Law Journal

Trusts As Shield Against Creditors?

Many years ago trusts were touted as a way to gain  protection from creditor claims. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re a creditor), that is not the case. Judges expect to see a judgment paid if the person against whom the judgment was entered has assets from which it can be paid.  Simply placing the assets […]

Deeding Home to Children to Avoid Probate?

Can’t a person avoid probate just by deeding the home to the children? Yes, but . . . That path has significant potential downsides. For example: If the child has creditor problems, the child’s creditors can have the home sold even while the parents are still living in the home Any future disposition of the […]

Family Trust or Living Trust?

Sometimes estate planning terminology can be confusing. For example:  What’s the difference between a Living Trust and a Family Trust? Answer:  Nothing.  They’re really just different names for the same thing. As a practical matter, when people choose to leave all of their property and possessions to family members, they will tend to call it […]

Who Needs a Living Trust?

For most people, the decision about whether to upgrade to a Living Trust or Family Trust is driven by a preference for avoiding probate. Without utilizing a trust, it is difficult to avoid probate.  With a trust, it is relatively easy to do so. Having said all that, the initial inquiry really is:  For whom […]

How Much Are Estate Taxes?

 Estate taxes are taxes imposed on the property a person leaves behind when he or she passes away.  The applicable rates for estate taxes range from 34% to 40%. That’s the bad news. The good news is that federal law exempts the first $5.5 million of a decedent’s property from those taxes.  So, until a […]

How Much Are Wills?

A Simple Will primarily just indicates who is to inherit a person’s property and who is to serve as the Executor when that person passes away. Where the heirs are not yet adults, it can also designate a Custodian who will hold that inheritance until the heirs reach age 21. And it can also indicate […]

What’s Wrong with On-Line Wills?

It happened again this week.  I met with a client whose husband had recently passed away.  He left a Last Will and Testament that he signed and had notarized.  But the lines for the two witness’ signatures were left blank.  Evidently, he thought that he could choose between having two witnesses or having the Will […]

Avoiding Inheritance Feuds

Few things are as heartbreaking as a family that fractures over inheritance questions. Most commonly, such a feud arises when one child is favored with a larger share of a parents’ estate that another child.  But it can also arise where the shares are equivalent if one child feels like he or she should get […]

Protecting Immature Heirs

What if a person wants to leave an inheritance to a person who is not yet mature enough to handle that inheritance? That may be a minor child.  But it may also be a younger adult who has undisciplined spending habits. This can be dealt with in a couple of different ways. First, the inheritance […]

Leaving Children Out?

Can a person exclude a child from inheriting anything? Yes.  Each person has the absolute right to decide who is – and who is not – to inherit that person’s property and possessions at death. But only if a Last Will and Testament or a Trust names others as a beneficiary. In the absence of […]

Wit & Wisdom

It is part of human nature to hate those whom you have injured.

- Tacitus


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