Estate Planning News - Law and Daily Life
Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Recently in Estate Planning Category

A divorce can be an emotionally and legally confusing time. Among the myriad documents and legal requirements for divorce, updating your will may fall through the cracks. Which is OK, as long as you're OK with your soon-to-be-ex inheriting all of your property.

Most divorcees aren't OK with that, which is why it's probably a good idea to disinherit your spouse. But it may not be so easy -- here are the ins and outs of disinheriting a spouse (or ex-spouse).

Following the death of a relative, the last thing anyone wants is a fight over the assets of the deceased. Everyone, including those in the court system, want the process to go as smoothly as possible.

With all of these good intentions, how do we still get into bitter disputes over inheritance? How can these disputes be avoided?

If you're going to appoint someone to handle your legal and financial affairs after you pass away (and you absolutely should), you want to pick someone who is capable and trustworthy. After all, this person may have access to your Facebook account when you die.

And even if you've already chosen an executor, your work may not be over. Here are some common situations that can have you reconsidering your executor:

Some older homeowners who perhaps didn't save enough for retirement or are outliving their retirement benefits are turning to reverse mortgages as a way to borrow against the value of their home. While most people understand how a basic mortgage works, a reverse mortgage sounds a bit more confusing.

And although a reverse mortgage is fairly simple and can add much needed income, elderly consumers should be wary of fraud and other scams when considering whether a reverse mortgage is right for them.

How to Set Up a Living Trust

Are you planning for the future?

What will happen to your property after you pass? Will it go into months and months of probate while your family wait and pay hundreds in court costs and legal fees? Or, do you have a living trust?

Are you considering setting up a living trust yourself?

If you inherited property as an heir or next of kin this year, you might have thought you were getting a windfall. Instead, you may have just gotten a more complicated tax filing.

Before you can determine how much you'll owe in taxes on your inheritance, you have to first figure out if you even have to pay inheritance taxes in the first place.

None of us want to think of our loved ones or ourselves being incapacitated or unable to make end-of-life decisions. But as we and our families age, these decisions become more important, and it becomes necessary to have a plan in place should the unthinkable happen.

Living wills and durable powers of attorney are two types of plans that can ensure a person receives his or her preferred medical treatment, and they function slightly differently. So here's a quick overview of the differences between living wills and durable powers of attorney.

Buying a gravesite isn't exactly an everyday purchase. But it is an important, and often very costly, purchase that most people think about when planning their estates.

Do you know what you're getting when you buy a gravesite?

This is one purchase you should not make without asking these five questions first:

We are often warned that the Internet is forever. Since we users are not (yet) immortal, what happens to our online lives after our corporal ones are over?

On Thursday, Facebook announced that users can now designate a legacy contact: "a family member or friend who can manage their account when they pass away." So what happens to your feed after you've shuffled off your last status update? And what about your digital assets: email, e-books, etc.?

While some states have enacted laws addressing a deceased person's online accounts (and the Uniform Law Commission has proposed a nationwide statute on the matter), more often than not, how your data is dealt with after death will come down to your particular service provider. Here's a general overview:

Robin Williams Estate Fight: How Do You Challenge a Trust?

Almost six months after the tragic death of Robin Williams, the predictable has happened: There's a squabble over his estate.

The battle pits Williams' three children (from his two previous marriages) against his widow Susan, to whom he was married for three years. Williams left behind a comprehensive estate plan consisting of trusts for his real estate and for his children.

Because trusts are a more bulletproof option than distribution through a will when it comes to estate planning, how can you challenge a trust? Here are a few possibilities: