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Kennett Square Probate & Estate Law Blog

4 signs your will could be challenged after you're gone

Some families can't get along even in the best of times -- so you definitely can't count on them to get along during the worst of times.

But what if you aren't sure whether or not your family will abide by your wishes once you're gone? Experts say that there are certain signs that can clue you in that your family is going to go to battle over your estate:

Watch for these common estate planning mistakes

If you have your will and trust documents ready you may be sitting comfortably with the belief that you have your estate needs handled -- but hold on.

You might just have forgotten something very important: the name of the designated beneficiaries on your bank accounts, life insurance policies, 401K and other financial accounts. If those don't match up with what your will says, your will could end up being practically useless.

Estate planning for spouses of noncitzizens takes special care

You already know that estate planning is a complicated process, but that process can be even more difficult when your spouse is a nonresident alien for estate purposes.

Because of the limitations that are imposed on spouse-to-spouse transfers of wealth in any given year or upon death, careful estate planning includes timing consideration and the use of unique asset protection clauses, like a qualified domestic trust (QDOT).

Why legal guardianship may be needed instead of power of attorney

Are you struggling with the question of whether or not you should try to obtain legal guardianship for an adult relative like a parent or sibling? If so, you aren't alone—it isn't easy to ask the court to deprive someone of the right to make his or her own personal decisions.

Unfortunately, it may be the only choice you really have when a power of attorney (POA) isn't practical. Here are a couple of reasons why a guardianship may be needed instead of a POA:

Americans are putting off basic estate planning needs

Americans aren't planning ahead—and that could be problematic for both individuals and their loved ones in the future.

According to a recent study, less than half of American adults have any kind of estate planning documents in place. Only slightly more than 40 percent have any of their wishes written down at all in a will or living trust.

Is your inheritance marital property in Pennsylvania?

If you inherit something of value or a large sum of money from a relative, is that yours to keep even in a divorce?

Logically, you might think so. Legally, the best answer anyone can give you without looking into the exact situation is, "Maybe." This is why.

Donating your body or organs when you die: A primer

A lot of people like the idea of donating their organs to help other people in need have a better life. They also like the idea of donating their body to science, in order to further scientific or medical research in any number of ways.

However, that's a topic that can be hard for your loved ones to handle right at the moment of your death. Unfortunately, the necessary procedures all have to be done within a very limited amount of time. That doesn't give your family members much of a chance to think over how they feel or consider what you might have wanted.

Does your will include access to digital assets and accounts?

How current is your will? Unless you have a section of your will or other estate planning documents that specifically addresses the issue of your digital property and assets, it's a good time to update.

Digital property and assets are quickly becoming one of the trickiest areas of estate planning to navigate, mostly because the laws haven't kept up with the times.

Tenancy by the entirety can't hold if it's a fraudulent transfer

Tenancy by the entirety can give married couples most of the same advantages and disadvantages of joint tenancy. When one spouse dies, the other spouse obtains full ownership without the property having to go through probate.

It also has one other aspect that makes it particularly attractive; property that's held in a tenancy by the entirety is only subject to liens or seizure to pay off the spouses' joint debts.

How do you revoke a will?

The right to decide who gets what out of everything from your real estate holdings to your personal property once you die is important, which is why everyone needs a will, no matter what your age. If you die without one, the laws of your state will take over and control what happens instead.

However, your first will may not be anywhere close to your last. It isn't uncommon for people to have to revoke a will and make a new one several times over the course of their lifetime.

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Larmore Scarlett LLP

Larmore Scarlett, LLP
123 E. Linden Street,
P.O. Box 384

Kennett Square, PA 19348

Phone: 610-444-3737
Fax: 610-444-9532
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