Probate is the process of proving the validity of a will and supervising the administration of an estate usually in the probate court. State law governs the proceedings in the probate court, so the process can vary from state to state. Supervising the administration of an estate can result in additional expense, unwanted publicity, and delays in the distribution of estate assets for a year or longer, which is why planning to avoid the probate process may be beneficial. Continue reading “Avoiding Probate”
As the beneficiary of an inheritance, you are most likely to be faced with making many important decisions during an emotional time. Short of meeting any required tax or legal deadlines, don’t make any hasty decisions concerning your inheritance. Continue reading “Tips for Managing an Inheritance”
What is a nursing home?
A nursing home is a state-licensed facility that may provide skilled nursing care, intermediate care, and/or custodial care. You may need to enter a nursing home on a short-term basis (for example, after a major illness or injury), or on a long-term basis (if you become physically or mentally incapacitated and cannot care for yourself). Although you may prefer in-home care, you may need to enter a nursing home if you require round-the-clock care, especially if you don’t have family to help you at home or if the services of an in-home caregiver are inadequate or unavailable. Continue reading “Choosing a Nursing Home”
U.S. savings bonds were once so popular — and so often tucked away — that an estimated $25 billion in matured savings bonds have never been claimed. These bonds have been caught in a prolonged legal battle between the federal government and states that want to take control of the bonds on behalf of their residents.1 Continue reading “Where to Look for Lost Property”
A prenuptial agreement (also known as a premarital agreement, antemarital agreement, or prenup) is a binding contract executed by prospective spouses to define the rights, duties, and obligations of the parties during marriage and in the event of legal separation, annulment, divorce, or death. Continue reading “Love & Marriage – Prenuptial Agreements”
New Spending Package Includes Sweeping Retirement Plan Changes
The $1.4 trillion spending package enacted on December 20, 2019, included the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which had overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives in the spring of 2019, but then subsequently stalled in the Senate. The SECURE Act represents the most sweeping set of changes to retirement legislation in more than a decade. Continue reading “The SECURE Act will affect all of our retirement plans.”
You’ve worked hard over the years to accumulate wealth, and you probably find it comforting to know that after your death the assets you leave behind will continue to be a source of support for your family, friends, and the causes that are important to you. But to ensure that your legacy reaches your heirs as you intend, you must make the proper arrangements now. There are four basic ways to leave a legacy: (1) by will, (2) by trust, (3) by beneficiary designation, and (4) by joint ownership arrangements.
Continue reading “Leaving a Legacy”
Caring for your aging parents is something you hope you can handle when the time comes, but it’s the last thing you want to think about. Whether the time is now or somewhere down the road, there are steps that you can take to make your life (and theirs) a little easier. Some people live their entire lives with little or no assistance from family and friends, but today Americans are living longer than ever before. It’s always better to be prepared. Continue reading “Caring for Your Aging Parents”
You’re beginning to accumulate substantial wealth, but you worry about protecting it from future potential creditors. Whether your concern is for your personal assets or your business, various tools exist to keep your property safe from tax collectors, accident victims, health-care providers, credit card issuers, business creditors, and creditors of others. Continue reading “Asset Protection in Estate Planning”
Generally, if your name does not appear on the account, either as a joint owner with rights of survivorship, trustee (if the account is held in trust), or a beneficiary, you probably can’t access the account unless authorized to do so by the probate court having jurisdiction over your spouse’s estate. Each state has its own laws dealing with this situation, and the applicable rules may differ from one state to the next. Even if you are named as agent in your spouse’s power of attorney with the right to access his or her accounts, that authorization ends upon the death of the person executing the power of attorney, namely your spouse.
Continue reading “My spouse just died. Do I have access to his or her accounts?”