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What Does it Mean for a Will to Lapse?

When someone dies with a Last Will and Testament, their property is distributed in accordance with what the Will states. While preparing a Will can be a complicated and stressful process at the best of times, if not properly drafted, your wishes might not be realized when distribution of the Will occurs. For example, if a beneficiary under your Will has already died when distribution of your estate assets occurs, the issue of lapse will arise. Continue reading “What Does it Mean for a Will to Lapse?”

Five Ways to Protect Your Estate Through Your Will

If you are planning your estate and writing your last will and testament instead of using a Trust, the last thing you want to worry about is who might try to attack your estate when you are no longer around to defend it. However, if you are not careful, the distribution of your estate can become a massive debacle as family members and creditors all fight for a piece of the pie. If you decide to use a will instead of a Trust to distribute your estate, here are five ways you can use your will to protect your estate from this kind of chaos: Continue reading “Five Ways to Protect Your Estate Through Your Will”

“Queen of Soul” Leaves Behind a Legacy, But No Will

When Aretha Franklin died on August 16, 2018, she left behind a litany of musical memories for her fans. But one thing she forgot to leave behind was a Will.

Variety reported that the “Queen of Soul” — who died at the age of 76 of pancreatic cancer — had no Will designating who will benefit from her estate. In her home state of Michigan, if an unmarried person with children dies intestate, each surviving child receives an equal amount of the decedent’s assets. In this case, Ms. Franklin’s four sons filed documents in court listing themselves as interested parties and acknowledged the absence of a Will, while their cousin requested to be the personal representative of Ms. Franklin’s estate.
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Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust allows assets within the trust as well as income generated by those assets to be managed and distributed by the trustee. The trust income and property are then distributed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the trust. This type of trust is referred to as a living trust because it is established during the life of the creator.

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Keeping Your Will Updated and Naming Beneficiaries on Assets

A Last Will and Testament is an important estate planning document that contains provisions for assets and the distribution of property upon death. Unfortunately, many individuals fail to account for assets that do not pass directly under a Will. These assets may include life insurance policies, pensions, IRAs, and 401(k) or 403 plans. After the policyholder of these assets dies, the policies may distribute the benefits to their heirs at law if there is no beneficiary designation and no Last Will and Testament.

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The Importance of a Last Will and Testament

Perhaps the most surprising fact reported following the death of musician Prince Rogers Nelson was that the celebrity died without a Last Will and Testament. As mentioned in a previous blog article, Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson filed an Emergency Petition in a Minnesota court seeking the appointment of a Special Administrator. The circumstances surrounding the celebrity’s death is not uncommon, as 55 percent of Americans do not have a will or an estate plan in place, according to LexisNexis.

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The Musical Icon Prince May Have Died Without a Will

According to documents obtained by People Magazine, Prince did not have a Last Will and Testament. Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson filed an Emergency Petition in a Minnesota Court seeking the appointment of a Special Administrator.

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Do I Need to Make a Living Trust, or is my Will Enough?

In New York State, a will is a written document that must contain a signature at the end witnessed by two people.  The purpose of a will is to name beneficiaries who will receive property after your death.  A will is revocable and can be destroyed by a physical act such as burning or tearing, by operation of law such as divorce, by presumption (for example, after your death the will cannot be found), or by a subsequent will.  Accordingly, a will may be revised many times during one’s life.  In a will, an executor for the estate and guardians for children may be named, and instructions for wishes to be carried out may be listed.  Upon death, a will goes through the probate process and becomes a public document.

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