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Kennett Square Probate & Estate Law Blog

Get help to prove a valid foreign marriage for estate purposes

The problem for many couples married overseas before coming to Florida is that the United States is stricter than many parts of the world about getting government-sanctioned permission for a wedding. In many countries, a couple's marriage is strictly a private affair -- if they're married according to local customs, that's enough for the government.

When one of those spouses happens to die in Florida, the legality of that marriage can sometimes be thrown into question -- especially if there are other potential beneficiaries waiting in the wings and all-too-willing to take possession of whatever the widow or widower would otherwise be rightfully due.

Should you rewrite your will or add a codicil?

The odds are high that the first will you write won't be your last -- especially if you do things the way that you're supposed to and prepare a will while you're still fairly young. Over time, it is probably going to become necessary to change at least some of the provisions in your will as your children age, go to college, get married or have children of their own.

Should you just start over from scratch with a whole new will, or should you simply amend the one that you have with a codicil?

Parents of murdered teen seek estate access to sue for her death

The biological mother and father of a teenage girl who was the victim of a gruesome murder are now asking a Pennsylvania court to make them the administrators of her estate.

That's the only way that the girl's biological parents can gain the legal standing that they need to sue the state and the social services organization that put their daughter in the care of the woman who first adopted her and then murdered her.

What do you do with a will after you write it?

Once you've finally gotten around to writing your will, what do you do with it?

A will won't do any good unless someone knows that it exists and where to find it -- but at the same time, you may not be comfortable placing it directly in the hands of one of your heirs, just in case the temptation to sneak a peek turns out to be overwhelming.

Judge rescinds multimillion dollar contract with Prince's estate

Complications with high-value estates can make for ugly turns of events in courtroom battles. There's no exception just because the deceased is one of the most famous musicians of our time.

The musician Prince, who was fiercely in control of his artistic catalog while alive, somewhat curiously died without a will. In the absence of a will, an estate's administrators are generally required to try to maximize the value of that estate wherever possible.

What's the difference between irrevocable and revocable trusts?

Trusts were once thought of as something that only the very wealthy need have -- people of more modest means made do with ordinary wills to pass what they had on to their heirs.

However, trusts are increasingly becoming the modern way to pass money on to the next generation even among middle class Americans. Trusts often preserve a family's hard-earned wealth better than a will, which accounts for their growing popularity.

What are mineral rights and how can they affect an estate?

The right to exploit a piece of property's natural resources are often referred to as its "mineral rights," and it exists as a distinct asset that's independent of the surface land itself -- which means that they can be bought and sold independently of the surface land. Those mineral rights can often be quite valuable and affect the tax liabilities of everyone involved. For example, if there is a pocket of natural gas or oil below an area of otherwise unused land, the heirs holding those mineral rights may benefit considerably.

However, because the surface area of the land and the mineral rights underneath it can be sold or willed separately, there's often a lot of difficulty tracking down exactly how many heirs are dividing up those mineral rights -- and it isn't uncommon to inherit a fraction of the whole.

You need to act quickly to sue an estate

One of the jobs of the administrator or executor of an estate is to settle out the debts of the deceased -- that can get very complicated if the deceased died while embroiled in some sort of conflict or died as the result of injuries in an accident that he or she caused.

In effect, the other parties involved in the dispute or accident may try to sue the deceased through his or her estate in order to obtain compensation for whatever economic damages they've suffered.

What happens to the inheritance of an heir that's already died?

If you're the executor of an estate, an already complicated process can become even more complicated when one of the heirs listed in the deceased's will dies before he or she can collect the inheritance.

At that point, two different things may be possible:

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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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