Newsletters – Estate Planning

The Body of a Will Most of the formalities of a will come at the beginning of the will and at the end of the will. The initial clauses usually announce the intention of the testator to make a will. The closing clauses usually indicate that the will has been signed and witnessed as required. In between the initial clauses and the closing clauses is the body of a will. The body of the will is where the testator directs the disposition of his or her estate. Guardianship or Conservatorship Most people have legal control over themselves and their property. They are able to act on their own behalf. But when a living person is unable to protect or care for himself or herself, or for his or her property, because of old age, illness, or other disability, the law of guardianship (or conservatorship) permits the appointment of a competent person to protect and care for the incompetent person and/or manage the incompetent person's property. Inheritance Without Planning Means No Changing the Default Plan When a person dies intestate (without making and leaving a will), each state provides a default plan (usually known as the statute of descent and distribution), under which his or her net estate is disposed. When a person dies intestate, there is no changing the default plan. The default plan's sequences for determining who inherits and how much cannot be changed. This article discusses the disadvantages of descent and distribution related to that inability to change who inherits and how much. Co-Ownership Myths - III One of the most confusing aspects of estate planning is the numerous myths about co-ownership of property. Many people do not understand the differences between a tenancy in common and a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Many people do not understand what a tenancy by the entirety is or was. Many people do not understand the differences between the common law forms of co-ownership and community property. Moreover, people may define their own forms of co-ownership by contract. This article discusses some of the many myths about the co-ownership of property. Failing to Make and Leave a Will Although estimates vary, it's pretty safe to say that more than 50 percent of the people who could make and leave a will fail to do so.

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