tremendous emotional cost and that is the experience… Read More . . .
Ethical wills are a chance to leave love and wisdom to those who follow. Don't it always seem to go that we spend so much time worrying about our financial legacy, we don't always allocate enough time for our spiritual legacy (or even our historical legacy). An ethical will is a chance to put down… Read More . . .
Choosing an executor is a seemingly basic but sometimes overlooked decision in creating a last will. There is a difference between a good executor and a bad one. A few extra minutes of thought to appoint a good executor can avoid a host of problems down the line. Similar to hiring an employee, you… Read More . . .
Testamentary capacity refers to the mental ability required to make a Will. Generally speaking, people possess testamentary capacity if, at the time that the Will is executed, they: (1) are of adult age (in most jurisdictions that means over 18 years old), (2) understand the nature and consequences… Read More . . .
No one wants to think of the possibility of death - that is, his/her own death. But it is important to make sure that your family and other loved ones are provided for if anything happens to you. If you don't have a will then now is the time to give it serious thought. If you have made a will and… Read More . . .
Assigning a caretaker under the law is a vital concern for any parent or guardian. Your ward or child is among the most important people in your life; a legal guardianship is your only way to ensure that he or she is protected should anything happen to you. In addition, currently appointed legal… Read More . . .
The "rule against perpetuities" is often described as one of the most complicated legal rules ever! It's origin stems from the days of feudal England - some say as early as 1680 - when landowners often tried to control the use and disposition of property beyond the grave - a concept often referred… Read More . . .
Do you donate money to charity each year? Perhaps you donate to an organization dedicated to finding a cure for an awful disease that has affected your life or the life of your loved ones. Perhaps you choose to benefit organizations that support and encourage positive growth in our youth, such as… Read More . . .
Estate planning and choosing a guardian to take care of your children is difficult. It's not easy to think of anyone else raising your children, no matter how loving your family members or friends are. Yet, you can make a tremendous difference in your child's life by planning ahead. And you have… Read More . . .
When a person writes a will, they are leaving their property to persons and entities of their choosing. These gifts are legally binding, in the sense that the beneficiaries get legal title to whatever property is left to them. A will cannot be used to compel someone to do something, however. One… Read More . . .
Question: My father wants to read his wife's (my mother's) last will and testament because my aunt got all rights to everything my mother owned/had, but my father thinks that my aunt is doing things that went way beyond what the will stated. I need to know how he can go about getting a copy of the… Read More . . .
If you have young children, selecting someone to care for your minor children may be one of the most difficult aspects of planning your estate. It's difficult to choose someone to raise your child, no matter how loving someone might be. But should the unexpected happen, you can avoid potentially… Read More . . .
Estate planners use the term "natural objects of one's bounty" to refer to those individuals who would be expected to receive a share of a person's estate upon his or her death. Normally, the natural objects of a person's bounty are members of the immediate family who would take a share of the… Read More . . .
In all states except Louisiana, a parent may legally disinherit an adult child, provided the parent transfers his property to someone else during lifetime or leaves his property to someone else under a valid will. This article discusses the pitfalls a parent must avoid and the steps a parent should… Read More . . .
There is value in the story of an older client who had seen a very interesting clause employed in a will. There was a great deal of money at stake and the many family members had little reason to love each other, because they had never met and never knew of each other’s existence. It was expected… Read More . . .
In the not overly distant past, the writings of the testator were the only evidence of his or her intentions and mental capacity. Undue influence was harder to defend against when the only evidence was the testator’s writings and the recollection of those around them. Imagine the scene, the packed… Read More . . .
Elizabeth Edwards (July 3, 1949 – December 7, 2010) Elizabeth Anania Edwards (born Mary Elizabeth Anania) was married to John Edwards, a former U.S. Senator, who admitted having an extramarital affair during the final years of her life. Her Last Will and Testament makes no mention of her husband,… Read More . . .
The year was 1981, the state was Florida, and I had just flown back from Germany for my father's funeral. My sister and her family were down from New York, and, a few days after the funeral, we were sitting with my mother in a lawyer's office in downtown Pensacola. My mother had just learned that… Read More . . .
"I'm concerned that if I died first, and I just left all my assets to John, that he could get remarried or simply decide for whatever reason not to leave my boys anything upon his death." Sarah's heartfelt concern is shared by many individuals who are in a second marriage, where children can be… Read More . . .