In a prior post, we started exploring the topic of simple wills. The reasoning behind this was to provide some valuable insight into what state law has to say about these important legally binding documents and to reinforce just how vital they are in helping solidify a person's exact estate planning wishes.
As we've made abundantly clear on our blog, people from all walks of life should give strong consideration to executing a comprehensive estate plan setting forth very clear expectations concerning the distribution of property, medical care and even guardianship of children.
In previous posts, we've discussed how many people would benefit considerably from having a simple will in place. That's because this legally binding document allows a person to set forth their exact wishes concerning how they want their money, real estate and personal belongings to be divided, as well appoint guardians for any minor children.
Last October, music fans of all ages were undoubtedly sad to hear the news that legendary musician Lou Reed had died of complications from a recent liver transplant. The long-time solo artist and lead singer for the Velvet Underground, known for his monotone singing style, was viewed by many of one of the more influential voices of the New York music scene in the 60s and 70s.
The "E-Z legal form" a woman downloaded off of the internet to use as her will created a costly headache for her relatives after she passed away, offering what the court called a cautionary tale to others considering the same path.
A recent survey of international savings, retirement, and estate planning habits found that the United States ranked surprisingly low in terms of how many parents planned to leave a gift for their children and how much. About 59 percent of those surveyed in the United States said that they planned to leave an inheritance for their children. Depending on your perspective that could seem very high or very low, but it does raise an interesting question of who chooses to leave assets behind and why.
When you start to create an estate plan, one of your first concerns will likely be how you will distribute your earned income and other financial assets among your heirs and beneficiaries after you die. However, money is often not the most important thing that your loved ones may hope to inherit in your will. On the contrary, statistics indicate that individuals are far more concerned with what will happen to family heirlooms than they are with money when their loved ones pass away.
A former attorney for deceased actress Julie Harris is arguing in court that her most recent will should be invalidated. He says that after he was fired by Harris, her mental capacity was not sound and that she was not competent to execute a new will with her new lawyer and that the new lawyer exercised undue influence on the actress to become the executor of her estate so that he could collect fees for that service.
A man’s son’s are involved in litigation over their late father’s estate after his sudden death prevented him from completing an updated estate plan. The man had drafted a plan in 2000 that was complete and properly executed but decided to change it dramatically in 2012, diverting funds that he had planned to leave to his real estate development company to a charitable trust he named for his dog. Unfortunately the man passed away suddenly, just four days after checking with attorneys to see when he could sign the final papers to finish the process.
Estate planning is one of the areas of the law where the formalities matter immensely. Take proper will execution, for example, where one must have the right paperwork at the right time with appropriate witnesses in order for the will to be valid. It is not enough to simply tell someone your last wishes or even to have an attorney draw up a will. If it is not properly executed it will not be accepted by the court and enforced through the probate sytem.