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Pet Provisions: Tips About Inheriting an Animal

Everyone loved your uncle Joe, but his Doberman ... well, not as much. If your uncle left you his pet as part of your inheritance, are you stuck with this dog?

Not necessarily. There are alternatives that may be better for both you and the animal. But before giving up the dog, consider that caring for animals can have great health benefits. Also, it's a way to keep Joe's memory or spirit living with you, quite literally.

Do Joint Tenants Have to Be Married?

Joint tenancy is a property law term that describes a type of home ownership. Joint tenants do not have to be married, and joint tenancies are not necessarily limited to two people.

There are perceived advantages to joint tenancies as forms of ownership. But beware, there are also certain risks.

Wills can be intimidating. Aside from the contemplation of death, trying to craft a legal document that accomplishes everything you want can be a daunting task. Interpreting wills without the help of the person who drafted it is a notoriously tricky practice, so getting it right is essential.

With so many ways to get it wrong, how do you make sure you have a valid will that properly takes care of your estate? Be sure to avoid these common mistakes when you draft your will:

Estate planning is never easy. Contemplating end-of-life decisions and inheritance questions can be legally and emotionally complex. Unfortunately, estate planning for a family member with special needs can make the process even more difficult.

But there are ways to make estate planning for people with special needs easier. And knowing what to expect, including the potential perks and pitfalls, is the best way to start.

Grave Matters: How to Sue a Cemetery

Strange things happen in cemeteries. And we're not just talking ghosts. When it comes to the business of burial, there is plenty to fear.

Burial plots have gotten double booked. Corpses have gone missing. Bodies are not always buried where they are supposed to be. And of course, sometimes graves get robbed.

You can sue a cemetery for falling short with a corpse. It's a grim topic. But Halloween is upon us, so now's as good a time as any to take a look at how it is done.

Family Feud? How a Lawyer Can Help

Lawyers who practice family law often become skilled in navigating family feuds. If your family is involved in serious disputes that have legal implications, it's probably time to contact an attorney for help.

Tough topics -- like death or money -- make people uncomfortable and emotional. Add to that deeply entrenched family dynamics and you have a recipe for disaster. Having an attorney handle a personal matter may seem, well, impersonal, but it's actually a way to avoid having destructive exchanges that will be difficult for you and your family to recover from.

3 Risks to Owning Property With Family Members

Owning property with family members seems like a good idea on the surface. You probably are going to pass the asset on to the same people anyway. So why not avoid probate by ensuring that ownership is handled before you die?

There are a few reasons to avoid this. First, you run the risk of saddling family with the gift of higher estate or income taxes. Second, you expose the property to more creditor claims. Third, you lose control of the asset. However, as explained below, there are alternative methods of managing your estate that achieve the same goals as joint ownership -- but with fewer risks.

10 Times You Should Revise Your Last Will and Testament

Many people have difficulty managing money in life and don't give much thought to what will happen to their assets when dead. But obviously, you don't want to wait until it's too late to make a will.

A last will and testament is simply an expression of your final wishes, legally preserved to protect your beneficiaries. After you make a will, you will still need to update it whenever circumstances in your life change. Here are ten situations that likely require will revision, plus some basic estate law vocabulary to get you thinking long-term:

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?