WHEN SHOULD YOU REVIEW & REVISE YOUR WILL OR REVOCABLE TRUST?

It is not unusual for clients to wait 20 years or longer before re-reading their wills or revocable trusts to determine if they still “work.” This occasionally creates expensive or frustrating problems. Continue reading

WILLS FOR SECOND MARRIAGES

Estate planning for second marriages is difficult. There is a constant tension between ensuring the continued support of the surviving spouse and ensuring that the decedent’s children are not disinherited. Here are some options and recommendations. (In the interest of brevity, I will use “husband” to refer to the first spouse to die, and “wife” to refer to the surviving spouse.) Continue reading

SELLING OR DISTRIBUTING THE DECEDENT’S RESIDENCE TO A BENEFICIARY

Executors usually liquidate all of the decedent’s property and distribute cash to the beneficiaries. Occasionally, however, a beneficiary wants to receive the decedent’s real property in kind, as part of his share. The beneficiary may already live in the property, or may want to move there in the future. Another example is vacation property. What might seem like a simple transaction can become contentious and complicated. Selected issues and recommendations follow. Continue reading

IS A LAWYER NEEDED TO ADMINISTER A REVOCABLE TRUST AFTER DEATH?

A revocable trust (sometimes known as a “living trust”) is a will substitute that avoids probate at death. Thus, a lawyer is not needed to prepare and file probate documents with a court. Do you need a lawyer for anything else? Usually the answer is “yes,” at least on an as needed basis. Continue reading