Probate

  • Breaking Down the Probate Process

    Probate, quite simply, is the process by which the court determines the legal property of a person who has died, and decides to whom those assets will be distributed. It sounds like it should be simple, but somehow, unfortunately, probate is hardly ever simple. Even in the best of circumstances there are procedures that must […]

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  • How to Protect and Pass On Artwork, Antiques, and Other Valuable Assets

    Some assets—such as real property, stocks and savings—are fairly straightforward when it comes to bequeathal to heirs; other assets—such as valuable artwork or antiques—are not so easy. How do you will an asset to a loved one when there is no deed of ownership? And just as importantly, how do these paperless assets figure into […]

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  • Tough Decisions Await Executors of 2010 Estates

    If you are the executor of the estate of a decedent who died in 2010 you may think you’re in the clear.  After all, there was no estate tax in 2010 right?  Making distributions should be a piece of cake.  Wrong.  Because of the estate tax election available on the estates of 2010 decedents, administering […]

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  • 5 Essential Tips for Executors or Trustees

    Serving as executor or trustee of a will or a trust is an honor… but it’s also a job—a BIG job—and not one to be taken lightly. The role of executor or trustee can be one of great financial power, but it carries with it a heavy fiduciary obligation. Fiduciary obligation means that an executor […]

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  • 10 Phone Calls to Make After the Death of a Loved One

    Coping with the death of a loved one can be a crushing task. There are so many things to do and details to remember; all of this at a time when each small task can serve as a reminder of your loss. At such a time it can be helpful to know that you’re not […]

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  • One More BIG Reason to Have a Health Care Directive

    I'm getting married in 5 short days. One thing that is important when you decide to tie the knot is to consider who should be your agent on your healthcare directive. A even more important questions: Do you have a health care directive? If not, the Los Angeles Times has just given you one more […]

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  • The Receiving End of Estate Planning

    We post on this Blog often about preparing your estate plan: writing a will, setting up a trust, choosing beneficiaries, selecting agents for power of attorney; but there is another side to estate planning, a "fun" side… the receiving end. You may assume that the receiving end of estate planning is the fun and easy […]

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  • Do You Need A Will or A Trust?

    I am asked often, "Do I need a Will or a Trust?" When it comes to estate planning there are two major vehicles for the distribution of assets: A will and a trust. Both are very useful tools and can accomplish specific goals—but what's the difference and how do you know which one is best […]

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  • Test Your Estate Planning Knowledge

    How much do you know about estate plans? And how do you know when you need one? Many people have a vague feeling that they should execute some kind of estate plan eventually, but think (hope) that they really don’t need one right now. On our blog we spend a lot of time telling people […]

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  • What To Do If You Suspect Foul Play

    The movies have given people certain expectations when it comes to a death in the family and probating a will; this Hollywood portrayal includes an attorney, a book-lined office, and the entire family assembled for a formal reading of the will which ends in shocked gasps as the entire fortune goes to an unknown and […]

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