For young parents with small children, or maybe a first child on the way, estate planning is likely the last item on the agenda. The need for writing a will is low. Everyone is healthy, the job is stable, the weather is nice and the grass is green. In a perfect world, things would stay that way forever, and even in an imperfect world, things can still be good for many more years; long after your children have the left home and begun families of their own.
First things first - a trust is a very specific relationship in which one individual, the settlor, who entrusts the management of property and/or additional assets to another individual, known as the trustee.
Plenty of legal shortcuts have popped up on the Internet in recent years, promoting the benefits of bypassing professional lawyers and opting for DIY legal procedures. One of the biggest markets is, ironically, one of the last most people should be doing themselves.
Estate planning is about more than leaving your belongings to loved ones; it is also about protecting the things you own for future generations. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of small business owners seeking to keep the business in the family or ensure its survival.
More often than not, estate planning is looked at as a way to ease the transition of an individual's assets to the custody of friends and loved ones. This is, indeed, what estate planning can and should be used for, but should it be the first priority of the forward-thinking estate planner?
The drama surrounding Gary Coleman's death is beginning to look like a mere taste of the main event, which is building up around the late actor's estate and allegations of coercion in the drafting of a new will. The main point of contention is Coleman's estate plan, which ex-wife Shannon Price and ex-girlfriend Anna Gray have both claimed the benefits of.
When an individual passes away, his or her estate may go into probate, a process by which outstanding claims are resolved and that individual's property is divided according to a will. In the probate process, which is overseen by the court, the will may be examined to ensure its validity and its executor is named.
The fight for Dennis Hopper's $40 million estate is in full swing and started, many noted, before the actor was even buried. The probate battle centers on Hopper's eldest daughter, Marin, and his estranged wife, Victoria Duffy. Galen Hopper, the actor's seven-year-old daughter will likely be a focal point of Duffy's argument for a share of the property.
Advance Healthcare Directives are a very important, yet often overlooked, step in planning for your future. Especially for the elderly and those with serious diseases, an advance healthcare directive can give both you and your loved ones peace of mind. If you are looking at estate planning, such as the creation of a will, take the time to ask about setting up an advance healthcare directive as well.
Taking the time to create a comprehensive, thought out estate plan can save your family money, time and tension. Leaving vague instructions or putting all of your assets under the control of a single family member can cost your loved ones lots of money and cause rifts that last forever.