Did you ever wonder why the trusts in your estate plan for your children mandate a distribution of net income when your children reach a certain age, such as 18 or 21? Most lawyers do not discuss this provision with their clients, although this planning can have significant consequences for your family. The idea of…

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When you open a bank account or take title to real estate, joint tenancy is often viewed as a simple and inexpensive solution to avoid probate. Unfortunately, as explored below, the simple solution is not always as simple and straightforward as it may seem, resulting in unforeseen and undesirable consequences. What is Joint Tenancy? Joint…

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If you have minor children, then naming a guardian is the most important decision that you can make in preparing your estate plan.  Some of the important factors that should be addressed when naming a guardian include common beliefs, location and ability/willingness of your proposed guardians.  Common Beliefs Good guardians should share your values, ethics and faith. …

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There are a number of ways your estate can be distributed to your family after your death. Each allows a different degree of control over distribution, and each poses different challenges and opportunities. If you are married, before you can decide who should receive your estate, you must consider a spouse’s marital rights.  These rights…

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Millions of Americans are now caring for their parents as we live longer with advances in modern medicine. When doing so, a new trend is emerging in the area of elder law planning, the “sister” of estate planning.  Aging parents and their children alike recognize that helping the senior generation is being increasingly more difficult from a…

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Advances in modern medicine have made it possible to prolong the lives of seriously ill individuals without always offering realistic hope for improvement or a cure.  For some individuals, the possibility of extended life is viewed as meaningful and beneficial.  For others, prolonging life artificially may only extend suffering and delay the dying process. The…

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If you have a 529 education plan or UTMA (custodial) account for a child or grandchild, we suggest that you look closely at the titling of that account. Most account plans only allow for one owner. What happens if the owner dies before the funds are used? The account may require a probate administration to…

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We have talked with several clients recently who mistakenly believed that having a Will eliminates probate at the time of their deaths. Last Wills are particularly useful documents, but they do NOT avoid probate. Probate is a process in which the local probate court supervises the transfer of probate assets when someone dies. Probate assets…

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