What Happens to My Spouse’s Debts at Their Death?
Most Americans have some debt. The obligation to pay debts does not go away when a person dies. While most debts are paid by the deceased’s estate (money and property owned by the decedent at their death) and do not transfer to a surviving spouse or other beneficiaries, in some cases, you may be responsible for paying off your deceased spouse’s creditor claims.
If the legal duty to pay off a spouse’s debt falls to you, it has implications for your finances, so you will want to be clear on the laws where you live. If debt collectors contact you, know that you have rights as well. You should discuss questions about your debt payment obligations and rights with an attorney who specializes in estate planning and administration.
Updating Your Estate Plan: How Many Tweaks Are Too Many?
Imagine a recipe card you have used for years. The card may still be readable if you have crossed out and replaced one or two ingredients. However, the recipe is probably confusing if you have altered the ingredients many times. If your loved ones cannot read your instructions to determine whether to add a cup of flour or a cup of sugar, your recipe will not work. You have a fifty-fifty chance for a great dish—or a complete disaster.
The same can be said about a will or revocable living trust. Making one or two changes to a document is generally acceptable, but your instructions may become confusing when revisions are numerous or comprehensive. The primary reason for the confusion is that the old document and any new documents must be read together to understand the full instructions. For this reason, starting over with a new will or a complete restatement may serve you better.
How Creating A Life & Legacy Plan With Us Creates And Preserves Your Family’s Legacy
Best of all, the Family Wealth Legacy Process is offered at no additional cost to you, since it is part of each plan we create for our clients. And the process of documenting this recording is as easy and convenient as possible: We use a series of helpful questions and prompts, which makes the process both easy and enjoyable. From start to finish, the entire process takes less than an hour.
My favorite part about this process is that most of our clients tell us that going through it helps them rekindle life moments and memories they would otherwise not share with their loved ones. Indeed, this unique process can enrich your family with something far more valuable than any tangible asset you might leave, and instead leave behind a lasting legacy of love.
How to Protect Yourself from Claims of Self-Dealing When Serving as a Trustee
A trustee usually has quite a bit of discretion in managing a trust’s accounts, money, and property (known as assets). At the same time, as a fiduciary, a trustee also owes the trust’s beneficiaries a duty of loyalty, which prohibits the trustee from self-dealing. In the simplest terms, self-dealing happens when a trustee uses the trust’s assets for their benefit instead of for the beneficiaries’ benefit.
Despite this simple definition, self-dealing can be much harder to identify in practice and is often done in ignorance, particularly when complicating factors such as the trustee being a trust beneficiary.
Statements of Intent or Purpose in Estate Planning Documents
The reasons you, as a trustmaker, create a trust are certainly special and important to you. Still, your intent or purpose for creating a trust can also have significant legal ramifications.
For this reason, it is often critical that a trustmaker express in writing their purpose for creating the trust. There are essentially two different ways of documenting a trust maker’s intent – each has slightly different purposes, and sometimes both are generally called a “statement of intent.”
5 Ways DIY Estate Plans Can Fail & Leave Your Family At Risk – Part 2
State laws are also particular about who can serve in specific roles like executor, trustee, or financial power of attorney. In some states, for instance, the executor of your will must either be a family member or an in-law and if not, the person must live in your state. If your chosen executor doesn’t meet those requirements, they cannot serve.
Furthermore, some states require the person you name as your executor to get a bond, like an insurance policy, before they can serve. Such bonds can be challenging to get for someone who has a less-than-stellar credit score. If your executor cannot get a bond, it would be up to the court to appoint your executor, which could end up being someone you would never want managing your assets or a third-party professional who could drain your estate with costly fees.
Common Trusts: Parenting beyond the Grave
You probably do not keep a ledger of how much each child costs you. You spend as much money as each child requires. Inevitably, there are spending imbalances. Although not perfectly equal in terms of dollar amounts, such an approach can be considered fair because you allocate funds based on need instead of an arbitrary measure such as age.
Fairness involves accounting for the differences among your children. You want to be fair to them in life – and in death. When setting up an estate plan, you are acknowledging the unpleasant possibility – no matter how remote – that you may not be around to care for your minor children while they are growing up.
5 Ways DIY Estate Plans Can Fail & Leave Your Family At Risk – Part 1
Creating your estate plan using online document services can give you a false sense of security – you think you’ve got estate planning covered when you most likely do not. DIY plans may even lead you to believe that you no longer need to worry about estate planning, causing you to put it off creating a proper plan off until it’s too late.
In this way, relying on DIY estate planning documents is one of the most dangerous choices you can make. In the end, such generic forms could end up costing your family even more money and heartache than if you’d never gotten around to doing any planning at all.
All Good Things Must Come to an End: Reasons a Trust Might Terminate
The reasons why a trust might terminate can vary. Still, in general, termination occurs because the trust has accomplished its purpose, is no longer economically feasible, has distributed all its property, revoked, or is dissolved by the court because of a dispute or illegality.
A trust is a legal arrangement in which one person (the trustmaker) places their property in a trust and appoints someone (a trustee) to hold title to and manage the trust property for the benefit of one or more people (the beneficiaries). The property placed in a trust can be money, real estate, securities, business interests, insurance policies, and other types of assets.
Questions First Responders Must Consider to Best Protect Their Loved Ones
Being unable to work or make decisions for yourself can seem like an unimaginable scenario. You spend your time coming to other people’s rescue, so it may be difficult for you to imagine a time when you might need help or rescue. However, such things happen to people every day. To best protect yourself and your loved ones, there are a few things you should consider.
Disability insurance allows you to supplement some of or all your income (depending on your level of coverage) while you cannot work. With the proper range in place, you know that, should you be injured, you and your loved ones will still have money coming in to support you. If you have no disability insurance or are concerned that its coverage is insufficient, consider reaching out to an insurance agent to review your current situation and future needs expertly.
Selling a Deceased Loved One’s Real Estate: Things You Need to Know
After the death of a loved one, such as a parent, there are a variety of tasks that must be handled to wrap up your loved one’s final affairs. Selling your deceased loved one’s real estate is one of the more daunting ones. But before you call a real estate agent, you should take some time to get familiar with and consider a few of the key issues as you work through this process.
What Are the Rights of a Child Born Outside of Marriage?
If you are a nonmarital child or have a nonmarital child, it is essential to understand how rights to inherit are formed and defined. Failure to adequately provide estate planning for a nonmarital child could be problematic for children and families attempting to assert their rights following the nonmarital father’s death.
Reviewing Your Estate Plan after the Death of a Loved One
Although your estate plan primarily focuses on what will happen if you become incapacitated (unable to make or communicate your wishes) or die, the death of a loved one can have a major impact on your planning. If you have an estate plan, one of the first items you need to do when a loved one dies is to review the documents with the following questions in mind:
Who Should I Choose to Be Successor Trustee?
When you create a living trust, you must name a successor trustee to take over for you if you are unable to act due to incapacity or death. It is crucial that this decision be given careful consideration and that the right person be selected for the job.
Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will – Part 1
On October 15th, nearly two months after the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, filed documents with the Los Angeles probate court seeking to be named administrator of his estate. Earlier this year, Boseman and Ledward were married, and the marriage gives Ledward the right to any assets held in Boseman’s name at his death.
What makes Boseman’s story somewhat unique from the others is that it seems likely the young actor put some estate planning tools in place, but it’s possible he didn’t quite finish the job. Based on the number of hit films he starred in and how much he earned for those films, several sources have noted that Boseman’s assets at the time of his death should have been worth far more than the approximately $939,000 listed in probate court documents.