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Estate Administration & Probate Archives

The importance of correct beneficiary designations

Retirement accounts, life insurance and annuities are probably not controlled by provisions in your will. Why is this? These types of accounts and any other designated “payable on death” or “transfer on death” automatically pass to a named beneficiary outside of probate.

The story of a final gift to loved ones and a community

This Thanksgiving season spend a little time telling those around you how much you appreciate them – here is the guidance from Debi Barger, “Write a letter to someone and tell them how they have had a positive effect on your life.”

Planning for “known unknowns and unknown unknowns”

This saying of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld aptly describes an inherent challenge in the estate planning process. Some of the events categorized into the ‘known unknowns’ bucket might be a heart attack, early onset Alzheimer’s or serious car accident. The other bucket as the name implies is more difficult to pin down.

Consider potential for divorce when drafting a trust

Recently, media outlets published that Francis Bean Cobain - the 25-year-old daughter of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain - receives about $100,000 a month from a trust funded by her father's publicity rights. Her father died without even a simple will. Intestacy laws dictated that his estate would pass to his surviving spouse and daughter and there have since been ugly, public court battles.

When does an estate need a new administrator?

Usually, it is only required when there are serious disagreements, liability issues or litigation. In your will, making a wise decision about who to name as personal representative may avoid the issue altogether. It is truly one of the benefits of a will, you get to decide who has the necessary skills to administer your estate according to your wishes.

How to account for sibling rivalry in an estate plan

Almost as soon as a younger sibling arrives, so does rivalry for parent attention. As the children grow up, it is amazing to see how early these rivalries turn into “hitting” and “no, thank yous.” As children grow up together these behaviors change, but sibling rivalry rarely ever goes away.

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