Preparing a Will

A will is a testator’s final expression regarding the disposition of his or her property. It is important to seek legal counsel in drafting a will because, though some people’s wills may be very simple in the issues they need to address, the training of an estate planning attorney is critical to avoid potential challenges that arise.

Devising Real Property

Devising real property can be tricky. But, like so many other issues that can arise when drafting a will, the general remedy to any potential complication is clarity. The devise must be clear as to what is included in the gift. Here is a classic example: “I devise all interest in the family farm to […]

Types of Testamentary Gifts

There are three types of testamentary gifts (devises): 1. Specific: A specific devise gives an actual item of property. Specific devises may be understood best by distinguishing between two sub-types: a. Specific gifts of tangible property: “I bequest my Babe Ruth rookie baseball card to my son Bobby” b. Specific gifts of intangible property: “I […]

Funeral and Burial Provisions

A will does not have to include funeral, burial, or corporeal directions. However, it is not uncommon that people want to include these directions. Even with incredible detail. The challenge of including these provisions is that the will may not be discovered until after the funeral is over, and the body is laid to rest. […]

Revocation of Prior Wills

Whether or not you have written a will in the past, it is a good idea to have a provision revoking, or effectively cancelling any formal will or codicils (additions) to the will. It is possible to have two wills at the same time as long as they are not contradictory, so a later will, […]

Drafting a Will: Some Considerations

No two people’s lives are the same. Our family circumstances, financial circumstances, and desires for our families and finances are unique to each one of us. An estate plan should likewise be unique to your circumstances, often starting with a will. A will can address a broad array of topics and issues.  Depending on your […]

Capacity and Insane Delusions

As discussed in a former post, “So Who Can Create a Will?” a testator is required to have capacity in order to create a valid will. As long as the testator is recognized to be capable of understanding (1)the nature and extent of his/her property, (2) the effect of the disposition they are making, (3) […]

Planning for Incapacity: Healthcare Concerns

As part of a series of recent posts discussing multiple purposes of drafting a will besides the dispensation of estate assets, I here want to address yet another supplemental purpose of drafting a will: making plans concerning healthcare decisions that may need to be made at a time when you yourself cannot make them on […]

Planning Care for a Minor Child

If you have children, there is another vital reason to have an established estate plan. In addition to planning the use of your assets during incapacitation, or distribution of your assets following death, a will can be a critical tool to plan who will care for your children and how they can be cared for. […]

Planning for Incapacity

While one of the predominant functions of a will is to see to the distribution of assets post-mortem, another function is to set in place a plan to manage your finances in case you are in any sense rendered incapable of managing them yourself. As people continue to live longer, the end of life increasingly […]

Adopted Children

The main probate issue that arises when a child is adopted, is whether the adopted child will be able to receive a share from their biological parent’s estates in addition to their adopted parents’ estates. Most states do not allow adopted children to inherit by descent from both biological and adoptive parents, but instead cut […]