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Estate Planning

Unmarried Couples: Here’s Why You Need an Estate Plan

Failing to plan an estate proactively can be disastrous for unmarried couples. Without an estate plan that specifies who gets what in the event of death or incapacity, the decedent’s wishes are likely to be ignored. The partner could receive nothing—or everything. With a properly organized estate plan, an unmarried partner can leave his or her estate to the surviving partner in the event of death. The unmarried partner can also give the other partner the authority to make health care, … [Read more...]

Do You Need a Professional Fiduciary?

Lack of a trusted person and pronounced sibling rivalry are some of the reasons a person may require a Professional Fiduciary to oversee his or her trust. The person may also need a Professional Fiduciary who understands the laws governing eligibility for government disability benefits. Especially if a Special Needs Trust is needed to cover the disabled child's expenses upon the person’s death. Finding a reliable Professional Fiduciary who can efficiently manage a trust is key, and due diligence … [Read more...]

What Constitutes Incapacity for Conservatorship?

When an adult becomes incapacitated and incapable of managing his or her affairs, conservatorship transfers the power to manage that adult’s financial affairs or personal care to another person or entity. This legal process of appointing a conservator is known as probate conservatorship. The law requires conservators to act in their ward’s best interests at all times. When Can a Court Grant Conservatorship? A court usually grants conservatorship when an adult is incapacitated and unable to … [Read more...]

All in the Family: Estate Planning to Preserve Your Home

Estate planning is the most reliable way for a person to preserve a family home and have it transferred to the heirs upon his or her death. It can also help him or her reduce tax obligations. Estate planning can offer a framework in case a person becomes incapacitated. An estate trustee, for instance, can take the responsibility of managing the estate in case the original owner is unable to do so. Options for Preserving a Family Home                          Co-Ownership Updating the … [Read more...]

Online DIY Will Kits: You Get What You Pay For

Using a DIY tool to create a will saves both time and money. However, using this option could result in costly estate planning blunders. Issues such as typos, missing documents, and lack of personalized online support are common with DIY will kits. Online DIY Estate Planning Vs. Hiring an Attorney   Online wills and trusts may not sufficiently address all the personal and financial concerns of a testator. While many people would prefer to use DIY tools to create wills, getting … [Read more...]

Why Advanced Directives Are an Important Part of Estate Planning

Advanced directives outline a person's wishes and designate a surrogate decision-maker to take care of medical and financial decisions if a person becomes incapacitated and cannot make these decisions on his or her own behalf. They also protect an individual's wishes for end-of-life care and interventions. What Is an Advanced Directive? An advanced directive provides a person's family and medical providers with his or her wishes in regard to medical treatment and interventions and … [Read more...]

Why Your Estate Needs a Backup Plan

A backup plan is a fundamental part of an estate. When writing a will, it is a common misconception that assets will be shared among all of the listed beneficiaries. However, pandemics, accidents, and crimes can take multiple lives all at once, leaving the need for a contingency plan. Reasons to Include a Back Plan in an Estate Incidents of loved ones passing away in close proximity have risen, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without a contingency plan, such situations could … [Read more...]

When the Health Care Proxy and the Financial Power of Attorney Can’t Agree

When the health care proxy and the financial power of attorney cannot agree, a careful review of and discussion about the power of attorney documents or mediation may help resolve disputes. If an agreement still cannot be reached, conflicts may need to be resolved by the probate court. Many Power of Attorney Documents State How to Handle Disputes If a dispute happens, adult children can look at the power of attorney documents. If they were created by a skilled estate … [Read more...]

How to Choose Your Health Care Power of Attorney

Appointing a health care power of attorney (health care POA) involves an individual choosing a trusted, strong-willed, and assertive person and giving them the authority to make decisions on their behalf regarding their medical care and treatment. A person is free to choose anybody to serve as a healthcare power of attorney based on their relationship, trust, willingness to serve, articulacy, location, and some understanding of medical processes. It’s important to think carefully about the … [Read more...]

How to Revoke a Power of Attorney

People who establish powers of attorney may take back the authority granted to their named agents as long as they are of sound mind. An essential estate planning instrument, durable powers of attorney give named agents the ability to act as the principals’ personal representatives. The attorney-in-fact can perform certain actions and make certain decisions on the principal's behalf. Since POAs are often created well before a need for them arises, circumstances may change, and principals may … [Read more...]

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