Biddle Law Estate Planning Blog

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Duties and Responsibilities of a Probate Administrator

When you create a will, you name an executor to take care of your estate after your pass. This person will be responsible for not only carrying out your wishes as you have laid them out in your will, but he or she is also responsible for settling your debts as well. The duties of an executor or administrator can be somewhat daunting, so it is important to name someone whom you think will be up to the task.

Knowing what this person will do and how they may go about doing it can help you decide who should be your executor. As a potential or acting executor, knowing the basics of your role can go a long way toward completing your duties efficiently and in a way that will satisfy the beneficiaries.

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Digital Assets and Estate Planning

When you start thinking about your estate plan, physical property like your home, your car, and your bank account will often come to mind. However, we live in an increasingly digital age, which means that you may have digital assets that should be included in your estate plan. A digital asset is any electronically stored information that has some value.

If you already have an

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Common Types of Will Contests

The most basic estate planning tool is a will which establishes how an individual's property will be distributed and names beneficiaries to receive those assets. Unfortunately, there are circumstances when disputes arise among surviving family members that can lead to a will contest. This is a court proceeding in which the validity of the will is challenged.
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

3 Things a Simple Will Does NOT Do

Unfortunately, many people do not realize that crafting an estate plan involves more than just creating a will. A will cannot accomplish many things you may want in your estate plan. They can, however, deal with issues such as naming and executor, stating who will be a guardian for your children, and distributing property.

Wills cannot deal with particular types of assets and have little effect on reducing your estate taxes. Instead, other

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Estate Planning and Second Marriages

Estate planning can be difficult, but it becomes even more complicated when you are planning after your second marriage. There are different issues you need to address when creating a plan after your first marriage. For example, you may want to plan for children born from the first marriage or allocate assets away from certain individuals. Below are a few things that you should consider when creating your estate plan after a second marriage.
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Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Brief Guide to Powers of Attorney

There are several types of powers of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document that permits another person to deal with your personal affairs on your behalf. They are often used in the event that you become incapacitated or unable to deal with your own financial, health, real estate, or other important issues. They can also be used in situations where you may not have the experience or knowledge necessary to deal with an issue, but a loved one can help you with the problem.
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Friday, March 31, 2017

Understanding the Probate Process in California

What happens during the probate process in California?

The death of a loved one is always traumatic and will require a considerable amount of time to process.  In the midst of your grief, you will likely also find yourself struggling to untangle the financial issues that often exist after a death.  It is important that you have a basic understanding of the probate process in the state of California so that you can timely initiate probate and comply with the requirements of the court.  Our experienced

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Common Disputes that Lead to Estate Litigation

When someone creates a will or trust, he or she assumes that the document will be iron-clad in terms of legality and clarity. However, this is unfortunately not always the case. Disputes can arise when loved ones do not agree with the will or trust. Conflict regarding the validity of an
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Responsibilities and Obligations of the Executor/ Administrator

When a person dies with a will in place, an executor is named as the responsible individual for winding down the decedent's affairs. In situations in which a will has not been prepared, the probate court will appoint an administrator. Whether you have been named  as an executor or administrator, the role comes with certain responsibilities including taking charge of the decedent's assets, notifying beneficiaries and creditors, paying the estate's debts and distributing the property to the beneficiaries.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How does life insurance fit into my estate plan?

Life insurance can be an integral part of an estate plan. Policies can be set up to be paid directly to the beneficiary, without the need to pass through the estate, and without the need for any taxes to be paid. Having a life insurance policy ensures that some assets will be liquid, so that debts and expenses can be paid quickly and easily without the need to dispose of assets. Beneficiaries can be changed at any time as can the benefit amount. The policy can be used to accumulate savings if the plan is surrendered before death. Life insurance policies, especially those purchased later in life, can pay out significantly more than what was invested into them. There are many benefits to purchasing a life insurance policy as part of an estate plan.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

When is a person unfit to make a will?

Testamentary capacity refers to a person’s ability to understand and execute a will. As a general rule, most people who are over the age of eighteen are thought to be competent to make and sign the will. They must be able to understand that they are signing the will, they must understand the nature of the property being affected by the will, and they must remember and understand who is affected by the will. These are simple burdens to meet. However, there are a number of reasons a person might challenge a will based on testamentary capacity.

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