The Essential Estate Planning Documents
What Are the Different Types of Last Will and Testaments?
Last will and testaments come in several different forms, and while some forms will be legally valid in some states, they will be disregarded in others. Read on to learn about the different types of wills that are available in the U.S.
An Overview of the Essential Estate Planning Documents
Depending upon your current family and financial situations, your estate plan will include four or five essential legal documents.
Learn About Wills, Trusts, and More
Estate planning is about getting the right legal documents in place to plan for the possibility of mental incapacity and inevitable death. Learn all about the essential estate planning documents, including Last Will and Testaments, Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, and more.
What is a Last Will and Testament?
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that's the first building block to your estate plan. After determining your need for an estate plan, your attorney will recommend either a will-based plan or a trust-based plan. Your Last Will and Testament will take on significantly different roles depending upon the type of plan that has been recommended.
What Happens Without a Last Will and Testament?
If you fail to make a Last Will and Testament before you die, then your estate will be divided up based on the intestacy laws of the state where you live at the time of your death and the intestacy laws of any other state where you own real estate and/or tangible personal property.
Should You Write Your Own Will?
Should you attempt to write your own will? This question has already been asked in the Wills & Estate Planning Forum and aside from my own comments several others, including estate planning attorneys and non-attorneys alike, chimed in with their own feedback. The resounding answer was - NO, do not attempt to write your own estate planning documents. Here's a summary of the reasons why not.
What Happens at the Reading of a Will?
After someone dies, when is their will read out loud to the heirs? Find this out and much more.
Is Your Last Will and Testament Valid?
When it comes to creating a Last Will and Testament, it's very important for you to observe all of the formalities required by the laws of your state in order to make the Last Will legally valid and binding on your heirs.
How Do You Make Changes to Your Last Will and Testament?
As long as you're mentally compentent, you can change, modify, update, or completely revoke your Last Will and Testament at any time. But how do you make changes to your Last Will that will be legally valid? Find out.
What is a Codicil?
A Codicil is a legal document that changes specific provisions of a Last Will and Testament but leaves the other provisions unchanged. As long as you are mentally competent, you can change, modify, update, or completely revoke your Last Will and Testament at any time. But the question becomes, when should you make a Codicil and when should you write an entire new Last Will?
How Do You Make Changes to Your Revocable Living Trust?
One of the benefits of a Revocable Living Trust is that it gives you the flexibility to make changes to the terms of it at any time. But how can you make changes to your trust that will be legally valid? Find out.
Will Your U.S. Last Will and Testament Work in Another Country?
Will your Last Will and Testament that is written under U.S. law work in another country? Like many aspects of estate planning, the answer to this question is, "it depends." Find out why your Last Will and Testament may not work the way you expect it to in another country.
IRA Trust - A Special Type of Revocable Trust for Your IRA
If you have assets valued at $200,000 or more in an IRA, then you should consider setting up a type of revocable living trust that's specifically designed to be the beneficiary of your IRA, commonly referred to as an IRA Trust, IRA Living Trust, IRA Inheritor's Trust, IRA Stretch Trust, or IRA Inheritance Trust.
What Documents Are Needed After Someone Dies?
After someone dies, the surviving family members will need to gather up all of the decedent's important papers. This will give the family members and/or probate attorney who will be assisting with settling the decedent's final affairs all of the pertinent information needed to complete the settlement process. Here's the list of documents that...
Where Should You Keep Your Estate Planning Documents?
Another frequent question that I'm asked as an estate planning attorney is, "Where should I keep my original estate planning documents?" The answer is really simple - in a safe and accessible place. But what does that mean?
Who Gets a Copy of a Will After the Testator Dies?
When someone dies, you've probably seen in the movies or on TV or read in a book about "the reading of the Will." Unfortunately, this is purely a theatrical device designed to create drama in a fictional story. Today there is no legal requirement that a Will be read to anyone. Instead, the estate attorney has to determine who should be sent a copy of the Testator's Will.
Who Should You Tell About Your Estate Plan?
One of the most common questions that I'm asked as an estate planning attorney is, "Who should I tell about my estate plan?" As with most of estate planning, the answer isn't a simple one.
Have You Made a Plan for Your Personal Effects?
Have you taken the time to make a plan for what will happen to your personal effects after you die? While in many instances these things will have little monetary value, they will have a great deal of sentimental value to certain family members. And this, in turn, will lead to fights and may land your loved ones in court. Learn all of the options for dealing with your "stuff."