Articles Posted in Wills

When considering whether to dispute a person’s will, you should review what factors exist that might suggest a successful basis for challenging the will. While these are an almost unlimited number of factors that exist, some particularly common issues arise concerning wills and resulting challenges.

# 1 – Last-Minute Changes

One of the most commonly encountered situations is when a deceased person executed a will close to the end of life that substantially alters their estate plans. When a will is drafted, an individual who wants to challenge the document should inspect several things to decide whether the document is valid. For estate planning documents created near the end of a person’s life, a detailed analysis should be made regarding whether the person had the adequate mental capacity to execute the document. 

The South Dakota Supreme Court recently reversed a circuit court’s order denying a petition pursuing appointment of a special administrator to seek a wrongful death claim for a deceased man’s estate. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court abused its discretion in failing to address certain discovery motions before deciding a special administrator petition.

After the man in question passed away, the circuit court decided that the deceased man’s surviving wife should function as his estate’s personal representative. The man’s children then petitioned for appointment of a special administrator to seek a wrongful death claim for the deceased man’s estate and later served discovery requests on the surviving wife pursuing information related to the petition. The court then denied the special administrator petition and found that the discovery issues were moot.

The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s decision and held that the circuit court gave the man’s children the chance to develop and later present evidence connected to their petition. 

The 2020s have been filled with tension. First, in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic emerged. Then, race tensions hit an all-time high following the death of George Floyd and several others. Now, the invasion of Ukraine has left many people in more difficult situations than ever before. All of these events are enough to make even the calmest person uneasy.

The most seasoned estate planning professionals are used to addressing two major sources of uneasiness with clients: death and taxation. Planning for these certain events will help to reduce the uneasiness that a person feels. While it’s impossible to control the future and the state of the world, people can engage in thorough estate planning and be fully prepared for any complications that might happen and impact their estate plans.

Estate planning frequently attempts to pass or minimize risk. Some of the most helpful risk-avoiding or risk-shifting techniques that people utilize in an estate planning environment include:

As the country enters a third year of living in a pandemic, estate planning is seeing an increase in millennials who are surpassing the baby boomer generation as the generation who performs the most caregiving for both children and aging parents. 

Millennials are creating their own families, while simultaneously caring for their aging parents during a pandemic. This, in turn, is leading more caregivers to plan for the future. Even though millennials are taking responsibility for writing wills and creating trusts to establish families’ financial status, most adults in the United States lack an estate plan. Hopefully, by making digital estate planning as easy as possible, more people will create estate plans that achieve their wishes.

Key Findings from the Study

Considering that someday you will no longer be alive is an unpleasant thought. You might be frightened of the unknown, particularly when it involves issues of what will happen to your loved ones. Even though you will no longer be around to play a role in managing your estate, you do have an input in what happens to your estate after you pass away. This article reviews some of the helpful things that you can do to protect your money after you pass away.

A vital part of estate planning is creating a will, which is a type of legally-binding document that articulates your wishes for what should happen after you pass away including who you would like to manage your estate and how you want your assets to be divided. Wills can also include instructions regarding the care of any dependent or pets that you might have.

A poll conducted in 2021 revealed that less than half of the adults in the United States have a will. The results of this study are similar to other polls conducted as early as the 1990s. Even though it can be challenging to consider that you will someday pass away and to place instructions regarding how your family should manage your assets, doing this can be critical to making sure that your assets, as well as your loved ones, remain protected after you pass away. 

While we don’t like to confront the thought, none of us lives forever. When we pass, we understandably want to leave as manageable a situation as possible for our loved ones. If we fail to create estate plans, our loved ones can end up facing many obstacles. 

Understandably, we want the estate planning process to be as quick and easy as possible. While online estate planning options are widely advertised, these choices often leave people with various questions including whether the documents will hold up in court, whether the electronic documents will conform to state law, and if the documents will successfully achieve your estate planning goals.

This article reviews some issues with electronic estate planning documents that people commonly wonder about.

In May 2021, the Biden Administration announced its “Green Books” which includes a summary of the administration’s tax proposal. Even though this is just a proposal and not actual legislation, it’s critical to understand that the administration is focused on taxing high net worth individuals at a higher rate than the previous administration. 

 
    Most notably, this proposal does not include an increase in the estate tax or federal gift rates. Several other important proposals, however, would greatly alter the fundamental aspects of estate planning strategies by substantially reworking capital gain taxation regulations. It remains uncertain, however, whether the proposals in this “green book” will end up being passed into legislation. The proposed date at which these measures will become effective is January 1, 2022, though. To better prepare you for what lies ahead, this article reviews some important details to understand about the proposed changes.

 
Treat Gifts of Appreciated Property as Realization Events

If you’re planning on making the most of estate planning, you should focus on what your goals are as well as how you can best achieve them. Life insurance plays a critical role in the estate plans of many people. To make the most of life insurance, however, it’s a good idea to first articulate your goals then consider how life insurance could help you achieve these goals. This article can review some of the most helpful ways that you might decide to use life insurance as part of your estate plan. 

 
Replacing Income

 
    Many people obtain life insurance as a way to replace income and make sure that loved ones still have funds as well as the ability to remain at home. If you’re in your peak earning years, which run from 35 to 55, income replacement is particularly critical to consider. While the risk of death might be low for a person at this age, death has the greatest potential to impact the lives of those around you. There will be a substantial amount of your challenges for your loved one to face if something happens to you. 

Whether it’s the internet or on television, estate planning strategies and offers are common to encounter. Whatever strategy you end up selecting, your intentions should be captured in your estate planning documents. It’s also a good idea that no one takes advantage of you and you do everything possible to avoid participating in a fraudulent estate planning scheme. To better prepare you for the various estate planning scams out there, this article reviews just a few of the most common types of estate planning fraud about which you should be aware. 

# 1 – Imposter Scams

The most expensive type of scam, imposter scams, involves fraudulent individuals who pretend to be someone you trust. This individual then tricks you into transferring over assets or personal information. These scammers are known to threaten arrest or adverse legal action if their orders are not followed. If you receive a call from anyone claiming to be part of a government organization, you should promptly dismiss it as a scam and hang up.  These organizations are not known to make threats over the phone. 

Estate planning is a fundamental aspect of any thought-out financial plan, but when it’s your loved ones who need to create a plan, it can be challenging to discuss this issue. One reason it’s difficult to discuss estate planning with a loved one is that this often involves confronting sensitive issues including that not all of us will live forever. While it’s most common for adult children to help elderly parents with estate planning, this is not always the case. In reality, people of any age who care about one another can help each other with estate planning. If you’re debating navigating the estate planning process with a loved one, there are some helpful pieces of advice that you should remember to follow.

Approach Helping Your Loved One in the Right Way

If a loved one refuses to get his or her estate plan in order, one proven strategy that can help is obtaining the assistance of any financial professionals who your loved one trusts. These professionals can often recommend estate planning attorneys who will be a good match for the needs of your loved one. If your loved one does not have this type of estate planning help in place, you should prepare to attend the first meeting with your loved one’s estate planning attorney to make sure that this proceeds as smoothly as possible. Also, while approaching your loved one about estate planning, you should remember that it’s a good idea to force your loved one into making a decision. Instead, it’s best to take a gentle approach that your loved one considers estate planning.

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