"That woman was only married to Dad for six months before he passed away. Why should she get anything?" That is a question we have heard a number of times in probate cases. It is a difficult subject for many families when the parent has children from a prior marriage, marries a second time and then passes away without a will.
No one likes to think about having to enter a nursing home. The idea can seem especially unfathomable when you are in good health, no matter your age. However, the odds that you will never have to go into a nursing home are not something you want to gamble with. Why?
For one thing - and most importantly for quite a few people - a lack of planning could lead to you selling your house and other assets rather than leaving them to your children or other heirs, as you would prefer. In fact, you could have nothing left to probate. It is important to understand that planning for a nursing home does not mean absolutely having to go live in one. It only means being ready for that eventuality financially and legally should the need arise, as it does for many people.
Planning for your child’s future can be stressful, but that stress further compounds when your child has special needs. The designation of special needs encompasses a broad spectrum of cognitive disabilities and when children near legal adulthood it can be difficult to decide whether or not to seek guardianship over them.
If your child is a minor you still have guardianship over them and can make legal, medical and financial decisions for them, but once they turn 18 your authority abruptly ends. Not every disabled child needs to have a guardian, yet in some cases guardianship is an obvious choice.
Understanding the probate process and what assets it involves will be part of the discussion when you meet with an attorney to prepare your will. For example, if you want to know whether your collection of vintage dolls will be subject to probate, the short answer is yes.
Personal property that belongs to you alone will usually pass through probate, but there is a way around that.
During his lifetime, the late and great Prince of Minnesota had amassed what many expect to be a very significant estate. According to Forbes.com, estimates suggest Prince's net worth is over $300 million. Prince smartly took measures protecting his ownership rights to his music. He retained control of his art, including performance royalties, publishing rights and more.
A large estate with no will or trust
When Mom or Dad is in failing health, the adult children may think it is a good idea to put one or more of them on the parent's account and make it a joint account. The idea is that the child can deposit the parent's income, pay their bills and divide up the account among their siblings when Mom or Dad dies.
This can be a very dangerous thing to do, as a Minnesota Supreme Court case a few years showed.
Estate planning is sometimes a difficult topic to think about. It makes us not only take an inventory of the fruits of our life's labors, but to also consider our own mortality.
In conjunction with the asset protection and inheritance aspects of testamentary planning, another key component is another difficult topic to ponder: a health care directive, also known as a "living will."
If you are getting a divorce from your spouse, you have a lot of planning to do. You will need to name your own beneficiaries, organize your divided assets, and set up your individual property. It is vital that you meet with a qualified attorney to discuss the specifics of planning your estate to ensure that your wishes are to be implemented as you desire.
Estate planning is an arduous task for anyone, celebrities included. As a society, celebrities are held to a much higher standard. They have substantial incomes and lead extravagant lifestyles that most people could only dream of. So it's only natural to assume their finances are tightly secured. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.
Too often you hear about celebrities dying without proper estate plans in place. And then watch as the battle over their estate plays out in court, sometimes taking several years to settle.