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Kennett Square Pennsylvania Probate & Estate Law Blog

Hit the lottery? Talk to a trust attorney before you celebrate

If you've ever bought a lottery ticket, you've probably fantasized about what you'd do the minute you got that multimillion-dollar check.

That fantasy probably didn't include visiting a lawyer's office, but it's one of the first things you should probably actually do if you do become one of the fortunate few who actually wins.

If you think your parent's guardian is abusive, get legal help

Even the federal government has acknowledged the sickening reality: legal guardians of seniors, including those appointed by the state, are often financially abusive to their wards.

It's hardly surprising when the system is set up to be financially motivating and puts the control of the senior in the hands of anyone willing to take the job -- including a professional who might not even know the senior in question.

Leaving your money to your heirs: Tips you need to know

If you've worked hard, acquired some nice things and saved a bit, you'd probably like to know that someone will benefit from those things after you're gone.

However, it isn't always easy to sort through the intricacies of the way that different funds and assets are handled after someone dies -- and you may be surprised to find out that some of them don't work the way you might anticipate.

What's the role of a health care agent and how do you choose one?

There are two very important things no estate plan should be without: the designation of someone to be your agent for health care (also known as the person who holds your medical power of attorney) and your living will.

Living wills are provided free by hospitals everywhere these days -- they function as a legal guide that allows the doctor, or other relatives, to follow your wishes regarding medical care once you can no longer express them on your own.

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.

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