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How to Make Beneficiary Designations Without a Will

When people hear the word "beneficiary," they immediately think Last Will and Testament. Though wills certainly are a popular way to designate beneficiaries, there are two others to keep in mind, and they are free. So if you are one of those people with annual checklists, keep these in mind when considering designating beneficiaries.

Leaving Property in Trust for Grandchildren

Family inheritance situations can be a hot mess. Though parents may be interested in leaving equal portions of their estate to their children, sometimes parents may want to skip a generation, and leave a child's portion to their grandchildren. Perhaps one child has made a fortune, and they believe it would be a better tax advantage to give an estate portion directly to the grandchild to avoid the estate eventually being taxed twice. Maybe another child is a shopaholic, and they are concerned if they don't leave anything to the grandchildren, those kids will never inherit a dime in their lifetime.

For whatever reason, grandparents may want to leave property to their grandchildren, and there are a few topics to keep in mind when doing so.

This Sunday is Grandparents Day. And while we should be celebrating our elder family members every day, it is a nice reminder of how much they mean to us.

It can also be a reminder of how grandparents face some unique situations, legally speaking. The law often treats grandparents differently from parents, and differently than senior citizens without children or grandchildren. So here are five laws grandparents should be familiar with and consider in their relationships with their grandchildren.

Can You Inherit a Family Member's Facebook Message?

What happens to our data after we die? Does it join us in the big cloud somewhere in the sky? Or do our relatives rifle through it, looking to resolve some long-standing family feud, like who mom loved best?

If you took our advice and set up a living trust, congratulations -- you've taken the first steps to managing your estate, before and after your death. However, your work isn't quite done. Many life events can alter your plans for your estate after your life is over, and your living trust won't amend itself to reflect those changes.

So here are some reasons you may want to revise your living trust, and how to do it.

As we have said many times before, it's never too early to write a will. While it may strike you as morbid or impractical, the sooner you can have an estate plan in place, the better. Writing a will while you're young can give you a handle on your assets, provide a framework that you can refine and revise as the years go by, and removes any worries that you weren't in your right mind when you bequeathed your entire fortune to your dog.

While there may be no time too early to write a will, there is certainly a time when it's too late. Can you guess when?

Should You Change Your Will After Adopting a Child?

Wills are a fascinating part of the legal world we all live (and die) in. You certainly don't need a will to have your estate dispersed upon your death. State and federal laws exist to handle that in a very standardized administrative process. But if you do have a will, it better be perfectly clear and just the way you like it, since it will be followed to the letter, and possibly opened up to interpretation and litigation if any terms at all are declared vague by potential heirs.

There are many times in life when you should change your will. That includes when you have children, or when you adopt a child.

3 Common Reasons Siblings Fight Over Inheritance

A good way to think about an inheritance is to assume you're getting nothing. After all, it is someone else's money. That way, when you do receive an inheritance, it's a blessing. But try telling that to siblings who feel entitled to their parents' assets, especially if they failed to plan for their own retirements.

And to an extent, their feelings are understandable, especially if the parents contributed to their unrealistic expectations. The good news is, there are things you can do to help avoid this acrimony, especially if you first understand three common reasons siblings fight over an inheritance.

5 Questions to Ask a Lawyer Before Retirement

Some of us dream about the day we get to retire, others dread it. Either way, you've got to plan for it. Maybe you want to travel. Perhaps you'd like to keep working a little while collecting your pension. Or maybe you're so in debt that you think you'll have to work until the day you die. Whatever your situation, here are five important questions to ask a lawyer before retirement. After all, the better you plan, the more likely you are to have peace of mind both now and after you retire.

How Can You Protect Assets from Nursing Home Costs?

Most of us don't like to think about getting older and needing to be cared for by others, or having to place a loved one in a nursing home. But these are realities of life, and they're probably going to come up whether we plan for them or not. A big part of that planning process is the financial side of things. Long-term care and nursing home costs can be staggering. So how do you protect your assets from nursing home costs? Here are a few things to consider.