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Kennett Square Probate & Estate Law Blog

When the whereabouts of an heir to a will are unknown

Sometimes, when someone dies, it isn't the will that's hard to locate -- it's one of the heirs named in that will.

Wills often get written down and virtually forgotten. In the time between their creation and the testator's death, however, someone named in the will as an heir can move away and lose contact with the family for any number of reasons.

Battle to control Prince's unpublished works begins

Prince didn't just leave behind a treasure-trove of unreleased recordings and unpublished music -- the prolific musician also left behind quite a mess for his estate administrators to sort out.

Just about everyone who ever had a hand in Prince's career while the artist was alive seems to want to benefit from his posthumous career as well. The grief demonstrated by fans all across the world indicates that his career -- unlike his tragically short life -- is far from over.

Supreme Court may change rules to better protect elder rights

There could be big changes coming to the way that nursing homes have traditionally operated, thanks to a case being heard by the United States Supreme Court.

In the past, when a relative would check an elder into the nursing home, he or she would often be handed a sheaf of papers to sign as part of that process. Hidden somewhere in that pile of papers, there often lurked an arbitration agreement.

Elder guardianship could be a form of financial abuse

Elder guardianship, when ordered by a judge against the wishes of the family and put into the hands of a stranger, is coming under fire all over the country.

Many experts feel like it's a form of elder abuse. Those who have been victimized by the system tend to agree.

Elder financial abuse can evolve into estate fraud

The elderly are often targets for financial fraud simply because they trust the wrong relative to handle their affairs.

Experts say that they've even seen cases of parents held hostage by their adult children. An adult child manages to get control of the parent (and his or her finances), but won't put the parent into a nursing home where he or she can get adequate medical care. That would mean giving up the parent's monthly benefit checks and liquidating their other assets.

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.

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Larmore Scarlett LLP

Larmore Scarlett, LLP
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P.O. Box 384

Kennett Square, PA 19348

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