Biddle Law Estate Planning Blog

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review Your Estate Plan Today

Why is it important to review your estate plan periodically?

You’ve taken the critically important step of making an estate plan. Now what? While it may be tempting to shove your will in a desk drawer and forget about it, estate planning lawyers recommend that you routinely review your estate plan to ensure that it is up-to-date with your current lifestyle and conforms to any newly passed laws.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Incorporating Planned Giving into Your Estate Plan

Q: Do I need to be rich to leave money to a favorite cause or charity?

One of the biggest misconceptions about estate planning is that you don’t need a will unless you have a lot of money. Another misconception is that you can’t donate money to a favorite charity or cause unless you’re worth a fortune.

First off, no one knows how long life is going to be or what challenges or blessings are in store. So, it pays for all adults to have..

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

In Focus: Trust Disputes

What are the most common types of trust disputes?

Trusts have become one of the most popular estate planning tools, and for good reason. A trust allows the trust creator (the trustor) to entrust assets to a named trustee for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Trusts do not need to go through probate when the trustor dies, thereby preserving the trust assets, keeping the trust private, and saving beneficiaries considerable time. Despite the many benefits of a trust, at times disputes will arise between the beneficiaries and the trustee or the beneficiaries and the trust itself.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

When Granny Goes Missing

Q: How can incapacitated elders be protected?

A skilled California estate planning lawyer has an arsenal of legal mechanisms on hand to customize an estate plan that's personalized to each client’s particular situation.

In addition to documents that transfer your property to others--like a last will and testament or like a trust agreement (which may also help...

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Monday, February 19, 2018

California Estate Planning Options Include Wills and Trusts

Q: Do I need a trust or a will? Or both?

Two of the many benefits of seeking counsel from a skilled California estate planning attorney--instead of attempting a risky do-it-yourself will-- are a law school education and years of experience.

You certainly wouldn't stitch your own wound closed and probably wouldn't offer to be a surgeon's first case.
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Monday, February 12, 2018

Protecting Your Beneficiaries from a Bad Trustee

Your trustee is supposed to be extremely ethical, responsible, and have the best interests of your beneficiaries at heart. They should carry out their duties as you intended and act for the benefit of your trust and those who receive its assets. However, unfortunately, trustees may not always be up to this task. What happens if you pick a bad trustee or someone who cannot carry out his or her duties? Can you set up your trust to address this type of problem? The short answer is “Yes”!

Your Rights to Change a Trustee

If your trustee is in charge of a living trust or irrevocable trust, you may be able to make some changes yourself. Nonetheless, you can only make this type of change if the trust document allows it.
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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

When Do You Need a Probate Lawyer?

If you have recently been named as an executor, you may want to seriously consider hiring a probate lawyer to help you with your daunting task of administering your loved one’s estate. In fact, according to traditional probate advice, hiring an attorney is often one of the first things you should do after you discover you are the executor.
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Monday, January 15, 2018

Ensuring an Executor Fulfills His or Her Duties

An executor plays an extremely valuable role in the administration of an estate. He or she will make sure that bills are paid appropriately and make distributions to beneficiaries. The executor role is designed to make everyone’s life easier after a loved one passes.

Unfortunately, when the executor does not carry out his or her duties, an already difficult time can become even more challenging. Thankfully, beneficiaries can take action to address poor administrator performance.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Avoiding “Helter Skelter” Estate Planning Mistakes

Q: What happens when multiple wills are presented for probate?

More than a month after the death of one of the most notorious mass murderers of our time, the late Charles Manson is making headlines again due to a large fight over who is entitled to his remains and belongings.

The Manson estate appears to be a prime example of why people should consult a skilled estate planning attorney to ensure that their assets are distributed and their bodies disposed of in the matter they wish.
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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Protecting Your Estate Planning Documents From Disaster

Where should I store my will?

After a year of catastrophic fires in California and unprecedented hurricanes hitting both Texas and Florida, Americans have become more acutely aware of the importance of preserving our valued personal items.  When a natural disaster strikes, you want to make sure that your important documents are in a safe place.  Some of the most critical documents that you will want to preserve are your Read more . . .

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Reasons to Challenge a Will

A will describes who should get what regarding both assets and liabilities. However, sometimes the will may not seem fair or just for various reasons. If you read a family member’s will and think, “Why did Dad do that?” or “I’m shocked that Mom did that,” you may have grounds to contest a will.

There are a variety of reasons that contesting a will may be appropriate. Underlying each rationale, however, is the notion that something seems slightly off on how the decedent left things.
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