- The Five Key Components of Estate Planning
Learn more about estate planning and the five key components by watching this video!
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Dealing with the passing of a loved one is always difficult and can become even more so if a dispute arises over their estate. Disputes can arise in many forms, but they primarily fall into one of two categories: contesting the validity of a will or disputing the actions of a fiduciary.
When contesting the validity of a last will and testament, evidence will be key. You’ll need to show that the person who created the will either did so while under the undue influence of another, while they lacked the mental capacity to create the document, or that they were not involved at all and the will has been forged.
When you speak with an estate attorney about the dispute, they’ll guide you through important questions to help establish the order of events and assist you in locating and gathering the necessary evidence.
Ultimately, the dispute will need to be resolved through the state courts, where your attorney will present your evidence and argue that the will in question is invalid and therefore should be thrown out.
The other main category of estate disputes arises when a fiduciary either fails to act or does so improperly. The word “fiduciary” when referring to estate matters can include those in various roles including executor, administrator, power of attorney and trustee.
Anyone in these roles is tasked with certain responsibilities that they are required to perform, whether it is gathering estate assets, paying off debts, creating trusts or distributing those assets either in accordance with a last will or state law.
If anyone in one of these roles either fails to act or does so improperly, such as distributing assets to the wrong person, then you may need to litigate in state court to either remove them from this role or force them to act appropriately under the circumstances.
Oftentimes this litigation will be between family members and can become both heated and complex. When you work with an estate attorney they will guide you through this process while also ensuring that your rights are protected and your inheritance is received. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your matter.
A good estate plan consists of several documents that together will ensure that one’s affairs are handled according to their wishes, both during their lifetime and after they pass away. The last will and testament plays a vital role in designating how your assets will be distributed, who will administer your estate, and how minor children will be cared for in the event you pass away unexpectedly.
Your last will and testament will contain several important sections that will provide instructions to your loved ones on how to handle your affairs once you pass away. These include naming your heirs, choosing fiduciaries, and naming guardians for minor children.
When choosing your heirs and deciding how to distribute your assets it’s very important to consider how your inheritance will be received and by whom. If any of your potential heirs has financial issues or is not capable of handling money, this should be considered before creating the will.
When you speak with an estate attorney, they will work to understand your entire financial picture as well as family dynamics, and provide you with options on how best to proceed in these scenarios.
Another important part of creating a last will is choosing your fiduciaries, or those who will be tasked with carrying out the instructions provided within the will. First, you’ll want to name an executor. This person will be the one responsible for gathering the assets in your estate, paying off your debts, filing your final tax return, and distributing the property according to your wishes.
This can be a complicated process, so it’s best to choose someone who you believe will be capable of handling these responsibilities during a stressful time.
In addition to naming an executor, if any of your beneficiaries are minor children, you’ll want to name a trustee who will be responsible for managing their inheritance until they reach an age where they are capable of doing so themselves. The last will is the only place where one can name a legal guardian to care for minor children.
Choosing the right person for any of these roles requires careful consideration. When you are working with an attorney to create an estate plan, they will guide you through the questions you should ask both yourself and the people you are considering for these roles.