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When should you review your estate plan?

By | Blog Home, Estate Planning

Reviewing your estate plan will alert you to any changes that need to be addressed. For example, you may need to make changes to your plan to ensure it meets all of your goals, or when an executor, trustee, or guardian can no longer serve in that capacity. You’ll probably want to do a quick review each year, because changes in the economy and in the tax code often occur on a yearly basis. Every five years, do a more thorough review.

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Gray Divorce: Dividing Assets Can Impact Retirement

By | Blog Home, Protection

A divorcing couple must typically negotiate a property settlement agreement to divide assets. Retirement plan benefits are often among the most valuable marital assets to be divided, along with houses, cars, and bank accounts. The laws of your state will define which retirement benefits are community property assets that are subject to division.

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Famous People Who Failed to Plan Properly

By | Blog Home, Misc

It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of taking the time to plan your estate. Nevertheless, it’s surprising how many American adults haven’t done so. You might think that those who are rich and famous would be way ahead of the curve when it comes to planning their estates properly, considering the resources and lawyers presumably available to them. Yet there are plenty of celebrities and people of note who died with inadequate estate plans.

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, died in 2018, leaving behind a score of wonderful music and countless memories. But it appears Ms. Franklin died without a will or estate plan in place. Her four sons filed documents in the Oakland County (Michigan) Probate Court listing themselves as interested parties, while Ms. Franklin’s niece asked the court to appoint her as personal representative of the estate. Her estate will be distributed according to the laws of her state of residence (Michigan). In addition, creditors will have a chance to make claims against her estate and may get paid before any of her heirs. And if she owned property in more than one state, then probate will likely have to be opened in each state where she owned property. The settling of her estate could drag on for years at a potentially high financial cost.

Prince Rogers Nelson, who was better known as Prince, died in 2016. He was 57 years old and still making incredible music and entertaining millions of fans throughout the world. The first filing in the Probate Court for Carver County, Minnesota, was by a woman claiming to be the sister of Prince, asking the court to appoint a special administrator because there was no will or other testamentary documents. As of November 2018, there have been hundreds of court filings from prospective heirs, creditors, and other “interested parties.” There will be no private administration of Prince’s estate, as the entire ongoing proceeding is open and available to anyone for scrutiny.

Pablo Picasso died in 1973 at the ripe old age of 91, apparently leaving no will or other testamentary instructions. He left behind nearly 45,000 works of art, rights and licensing deals, real estate, and other assets. The division of his estate assets took six years and included seven heirs. The settlement among his nearest relatives cost an estimated $30 million in legal fees and other related costs.

Abraham Lincoln, one of America’s greatest presidents, was also a lawyer. Yet when he met his untimely and tragic death at the hands of John Wilkes Booth in 1865, he died intestate — without a will or other testamentary documents. On the day of his death, Lincoln’s son, Robert, asked Supreme Court Justice David Davis to assist in handling his father’s financial affairs. Davis ultimately was appointed as the administrator of Lincoln’s estate. It took more than two years to settle his estate, which was divided between his surviving widow and two sons.

Get to Know Your Estate Planning Documents

By | Blog Home, Estate Planning

An estate plan consists of numerous documents that compliment your living trust. If you are not familiar with your estate planning binder, it can be difficult and frustrating to figure out what each document is and what purpose it serves. Here is a quick description of the most common documents contained in your estate plan. If you are missing any of this paperwork, it is important to have your estate plan reviewed and updated.

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