The Missing Will

Manish Bhatia / January 11, 2016
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The Missing Will Do you know where your original Will is located? You should, and so should your executor. The dilemma of a missing original Will has come up in the death of Melissa Mathison, screenwriter of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and ex-wife of Harrison Ford. Mathison died on November 4th as a resident of […]

The Right Way to Inherit

Manish Bhatia / December 20, 2015
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While an inheritance is often considered a gift by the recipient, from a tax perspective, there optimal ways to inherit a retirement account. From the language used to designate the beneficiaries to important IRS-imposed deadlines, the manner in which a retirement account is inherited can significantly affect its value. If you are the beneficiary of […]

Year-End Estate Planning To-Do List

Manish Bhatia / December 5, 2015
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The end of the year is an ideal time to review your current estate plan and confirm that you are taking advantage of all planning opportunities available to you. This includes not only tax planning, but also asset protection, probate avoidance, beneficiary designations and changes in your family and financial situations. On the other hand, […]

10 Things you must do before you die! (Not another bucket list article)

Phillip Christenson / November 4, 2015
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Bucket Lists have grown in popularity in the last few years. While it might seem important that you go skydiving, and swim with the dolphins before you die I would suggest taking a look at the below list and giving these items priority. Many of these items have been discussed in detail in other posts […]

Privacy and your estate plan

Maggie Green / January 19, 2015
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The British government announced recently that 4 million historical wills have been digitized and are now available for download by the public. As in the United States, these documents were previously available by traveling to the probate court and searching the available public records. Now anyone with an internet connection and a credit card can […]

Intestate succession for a blended family

Maggie Green / November 18, 2014
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A married couple, of which each spouse has children from previous relationships, faces certain issues with regard to distribution of their estates. The most basic of these issues involves what happens if a spouse dies without a will. When any individual dies without a will, the statutory rules for the intestate succession dictate the distribution of […]

Godparents & Guardians: Two Different Roles

Jayne Sykora / August 22, 2014
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I often hear in conversation (and I once believed this too!) that if a minor child has godparents, then the same people will be legal guardians of the child if something happens to the child’s parents. This is not true. Godparents and guardians are two different roles and are appointed in different ways. Godparents A […]

Robin Williams’ Estate: Subject to California Probate?

Kim Prchal / August 19, 2014
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As everyone mourns the death of Robin Williams and reflects on his tremendous talents, we estate planning attorneys can’t help but wonder, did Robin Williams do any estate planning? It is apparent that Robin Williams had a very successful career. What is unclear is the true value of his estate. Some reports indicate that Robin […]

Estate Planning Myth #4: Anyone can write a simple will

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / April 16, 2014
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This is somewhat correct: I clearly remember reading anomalous cases in law school about concepts like Holographic Wills and whether something as simple as “I leave everything to my wife” is a Will. A gentle reminder: I was reading these stories in a case book, which means these were matters that wound up being litigated. […]

Estate Planning Myth #1: I don’t need a Will – I don’t have kids

Erika Stein Rosenhagen / April 2, 2014
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Even if you don’t have a Will, you still do have an estate plan. Without a Will, it’s the state’s version of estate planning that prevails through your state’s intestacy statute. The state’s plan will vary based on the state in which you live and where you own property, but there will be a distribution […]

Organizing Your Accounts and Passwords

Maggie Green / March 5, 2014
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I emphasize to all of my estate planning clients the importance of keeping track of your assets, what they are, where they are located, etc. The reason: a Will or Trust instructs your Personal Representative or Trustee on how you want your assets to be distributed after your death, but not always what those assets […]