Demystifying Probate and the Executor’s Role

When creating a last will and testament (commonly known as a will), one of your most important considerations is who to choose to serve as the executor (also called a personal representative) of your estate.
As the name implies, the role of the executor is to execute the instructions that you provide in your will. To avoid any unnecessary complications in the settling of your affairs, take care to avoid ambiguous or unclear language in your will. If there are any doubts about your last wishes, the executor and beneficiaries may wish to consult with an estate planning lawyer to discuss next steps.

Don’t Let This Crucial Question Derail Your Estate Plan

Sitting down to create or update your estate plan can be overwhelming. Crucial to a successful plan is your ability to address two major questions: Who will get your stuff when you die, and how do you want those individuals or charities to receive that stuff?

Inspiring Action: The Guide to Creating or Updating Your Estate Plan

Creating or revising an estate plan can feel overwhelming, causing many people to procrastinate. But the longer you put it off, the more potential there is to be caught unprepared in an emergency. So how can you motivate yourself and your loved ones to begin the process?

How Concerned Should You Be about Estate Tax Issues?

If you have significant wealth, you may be exposed to future estate tax burdens that must be acted on before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduces the estate tax exemption in 2026.
Developing and implementing the right estate planning and tax strategies takes time. You may need to prepare regardless of whether the estate tax continues at its current level or if it is cut in half. This means strategizing to minimize your estate tax liability now.

What Is a Residuary Clause and Why Is It Important?

When developing your estate plan, it is nearly impossible to address every account or property you own. There are sure to be some things you unintentionally overlook. However, by including a residuary clause, you can intentionally disburse any remaining items inadvertently left over during the estate or trust administration process to a named beneficiary or group of beneficiaries.

Watch Out for Stolen Items In Your Loved One’s Estate

Watch Out for Stolen Items in Your Loved One’s Estate. Your family member went through a meticulous estate planning process to organize and distribute money and property for the benefit of their loved ones, including you. But you may suspect that some of the high-value items in their estate originated as stolen property. The possibility of discovering stolen items within an estate is often overlooked, but it can have legal, financial, and emotional complications. How does it happen?

Good Reasons to Decant a Trust

Today, many estate plans contain an irrevocable trust that will continue for the benefit of a spouse’s lifetime and then continue for the benefit of several generations. Because trusts like these are designed to span multiple decades, it is important that they include trust decanting provisions to address changes in circumstances, beneficiaries, and governing laws.

The Passing of Senator Dianne Feinstein: Estate Plan Lessons for Blended Families

Lesson for Blended Families – Dianne Feinstein, the longest-serving female United States senator in history, passed away in September. She also leaves behind an estate that is thought to be worth tens of millions of dollars. Richard C. Blum, Senator Feinstein was also successful in her own right. During their marriage, Feinstein and Blum established a marital trust that is now the subject of a fierce legal battle between Feinstein’s daughter and Blum’s three daughters.

How Much Authority Does a Trustee Have Over the Stuff in My Trust?

A trustee is a person or entity responsible for managing and administering your trust according to your instructions and in accordance with state law. They are considered a fiduciary (meaning they are held to a higher standard of care and owe certain duties to the beneficiaries). As a fiduciary, a trustee must protect the trust’s investments and act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. They must prepare and maintain trust accounting records and prepare tax-related forms, providing this information to the beneficiaries at their request. At some point, they may need or be required to liquidate or sell the trust’s accounts and property.

Decanting: How to Fix a Trust That is Not Getting Better with Age

While many wines get better with age, the same cannot be said for some irrevocable trusts. Maybe you are the beneficiary of a trust created by your great-grandfather over 70 years ago, and that trust no longer makes sense. Or maybe you created an irrevocable trust over 20 years ago, and it no longer makes sense for your current situation. When does it make sense to decant a trust?

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