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Can a Will Be Used to Escape Taxes?

When you are writing a will and planning an estate, there are many considerations to keep in mind. In addition to making sure your assets are passed on according to your wishes, you'll also likely want to make sure your estate doesn't pay any unnecessary taxes.

However, a will is not the best legal instrument for escaping taxes because wills are subject to estate taxes. So, if you are concerned about your estate paying too much on taxes, you may want to consider alternate means of transferring property, such as a trust.

Estate planning is a complex topic, though, so let's look at the basic notions, giving you an idea of what might be possible and where to start.

By the time you're a grandparent, the hard work should be over. Your kids are (hopefully) grown and self-sufficient, and you're either enjoying retirement or looking forward to doing so.

But the life of a grandparents isn't entirely carefree -- there are still some legal issues that can arise and are particular to grandparents. Here are five of the most important:

What You Need to Know as a Will Executor

You have been named the executor of a will, which sounds very serious and a little scary to you. What do you have to do and can you get help if you need it?

Although you are supposed to be in charge should anything happen, you have more questions than answers at this point. So let's go over an executor's role.

You can leave assets to your grandchildren just as you can leave them to your children. But just because it's legally allowed doesn't mean the legal process is exactly the same, or that such a transfer is without its legal quirks.

Because there is a greater likelihood that your grandchildren will be minors when you create your estate plan, you may have additional concerns as well as additional options when creating trusts and gifts. Here are a few things to consider when leaving assets to grandchildren.

Why You Need a Life Care Plan and a Lawyer to Help

When we are healthy and everything is going well, we don't like to dwell on the possibility of disaster, illness, or misfortune. But by addressing the issues that could cause us trouble later in life, we minimize the likelihood that a catastrophic event will thwart all our plans.

Even if you are convinced that you need a plan, you may not know what you need and how to ensure that everything is in place, legally speaking, so that your plan is carried out. Enter the attorney, also known as a life care planner.

Electronic Estate Law: New Account Access Proposal

We used to write things down on paper, including our estate plans. That wasn't super secure -- documents erode, get lost, or are destroyed. But now we conduct much of our personal business electronically and there is a new complication, providing fiduciaries access to digital assets while maintaining user privacy.

There is a proposed solution, however: a uniform approach to electronic account access across the country -- one that protects privacy -- known as the Revised Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RFADAA). Nearly half of the states are now considering passing the legislation, so let's ignore the unwieldy name and consider what is being proposed. This is about people rifling through our electronic drawers!

Safe Deposit Tips: What Goes in Safe Deposit and What Does Not

The whole point of a safe deposit box is to ensure that certain items are, well, safe, meaning not easy to access. Still, not everything that needs safeguarding ought to be kept in a safe, so before you lock away your precious items -- hiding the only existing copy of some critical documents -- check out this guidance from Safe Bee on what exactly goes in a safety deposit box and what does not.

Checklist for Renting out Your Home

There are many reasons to rent out a home rather than sell it. Say you have a new professional opportunity in a different city but are not yet certain that you want to commit to a lifetime move, or the sales market is not as strong as you'd like. Those are times when renting out your property might be preferable to selling, among others.

Before you list your apartment or home as a rental, however, here are some things to consider. Going through this checklist, based on guidance from BiggerPockets, will help to ensure that you get what you want from the rental situation, rather than just a new headache.

Harper Lee, Old Age, and Capacity to Contract

The novelist Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird and last summer's release Go Set a Watchman -- died last week at age 89. She reportedly died peacefully but her passage doesn't put to rest the controversial questions surrounding Lee's most recent publication and whether she was of sound mind, giving her permission to publish. It only makes them more pressing.

Lee was a private woman who led a solitary life, out of the spotlight for decades. But in the last year, she repeatedly made headlines with the announcement of a new book's release and the making of a musical of her classic novel. Many wonder whether Lee really wanted all this.

The stereotypical retiree moves south for better weather and a more relaxed lifestyle. (Picture couples playing shuffleboard in Fort Lauderdale.) But there might be some better reasons to change states after you retire.

Some states are known for having more friendly tax laws for retirees. So where should you take your shuffleboard skills and your IRA? Here are a few suggestions: