Kent Larsson writes about the proper use of wills, advance directives, trusts, and other estate planning tools, and how how they play a vital role in you receiving proper medical care and helping you to preserve and pass on your assets to your loved ones.
Challenging a will may be easy. However, winning the suit isn’t.
When a will is written that results in granting what someone wants other than the testator, it is known as "undue influence," according to My Prime Time News in "Undue Influence."
Undue influence can happen when someone who benefits from a will encourages the will's testator to create the will for the influencer's benefit. Merely encouraging someone to make a will does not create undue influence.
A common example is one child convincing his parents to leave him more in the will than his siblings. The siblings will be upset and may decide to challenge the will.
If the court does not believe there was a valid reason for the different inheritances, then the court will invalidate it on the grounds of undue influence.
An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating a will that fits your unique circumstances and follows your wishes.
Reference: My Prime Time News (Jan. 18, 2017) "Undue Influence."
If you have assets in more than one nation, you need to be sure of the laws for a solid estate plan.
There are people who might need more than one will, if they have assets in more than one country and are a citizen of both countries, according to the Financial Review in "Double trouble for dual nationals."
The problem is that some countries have strict laws about who can inherit certain property. There are laws about how much of an estate must be given to a spouse and to children.
Most countries do not allow deviation from these laws, even for people who do not live there full-time and who have a valid will in another nation.
Even if your will is valid in the U.S., it is possible that another country where you hold assets could invalidate it for the property you hold in that country.
If your estate might be subject to the laws of more than one nation, make sure that your estate plan is valid in all of the nations where you own property. If that does not seem possible, then have separate estate plans for the property in each nation.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan or plans based on your unique circumstances.
Reference: Financial Review (Sep. 20, 2017) "Double trouble for dual nationals."
David Cassidy leaves small estate of $150,000.
David Cassidy, who starred on the TV show “The Partridge Family” chose to cut his daughter out of his will, so she will not receive an inheritance from him, according to the Los Angeles Times in "David Cassidy cut daughter Katie Cassidy out of his will."
It had previously been acknowledged by David Cassidy that he had never had much of a relationship with his daughter. She was raised by her mother and stepfather and rarely saw her father.
David regretted this and the two reconciled before he passed away. However, Katie was specifically excluded from her father's will.
David's son and brothers will instead inherit his modest estate. We probably do not need to have financial concerns for Katie, because she is famous in her own right as an actress on the TV show "Arrow."
Katie Cassidy likely does not need the inheritance.
This is becoming something of a trend in recent celebrity estates. Many have chosen to disinherit some of their children for various reasons.
Reference: Los Angeles Times (Dec. 7, 2017) "David Cassidy cut daughter Katie Cassidy out of his will."
It is best to consider all possibilities when making plans to protect your family.
In addition to creating your will and an estate plan, you might consider that while you are at the attorney's office you should also get plans for what might happen if you become incapacitated, according to the Times Herald-Record discusses in "Make plans in case you are incapacitated."
The issue is that if you are incapacitated, someone else needs the legal authority to act on your behalf.
Someone will need to be able to handle your bills and to make medical decisions for you, should it be necessary.
If you do not plan ahead, it can be a difficult process for someone else to get the legal authority.
Someone will have to hire an attorney and go to court to get a judge's permission to act as your guardian.
Fortunately, planning for what will happen if you become incapacitated is not difficult.
You just need a general durable power of attorney and a health care power of attorney.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances.
Reference: Times Herald-Record (Dec. 12, 2017) "Make plans in case you are incapacitated."
Manson drafted a will while in prison leaving everything to longtime pen pal.
Charles Manson’s will has been filed in court and an anonymous friend who would inherit his assets has been revealed to be Mark Channels, according to the Daily Mail in "Charles Manson's pen pal files the infamous killer's last will and testament in court after saying 'he'll go into the ring' if anyone challenges the document."
It turns out that Channels apparently worshipped Manson and even had a shrine to the cult leader in his home. Channels has already issued a warning to anyone who might contest the will and stated that he is prepared to fight for Manson's estate.
Manson does have a few living relatives who might want to contest the will. However, at the time of the article they had not done so. They still have roughly 100 days to file with the court, if they so choose.
Whoever inherits Manson's estate can expect to earn some money from collectors and could also see some money from music royalties.
Channels has vowed to fight any challenges to the will in court.
Reference: Daily Mail (Nov. 28, 2017) "Charles Manson's pen pal files the infamous killer's last will and testament in court after saying 'he'll go into the ring' if anyone challenges the document."
State laws are similar, but differences can turn out to be important.
If you relocate to another state, it is important to revisit your estate plan because there are a number of variables that have an impact on the plan, according to The Times Herald in "Moving can affect your financial planning."
Generally speaking, if a will you had drafted was valid in the state in which it was drafted at the time it was drafted, the other states will consider it to be valid.
Trusts are valid in every state, since the state in which they were created always governs over the trust.
Most of the time your estate plan will be valid in your new state. However, there can be some issues, especially if you purchase real estate in your new home state. Some states have particular rules about how real estate has to be handled.
You should also be aware that your new state could have tax laws that are different than your old state. Something you have done in your estate plan might still be legal and valid, but it might not be tax-wise.
It would be prudent to obtain the advice of an estate planning attorney in your new state of residence, in case your plan needs updating.
Reference: The Times Herald (Dec. 1, 2017) "Moving can affect your financial planning."
The will of the Duke of Windsor will be opened for copyright determination.
A court in the U.K. has ruled that the will of the Duke of Windsor, who passed away in 1972, will now be unsealed for for limited purposes, according to the Daily Mail in "Duke of Windsor's will to be unsealed at last… but only so The Crown's writers can get their facts straight."
King Edward VIII of England abdicated his throne in 1936, so he could marry a divorced American woman Wallis Simpson. This changed his title from king to duke.
The contents of his will were quickly sealed by the court and have never been made public, despite great public and historical interest in them. People are curious whether the will might shed any light on the man’s decision to abdicate.
The writers of the Netflix show The Crown would like to use the duke's letters in their show. However, they first need to know who owns the copyrights to those letters, so they can get the necessary permissions to use them.
It is not likely the will's other details will be made public.
For a former king's will to be sealed, is probably a simple matter.
For other people, it is much more difficult since wills are generally a matter of public knowledge.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that meets your unique circumstances under the laws of your state of residence.
Reference: Daily Mail (Nov. 15, 2017) "Duke of Windsor's will to be unsealed at last… but only so The Crown's writers can get their facts straight."
Common mistakes are often mentioned over and over again.
There are common mistakes in estate planning that are not often mentioned, despite the fact they are made over and over again, according to the Ithaca Times in "Key estate planning mistakes to avoid," including:
• Forgetting to update an estate plan when a spouse or child passes away. It might not be the best time for you to change your estate plan, especially given everything you are going through. Not doing so, can result in problems later.
• Not reviewing and updating retirement plan and insurance policy beneficiaries for years.
• Many people have the mistaken belief that if they have a will, then their estates will not go through probate. That is almost never the case. If your objective is for your estate not to go through probate, see an estate planning attorney to learn how to accomplish that.
• People too often assume that once their children reach the age of 18, they will be able to responsibly handle any inherited assets. That may not be the case. You should plan for any minor children to have assistance with assets for longer than that.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and helps you to avoid some of those mistakes as well.
Reference: Ithaca Times (Nov. 8, 2017) "Key estate planning mistakes to avoid."
Knowing the basic concepts is enough to get you started on the right track.
You don’t have to have an estate plan. However, if you don’t, the courts will decide where your assets go using statutes written by your state government.
Getting started in planning can be a challenge, if you don’t have the basic information needed, according to Cincinnati.com in "Now is the time to consider the basics of estate planning."
The biggest things people need to know are what is involved with wills and trusts and how they differ.
A will is a formal written document you can use to establish how your property should be distributed after you pass away. Your will is submitted to court after your death and the court appoints someone to make sure what you want done is actually carried out. A will has no effect until after you pass away.
A “living” trust is different. It does take affect before you pass away. Trust documents create a legal entity into which you transfer your assets. After you pass away, the assets are then managed or distributed according to the directions given in the trust document.
A trust does not ordinarily need to be submitted to court. If you have a will, you do not necessarily need a trust. However, if you have a trust you still need a will.
There is a lot more to estate planning, including additional basic information that you should know.
An estate planning can easily get you started on creating an estate plan that meets your unique circumstances.
Reference: Cincinnati.com (Nov. 2, 2017) "Now is the time to consider the basics of estate planning."