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Handling the Legal Affairs of a Missing Person

Approximately 600,000 people go missing in the United States each year.[1] The loved ones who are left behind must carry not only heavy emotional burdens but significant practical burdens too. People who go missing often leave behind real estate and...

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Five Mistakes Successor Trustees Make (and How to Prevent Them)

When establishing a trust, you must give serious thought to who you choose as your successor trustee—the person who will manage, invest, and hand out the trust’s accounts and property once you are no longer able to do so. This...

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Reviewing Your Accounts and Property upon the Death of a Loved One

How your accounts are owned makes a big difference in estate planning. The main objective is usually to ensure that no accounts and property are in only your name when you die. Otherwise, they will be subject to probate, a...

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Reviewing Your Estate Plan after the Death of a Loved One

The death of a loved one is never easy. Regardless of your relationship with the deceased (blood relative, life partner, or close friend), you need space and time to process and grieve your loss. Once you have had time to...

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Estate Planning Considerations for Incarcerated Individuals

If you are preparing for or are currently incarcerated, the future may be uncertain right now. Proper estate planning may ease some of the worries you are facing. Regardless of how long your incarceration is for, we are here to...

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Do I Have to Leave Anything to My Children?

One common storyline in Hollywood movies is the rich father disinheriting the family outcast. The story usually traces the child’s attempts to win the father over and be considered a part of the family again. But can fiction imitate reality?...

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All in the Family: Making Sense of Per Stirpes, By Representation, and Per Capita Distributions

“That’s not fair!” In many households, this is the common refrain of children as they advocate for themselves or express what they feel to be unjust. This pursuit of fairness, however, is not limited to arguments between parents and young...

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Defining “Fair Market Value”: The Case of Wilburn v. Mangano

When reading through a will or trust agreement, you may see language that grants a right to an individual to purchase certain property from the estate or trust at “fair market value.” At first glance, this phrase may seem a...

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How to Choose a Trustee

When you establish a trust, you name someone to be the trustee. A trustee does what you do right now with your financial affairs—collect income, pay bills and taxes, save and invest for the future, buy and sell property, provide...

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Closing Accounts That Are in the Deceased’s Name

As mentioned in our previous blog posts, as a personal representative of an estate, you are liable for closing the decedent's different accounts. This can include turning off cable television service and phone service to closing bank accounts and selling...

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