Wills & Estate Planning Sitemap - Page 2 2016-09-26

Obtaining Probate Records in Brevard County, Florida
If you are interested in information about a probate estate and obtaining copies of court documents, many courts now have this information posted online.

Obtaining Probate Records in Volusia County, Florida
How to review the online probate dockets for estates that are being, or have been, probated in Volusia County, Florida.

How to Obtain Copies of Probate Documents in Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida
How to review the online probate dockets for estates that are being, or have been, probated in Leon County, Florida.

Getting Copies of Probate Documents in Hernando County
How to review the online probate dockets for estates that are being, or have been, probated in Hernando County, Florida.

Obtaining Probate Records in Polk County, Florida
How to review the online probate dockets for estates that are being, or have been, probated in Polk County, Florida.

Obtaining Probate Records in Seminole County, Florida
If you are interested in reviewing the information about a probate estate and obtaining copies of court documents, many courts now have this information online. Unfortunately Seminole County, Florida does not have its probate dockets available for free online, so here you will find information about how to obtain copies of probate documents directly from the clerk's office.

Does South Dakota Collect an Estate Tax?
South Dakota, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the South Dakota estate tax to come back.

Does Utah Collect an Estate Tax?
Utah, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the Utah estate tax to come back.

Does West Virginia Collect an Estate Tax?
West Virginia, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the West Virginia estate tax to come back.

Indiana Estate Taxes, Does Indiana Have an Estate Tax?
Indiana, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed and if it is possible for the Indiana estate tax to come back.

Kentucky Estate Taxes, Does Kentucky Have an Estate Tax?
Kentucky, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed and if it is possible for the Kentucky estate tax to come back.

Does Pennsylvania Collect an Estate Tax?
Pennsylvania, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed and if it is possible for the Pennsylvania estate tax to come back.

What is a Stretch or Inherited IRA?
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Remove Florida Estate Tax Lien - Form DR-312 and DR-313
Heirs of a Florida estate may need to file an affidavit to remove Florida's automatic estate tax lien. This article describes how to remove it.

Overview of Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Laws
Pennsylvania is one of six states that collect an inheritance tax, as opposed to an estate tax, at the state level. Learn all about the Pennsylvania inheritance tax laws here.

How to Obtain Copies of Probate Documents in Lee County, Florida
If you are interested in reviewing the information about a probate estate and obtaining copies of probate court documents, many courts now have this information posted for free online. Here you will find the steps required to review the online probate dockets for estates that are being, or have been, probated in Lee County, Florida.

Does Idaho Collect an Estate Tax?
Idaho, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the Idaho estate tax to come back.

New Mexico - Estate Tax and Laws by State
New Mexico, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the New Mexico estate tax to come back.

Does New Hampshire Collect an Estate Tax?
New Hampshire, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the New Hampshire estate tax to come back.

Does Montana Collect an Estate Tax?
Montana, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the Montana estate tax to come back.

Does Louisiana Collect an Estate Tax?
Louisiana, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the Louisiana estate tax to come back.

Understanding Arkansas Estate Taxes
Arkansas, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the Arkansas estate tax to come back.

Does North Dakota Collect an Estate Tax?
North Dakota collected a state estate tax before January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and what the future looks like for the state.

IRS Form 709 Definition and Description
If you've given away money or property during the tax year, you may have to file IRS Form 709 to report your generosity to the IRS.

Form 4768 - Extension of Time to File Estate Tax Return
Estates must file IRS Form 4768 to ask for a Form 706 extension to file the estate tax return. You can ask for more time to pay any tax that's due.

Does Virginia Collect an Estate or Inheritance Tax?
Virginia, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the Virginia estate tax to come back.

Does Colorado Collect an Estate Tax?
Colorado, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the Colorado estate tax to come back.

Georgia Estate and Inheritance Tax
Georgia, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the Georgia estate tax to come back.

Understanding Missouri Estate Tax Laws
Missouri, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the Missouri estate tax to come back.

Does Mississippi Collect an Estate Tax?
Mississippi, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the Mississippi estate tax to come back.

How to Keep Your Estate Plan Private
Learn how to keep your estate plan private and away from the public's prying eyes. Know the difference between a will- and trust-based estate plan.

Does Alabama Collect an Estate or Inheritance Tax?
Alabama did collect a state estate tax prior to 2005. Learn why things changed and if it is possible for the Alabama estate tax to come back.

Does South Carolina Collect an Estate Tax?
South Carolina, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Learn why things changed on this date and if it is possible for the South Carolina estate tax to come back.

Overview of 2013 Estate Tax Filing Requirements
The 2013 tax year ushered in some significant changes to the laws governing federal estate taxes. Learn when a federal estate tax return (IRS Form 706) is required to be filed for deaths that occur in 2013 and all of the applicable filing deadlines.

Overview of 2011 and 2012 Estate Tax and Gift Tax Laws
On December 17, 2010, a new law was enacted that governs estate taxes for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax years. Here you will find a summary of what this new law provides for the estates of decedents who die in 2011 or 2012 as well as the gift tax laws for 2011 and 2012.

How to Use TOD or Beneficiary Deeds to Avoid Probate
How a TOD deed or similar document is used to avoid probate is fairly straightforward. Learn how this type of deed works and if one is right for you here.

Overview of 2010 Estate Tax and Gift Tax Rules
In December 2010, Congress and President Obama acted to retroactively resurrect the federal estate tax for decedents who died in 2010. But there's a twist.

What Is a Transfer on Death (TOD) Account?
Transfer on death accounts, known as TOD accounts for short, are a popular way to avoid probate. Learn all you need to know about TOD accounts here.

Electing Portability - Federal Estate Tax Exemption
Surviving spouses can take advantage of their deceased spouse's unused federal estate tax exemption, referred to as the portability election.

Report Foreign Gifts and Inheritances (IRS Form 3520)
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien and you receive any gifts or bequests from nonresident aliens, then you may have to report the gifts or bequest to the IRS. Learn about the filing requirements for IRS Form 3520 here.

Overview of Oregon Estate Tax Laws - Inheritance Tax
If you live in Oregon, then you live in one of the remaining states that collects a state estate tax or a state inheritance tax. The estates of Oregon residents, as well as the estates of nonresidents who own real estate and/or tangible personal property located in Oregon, are subject to a state death tax in addition to the federal estate tax under the guidelines listed here.

Does Nevada Collect an Estate Tax?
Nevada, like all other states, did collect a state estate tax prior to January 1, 2005. Now it doesn't. The state is among the five lowest in tax burden.

Overview of Asset Protection Planning
Asset protection is the process of insuring that your property is safe from judgment creditors. Learn how to protect your assets and avoid the most common asset protection mistake.

What Does a Personal Representative Do?
Your personal representative will be responsible for handling numerous complex and time-consuming duties while your estate is in probate.

Pros and Cons of Choosing Corporate Fiduciaries
When it comes to naming fiduciaries, many people find it difficult to choose the right family member or friend. In many situations a corporate fiduciary, such as a bank or trust company, may be the best choice.

Types of Trustees and What They Do
A trustee is a fiduciary who manages property and assets placed in a trust. An individual, bank, or other financial institution can serve.

What Is a Fiduciary?
A fiduciary is someone to whom you've entrusted your well-being, either financially or for health-related concerns.

What is Guardianship or Conservatorship?
Guardianship, or conservatorship as it's called in some states, is the legal proceeding in a state court where a person, called the “Guardian” or “Conservator,” is appointed to exercise some or all of the legal rights of the incapacitated person, called the “Ward.”

Will Your Old Estate Plan Still Work Today?
Each time an estate planning attorney meets with a new client who already has an estate plan, the first thing they usually do is a thorough review of the client's current estate planning documents. From years of experience in doing these reviews, here you will find a checklist of common problems and how to fix them.

Review of an Existing Estate Plan - Mistakes 5 - 9
List of common mistakes continued... Page 2.

Review of an Existing Estate Plan - Mistakes 10 - 12
List of common mistakes continued... Page 3.

Ways to Avoid Guardianship or Conservatorship
There are ways to avoid having you and your assets placed in a court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship if you become mentally incapacitated.

What Happens to Assets Left Out of Your Trust?
Funding your revocable living trust is more important than setting it up in the first place. If you don't transfer assets into your trust, it's useless.

Options for Paying Adult Beneficiaries an Inheritance
When deciding who will inherit your estate after you die, aside from figuring out who will get what, you'll need to decide how and when they'll get it.

Where Should You Keep Your Estate Planning Documents?
It can throw a real monkey wrench into your estate plan if no one can find the documents after your death. Learn the best places to store a will.

5 Reasons Why You Need an Estate Plan
Why do you need an estate plan? These five reasons go into detail regarding the benefits of meeting with an estate attorney to create an estate plan.

Do You Need to Hire an Estate Planning Attorney?
When considering if you need to hire an estate planning attorney, remember this - estate planning is serious business. One wrong word or one missing signature can change the entire intent of a will or trust. Here are three reasons why it's so important to find and hire a qualified estate planning lawyer.

How to Find an Estate Planning Attorney
Finding a lawyer who can help you put together an estate plan may seem like a daunting task. Here's a list of resources for locating an attorney.

How to Interview a Prospective Estate Planning Attorney
Once you've located a prospective estate planning attorney, you need to ask the attorney this list of important questions before you hire him or her as your attorney and trusted advisor.

Gift Tax Limits and Exemptions
You can be taxed for being too generous, but the IRS provides a couple of exemptions that can allow you to dodge the gift tax and give tax-free.

Exemption From Estate Taxes - Glossary Definition
An estate tax is imposed on an individual's right to transfer his property to beneficiaries when he dies. The exemption lets most estates dodge this tax.

What Are Grantor Trusts and How Can They Be Changed?
The term

What Does Heir-at-Law Mean?
Heirs-at-law are closely related to a decedent. They may inherit from him without a will and they have standing to contest his will.

What Happens to the Inheritance of a Minor Beneficiary?
Minors who are beneficiaries can't own their own property, so the law has special provisions for what happens when they inherit property.

Codicil - Definition of Estate Planning Law Terms
If you just want to make minor changes to your will, consider just adding a codicil to the document, itemizing and explaining your amendments.

Essential Estate Planning Documents
Estate planning is about legally organizing your affairs to deal with the possibility of mental incapacity and certain death. Depending on your current family and financial situations, your estate plan will include four or five essential legal documents.

Estate Planning: What is a Last Will and Testament?
A will is a legal document that is the first building block to your estate plan. You can choose between either a will-based estate plan or a trust-based estate plan. Your will takes on a significantly different role depending on the type of plan you choose.

What is a Memorandum of Personal Property?
A personal property memorandum can change the terms of your will related to who receives certain items of property, but it may not be upheld in all states.

What Happens if You Don't Have an Estate Plan?
What will happen to your property if you don't make a will and estate plan before you die? What does it mean to die “intestate?” How does a Revocable Living Trust fit into an estate plan? Learn this and more.

Definition and Explanation of Ancillary Probate
Ancillary probate can become necessary when you own assets out of state if you take no specific steps to transfer them directly to a beneficiary.

What Happens to Retirement Accounts After Death?
If a loved one passes and you're the beneficiary of a retirement account such as an IRA or 401(k), you'll need to understand the tax consequences.

What Happens Retirement Accounts When Owners Die?
If your loved one has died and you're the beneficiary of a retirement account such as an IRA or 401(k), then you'll need to understand the tax consequences of inheriting the retirement account. The results will be very different if you're a surviving spouse or not. Page 2.

Who Inherits Property Owned as Tenants in Common?
Tenants in common do not have rights of survivorship, so the death of one of them would most likely require probate to pass to a living beneficiary.

Who Pays Off a Deceased Person's Medical Bills & Debts?
If your loved one has died & the bills have started piling up, then you need to understand who will be responsible for paying off all of these debts.

Must Life Insurance Be Used to Pay a Decedent's Bills?
A decedent's personal bills are only paid from his life insurance proceeds if the funds go into his estate. Find out how to avoid this.

Problems Using Joint and POD Accounts to Avoid Probate
While joint and payable on death accounts are an easy way to avoid probate, they can lead to gifting issues and other unintended consequences.

Joint Ownership of Property - Explanation
In the context of estate planning, an explanation of the three forms of joint ownership, and what happens under each when an owner dies.

What Happens to Life Insurance When the Insured Dies?
A life insurance inheritance is not usually considered income for tax purposes, but you might have other tax obligations if you receive one, depending on where you live.

Handling Deceased Debts Before and During Probate
Probate sometimes treats mortgages differently from other debts, but the estate usually pays off the deceased's final bills and expenses.

What Is a Probate Judge and What Do They Do?
A probate judge is a state court official who is in charge of overseeing the probate process in his or her local jurisdiction.

Is Your Last Will and Testament Legally Valid?
Last will and testament laws are detailed and complex and can vary by state. It's important to meet every one of them or your will won't be valid.

What Is a Personal Representative?
Your personal representative will manage your estate through the probate process. The court will normally approve whoever you nominate in your will.

Who Gets a Copy of a Will After the Testator Dies?
When someone dies, there are not any laws in the U.S. that require the

What is an AB Trust in an Estate Plan?
Married couples can maximize the use of both of their federal exemptions from estate tax by using AB Trusts as part of their estate plan. Here's how the AB Trust system works.

Who Gets a Copy of a Trust After the Trustmaker Dies?
When someone dies, you've probably seen in the movies or on TV or read in a book about

FDIC Insurance, Revocable Trusts, and Estates
Learn about the current rules about insurance protection offered to bank accounts held in FDIC-insured banks that will affect your finances.

How to Choose Beneficiaries for Life Insurance Policies
Learn how to choose the beneficiaries of life insurance policies so that the beneficiary designations will compliment your Revocable Living Trust.

How to Fund Real Estate into a Trust
You've created a real estate trust. Now what? Find out how to move your property into it to fund it.

What Is an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust or ILIT?
An ILIT takes ownership of your life insurance policy so the proceeds don't become part of your estate and potentially incur estate taxes.

How to Use a QPRT to Reduce Your Taxable Estate
The main benefit of a Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT) is the removal of the value of a primary or secondary residence from your estate at a reduced gift tax value. But how does a QPRT actually work to reduce the value of your estate?

Testamentary vs. Living Trusts
You can set up a trust during your lifetime or arrange to have a testamentary trust created after your death -- two very different types of trusts.

What Are Trust Amendments and Restatements?
This article points out the definitions and differences of a trust amendment and a trust restatement. Read on for more details.

Revocable Living Trust Myths
Throughout my years practicing as an estate planning attorney, I've run across some common misconceptions that people have about Revocable Living Trusts. In some situations they believe that a Revocable Living Trust will do something that it really doesn't, and in other situations they believe that a Revocable Living Trust won't do something that it actually does. Learn what these common myths are and if you've fallen for any of them.

A Beginner's Guide to Trusts
What is a trust? Learn how they work and their different purposes and rules so you can decide if forming one is right for you.

Understanding Individual Ownership of Property
Whether a particular asset you own at the time of your death must be probated depends on what type of property ownership you have.

When Are IRAs or 401(k)s Are Available to Creditors
ERISA-qualified retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s are often safe from creditors, but this isn't always the case after your death.

How to Calculate Your Estate Tax Liability
Whether your estate will be liable for estate taxes depends on the value of your gross estate, the amount of debt owed by you at the time of your death, the total expenses that will be incurred while settling your estate, and any deductions that your estate can take. Here's how to figure out an estimate of your estate tax liability.

What Value of an Asset Is Used for Estate Tax Purposes?
Estate valuation can have some critical implications for beneficiaries and potential estate taxes. Learn about your options.

Guide to Federal Estate Taxes
While the federal estate tax was initially repealed as of January 1, 2010, on December 17, 2010 it was resurrected and applied retroactively back to January 1. The federal estate tax is collected on the transfer of a person's assets to his or her loved ones after death, but not all estates actually have to pay the tax. Find out why.

Who is Responsible for Paying Your Estate Tax Bill?
Estate taxes come due when an estate has considerable value -- and sometimes even when it doesn't. Find out who has to pay the bill.

State Inheritance Tax Chart: Wills and Estate Planning
Six states and the District of Columbia collect a state inheritance tax. Find out if yours is one of them and how much you'll have to pay.

How to Calculate the Value of Your Gross Estate
The first step in figuring out if your estate will be liable for estate taxes is to determine what is included in your gross estate. Here's how.

Deciding Which Beneficiary Will Pay the Estate Tax Bill
If your estate is taxable, you must decide which beneficiaries will bear the burden of paying your estate tax bill before receiving their inheritance.

Overview of Federal Estate Tax Laws
The American Taxpayer Relief Act made estate tax, gift tax and generation-skipping transfer taxes permanent in 2013 while increasing the top tax rate.

Probate Assets May Not Include All Your Property
Probate assets are those that require the probate process to pass to living beneficiaries after your death whether you die with or without a will.

5 Tips for Avoiding a Will Contest
One of the underlying goals of creating an estate plan is to head off fights among your beneficiaries and insure that your final wishes will be fulfilled. Here you will find 5 tips for avoiding a will contest after you die.

Who Can Contest a Will? Having Enough Legal Standing
You can only contest a will if you have a certain relationship with the deceased or with his estate. Find out if you have this legal standing to contest a loved one's will.

What Are the Grounds for Contesting a Will?
Do you think you want to contest the validity of a family member's will? Think again, since it's very difficult to win a will contest. Learn why here.

Overview of Connecticut Estate Tax Laws
If you live in Connecticut, then you live in one of only two states that keeps track of taxable gifts at the state level (the other is Tennessee).

Can an Irrevocable Trust Be Changed?
Not all irrevocable trusts are forever. Some irrevocable trusts can be changed under certain circumstances and through the right legal channels.

What Assets Can Go Into a Revocable Living Trust?
If you've created a Revocable Living Trust to plan for mental disability and avoid probate and you think that your estate plan is done once you've signed the trust agreement, it isn't. Why not? Because after your Revocable Living Trust has been signed you'll need to

Do it Yourself Wills - Should You Write Your Own Will?
Should you write your own will? Definitely not. Here's why.

What Documents Are Needed after Someone Dies?
After someone dies, the family members will need to locate the deceased person's important papers. Here you will find a list of documents required.

10 Steps to Creating a Good Estate Plan
Estate planning is a process that consists of ten distinct steps. Learn what these steps are so that you, along with help from your estate planning attorney, can create a good estate plan.

Step #10 - Review and Update Your Estate Plan
Estate planning is a process that consists of ten distinct steps. Learn what these steps are so that you, along with help from your estate planning attorney, can create a good estate plan.

Step #2 - Assess Your Financial and Family Needs for an Estate Plan
Estate planning is a process that consists of ten distinct steps. Learn what these steps are so that you, along with help from your estate planning attorney, can create a good estate plan.

Step #3 - Find and Hire a Qualified Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning is a process that consists of ten distinct steps. Learn what these steps are so that you, along with help from your estate planning attorney, can create a good estate plan.

Step #4 - Determine if You Need a Will or a Revocable Living Trust
Estate planning is a process that consists of ten distinct steps. Learn what these steps are so that you, along with help from your estate planning attorney, can create a good estate plan.

Step #5 - Create a Plan for What Happens if You Become Mentally Incapacitated
Estate planning is a process that consists of ten distinct steps. Learn what these steps are so that you, along with help from your estate planning attorney, can create a good estate plan.

Step #6 - Create a Plan for What Happens After You Die
Estate planning is a process that consists of ten distinct steps. Learn what these steps are so that you, along with help from your estate planning attorney, can create a good estate plan.

Step #7 - Choose Your Fiduciaries Wisely
Estate planning is a process that consists of ten distinct steps. Learn what these steps are so that you, along with help from your estate planning attorney, can create a good estate plan.

Step #8 - Assess Your Need for Advanced Estate Planning
Estate planning is a process that consists of ten distinct steps. Learn what these steps are so that you, along with help from your estate planning attorney, can create a good estate plan.

Step #9 - Fund Your Revocable Living Trust
Estate planning is a process that consists of ten distinct steps. Learn what these steps are so that you, along with help from your estate planning attorney, can create a good estate plan.

Probate - Review and Sign the Documents Required to Open the Probate Estate
Once the estate lawyer has enough information to draft the court documents required to open the probate estate, the Personal Representative/Executor and, if applicable, beneficiaries named in the Will or heirs at law, will be required to review and sign the appropriate documents.

Estate Lawyers - Wait to Hear from the Estate Lawyer
Assuming that all of the required court documents are in order, it should only take a few days or weeks for the probate judge to review the documents and sign the orders necessary to admit the decedent's Will (if any) to probate, appoint the Personal Representative/Executor, and issue Letters of Administration/Letters Testamentary.

Estate Lawyers - Meet with an Estate Lawyer
Prior to meeting with an estate lawyer, hopefully the family will have been able to complete, or at least have been able to make a good faith effort to complete, Steps 1-4, because this will make the first meeting with the estate lawyer go more quickly.

Step-by-Step Guide To Opening a Probate Estate
In general, there are 8 steps that should be followed in order to open a probate estate with the appropriate state court, but some of the steps can be skipped if the decedent didn't leave a Last Will and Testament or left a pile of papers to sort through. Learn what these 8 steps are and how someone gets appointed to serve as a Personal Representative/Executor.

Probate - Make a Complete List of the Beneficiaries and Fiduciaries Named in the Will
If the decedent had a Last Will and Testament, then make a complete list of the beneficiaries and fiduciaries named in the Will including the Personal Representative, and, if applicable, Trustee of any trusts created under the Will and Guardian/Conservator for any minor children.

Probate - Make a Complete List of the Decedent's Assets
Locate the decedent's important papers, including bank and brokerage statements, stock and bond certificates, life insurance policies, corporate records, car and boat titles, and deeds. From these documents, make a complete list of what the decedent owned.

Probate - Make a Complete List of the Decedent's Liabilities
Using the decedent's important papers, make a complete list of all of the decedent's liabilities.

Step by Step Guide to Opening a Probate Estate
Once the Letters of Administration/Letters Testamentary have been signed by the probate judge, the Personal Representative/Executor will need to provide a certified copy of the Letters and, in some cases, an original death certificate, to the decedent's financial institutions, along with the taxpayer identification number for the estate. Page 8.

How to Probate an Estate - Open the Probate Estate
Once the decedent's legal documents and other important papers have been located and reviewed, the next step is to meet with an estate attorney to open the probate estate with the probate court.

How to Probate an Estate - Step by Step Guide
What are the steps that need to be taken to probate an estate after someone dies? Find out here.

How to Probate an Estate - Pay Income Taxes and Death Taxes
Once the Personal Representative/Executor has paid the decedents final bills and has the estate expenses under control, the next step is to pay any income taxes and death taxes that may be due.

How to Probate an Estate: Inventory, Documents & Assets
Most people have little experience dealing with what happens after their loved one dies and they get appointed as Personal Representative/Executor.

How to Probate an Estate - Value the Decedent's Assets
Once the probate estate has been opened with the probate court, the next step will be to establish date of death values for all of the decedent's assets.

How to Probate an Estate - Pay Bills and Expenses
Once the date of death values have been determined for the decedent's assets, the next step is to pay the decedent's final bills and ongoing expenses of administering the estate.

Revocable Living Trust: Settling After Trustmaker Dies
How long it will take to settle a Revocable Living Trust after the Trustmaker dies depends on many factors.

The Cost to Settle a Trust After the Trustmaker Dies
The overall cost of settling a revocable living trust should be less than settling an estate through probate, but there are still fees involved.

How Much Does a Successor Trustee Get Paid?
If you've been appointed to serve as the Successor Trustee of Revocable Living Trust after the Trustmaker has died, then in most cases you'll be entitled to get paid for the services you provide on behalf of the trust. How much you'll get paid and when you'll receive it depends on many factors.

Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust vs. a Will
If you're thinking about setting up a revocable living trust as part of your estate plan, you should know what a trust can and cannot do.

Reasons Why an Estate Will Need to Be Probated
One common question that is asked after someone dies is if probate of their estate will be required. Here you will find a list of reasons why an estate will need to be probated.

How Long Does Probate Take?
One of the first questions that a probate attorney is asked is how long probate is going to take. The answer depends on many factors.

How Much Does Probate Cost? A Rundown of Fees
If you don't have an estate plan or have failed to completely fund your Revocable Living Trust, then your loves ones will be faced with probating some or all of your assets. The overall cost of probate will vary depending on the type and value of the property that's being probated.

How Much Does a Personal Representative Get Paid?
If you've been appointed to serve as the Personal Representative or Executor of an estate, then in most cases you'll be entitled to get paid for the services you provide on behalf of the estate. How much you'll receive and when you'll receive it depends on many factors.

How Do I Know if My Attorney's Fees are Reasonable?
There are many factors to consider when it comes to determining the reasonableness of an attorney's fees. Aside from the attorney's experience in handling legal matters similar to yours, local and even state wide business practices also influence what an attorney will charge for a particular matter. Here's a list of factors to consider when determining if the fees quoted to you by a qualified estate planning attorney are reasonable.

Choosing Beneficiaries for IRAs and 401(k)s
If you have any of your assets held in a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or IRA, then before updating your beneficiary designations to compliment the terms of your estate plan, you will need to consider all of the factors discussed here.

Will or Revocable Living Trust - What Do You Need?
How do you determine if you need a Revocable Living Trust instead of just a Last Will and Testament? Find out here.

Responsibilities of Guardians or Conservators
A court-appointed​ guardian or conservator will have numerous duties and responsibilities with regard to taking care of all of the ward's needs.

What is a Qualified Personal Residence Trust, or QPRT?
A Qualified Personal Residence Trust (

Options for Paying Estate Tax Bills
If your estate will owe federal estate taxes, your Personal Representative or Successor Trustee will determine how to pay the taxes.

3 Benefits of Advanced Estate Planning
For people with taxable estates, advanced estate planning above and beyond a basic estate plan is one of the options for minimizing estate taxes after they die. Aside from this, advanced estate planning can be used to perpetuate family values and protect assets for the benefit of future generations. With these goals in mind, advanced estate planning is really done for three important reasons.

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Wills and Estate Planning - Estate Planning FAQs Frequently Asked Questions
Estate planning can be complex and confusing. Here you will find a list of the most common questions I'm asked as an estate planning attorney.

How Much Does Guardianship or Conservatorship Cost?
Once the court establishes a guardianship or conservatorship, various fees and costs will be incurred on behalf of the ward.

Springing vs. Non-springing Powers of Attorney
You may know the purpose of a power of attorney, but do you know the difference between springing and non-springing powers of attorney?

Five Emotional Blocks to Estate Planning
Estate planning can be difficult for many reasons. These are the five most common road blocks when it comes to creating an effective estate plan.

Hey! What Happened to My Inheritance?
Learn how age, ademption, abatement, and advancement can affect weather or not you receive your inheritance.

20 Factors to Help You Prove Your Domicile
Learn how these 20 factors to help you prove your domicile.

3 Tips for Including a Vacation Home in an Estate Plan
Vacation homes may hold many found family memories. Here's three consideration you need to think about when including a vacation home in an estate plan.

Estate Planning Issues Caused by Diminished Capacity
Learn how aging and diminished capacity can affect your willing and estate plan.

What is a Crummey Trust?
Learn where this unique estate planning tool (Crummey Trust) received its name and how it is used as part of estate planning.

How Do Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts Work?
In order to avoid the federal estate tax, many folks transfer their insurance policies to a Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts or “ILIT’s” prior to death.

Are Life Insurance Death Benefits Subject to Estate Tax?
Are life insurance death benefit subject to estate tax? Many advisors will tell you that life insurance benefits are tax-free. This may not be true.

What Does Per Stirpes Mean?
Have you ever reviewed your estate planning documents and wondered why there is Latin in your will and what

Do Wills Have to be Notarized?
Estate planning can be a complicated. Learn why some individuals notarize their will.

5 Estate Planning Documents to Update When Getting a Divorce
​If you are considering divorce, or beginning the process of getting divorced, you must review your estate plan to make sure it reflects your recent life changes.

Cryogenic Estate Planning
Learn why clients considering cryogenic need to develop a Personal Revival Trust as part of their advanced estate planning.

What Should I Do When My Child With Special Needs Child Becomes an Adult?
Even as adults, children with special needs may need a guardian to ensure that they are properly cared for. Learn what you should do when your child with special needs becomes an adult.

Top 4 Reasons to Avoid Probate
Over the years I've heard and read the comments about why probate

Choosing Beneficiaries for Your HSA or MSA
A Health or Medical Savings Account is a type of asset that represents a taxable contract right, so you can't change the owner of the account to your Revocable Living Trust. Instead, you'll need to designate one or more beneficiaries to receive your

Funding a Trust Avoids Guardianship or Conservatorship
Another common and simple way to avoid a court supervised guardianship or conservatorship if you become mentally incapacitated is to establish and fund a Revocable Living Trust.

What Is a Trust and How Is It Used?
Trusts are common estate planning instruments There are all different kinds of trust, but what is a trust and how is it used for estate planning?

How Big of a Gift Can You Make When Estate Planning?
The basic reason for estate planning is to provide for those you love. Gifts are a simple estate planning technique that are easy to implement.

Why Would You Refuse an Inheritance?
Making a disclaimer is an important tool in post-mortem estate planning tool. A disclaimer is a Beneficiary’s written refusal to accept property he or she would receive due to the death of the decedent.

What is Probate and Why Does It Get a Bad Rap?
What is probate? Is probate bad? This article explains what probate is and why it tends to get a bad rap.

Can I Include Personal Belongings in My Will?
Not all personal items are included in a will. This article explains how to make sure that your personal property is bequeathed to the proper person.

Tax Court Approves Family Limited Partnership Gifts - With Strings Attached
The recent U.S. Tax Court opinion on the Purdue case is a victory for the taxpayer. However, this estate planning technique is still not out of the woods.

Do Not Depend on Your Husband To Support You In His Estate Plan
Life after a spouse passes can be difficult emotionally and financially. However, it could become more complicated by not discussing what is included in his estate plan now.

How to Make Gifts to Kids Using the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.
The Uniform Transfers To Minors Act (UTMA) is a uniform act drafted and recommended by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Under UTMA a custodian can hold property for a minor, invest it, and use it for the minor’s benefit. The court is not involved. The person transferring money to the minor names the custodian.

How To Name a Guardian to Care for Your Children
If you have minor children, have you considered who will take care of them if both parents are deceased? It's not fun to think about, but taking care of your children means making sure that you have this covered. Make a will and appoint a guardian.

Glossary of Estate Planning Terms - Estate Planning Glossary Probate Glossary
Estate planning can be complex and confusing. Here you will find a glossary containing the definitions of common terms used in wills, trusts, probate, and estate planning.

What Is a Payable on Death (POD) Account?
Payable on death accounts, also known as POD accounts for short, are a popular way to avoid probate. Learn all you need to know about POD accounts here.

Is a Payable on Death Account, or POD Account, Right for You?
Payable on death accounts, or

When Will You Get Your Inheritance?
Although the beneficiaries of an estate or trust may be anxious to receive their inheritance checks, there are multiple steps that a Personal Representative or Successor Trustee must take before making distributions to the beneficiaries.

What Happens to a Joint Account When an Owner Dies?
If your loved one has died and you're the surviving joint owner of an account held with rights of survivorship or as tenants by the entirety, then you'll need to understand the tax and other consequences of inheriting the account.

Pros and Cons of Revocable Living Trusts
When considering whether or not to include a Revocable Living Trust as part of your estate plan, you'll need to understand the pros and cons of using a trust instead of just a Last Will and Testament.

Revocable vs Irrevocable Trusts - Wills and Estate Planning
When it comes to understanding trusts, knowing the difference between revocable and irrevocable trusts is crucial. If you ask for a revocable trust and get an irrevocable one, or vice versa, the legal and tax consequences will be significant.

How to Obtain Copies of Probate Documents in Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida
If you want to review information about a probate estate and obtain copies of probate court documents, many courts now have this information posted for free online. Here you will find the steps required to review the online probate dockets for estates that are probated in Suwannee County, Florida.

Avoid Probate - Check the Names and Words in Your Deed
Want to Avoid Probate? Check the Names and Words in Your Deed

What Is Community Property? Joint Ownership by Marriage
Community property is a type of joint ownership of property between married couples that is recognized in the following states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Life Estate
Life Estate. Wills & Estate Planning.

Does Michigan Collect an Estate Tax?
Michigan did collect a state estate tax prior to 2005. Learn why things changed, and if it is possible for the Michigan estate tax to come back.

What It Means to Fund a Trust and Why You Should
In order for a Revocable Living Trust to work the way it is supposed to work, the Trustmaker must fund the trust. But what does this mean and why is it so important? Find out here.

Archive of 2008 Wills & Estate Planning Newsletters
Here you'll find an archive of the 2008 Wills & Estate Planning Newsletters.

Getting Started on Your Estate Plan
Not sure where to start when it comes to estate planning? Start here and learn what estate planning is and what happens if you fail to make an estate plan.

How to Determine if You Need an Estate Plan
Find out if you need to make an estate plan by figuring out your net worth and assessing your family and financial situations.

Do You Need an Estate Plan?


Getting Started on Your Estate Plan


Getting Started on Your Estate Plan
Learn what estate planning is and what happens when you fail to make a plan.

May 2008 Estate Planning Newsletters
May 2008 Estate Planning Newsletters

Planning for Minor Beneficiaries


How to Plan for Minor Beneficiaries
If your estate plan will include minor beneficiaries, then you'll need to plan carefully for them. Learn what happens if you don't make a plan for your minor beneficiaries and how to properly plan for them.

Estate Planning Questions of the Week
Each week I'll post common estate planning questions and this is the place where you'll be able to find all of the answers.

Understanding Your Estate Plan


Understanding Your Estate Plan
Once you determine your need for an estate plan, you'll need to understand some of the basic concepts about putting your plan together. Find out if you need a will or trust, how a trust works, and how to know if your plan will work when it's needed.