When Aretha Franklin died on August 16, 2018, she left behind a litany of musical memories for her fans. But one thing she forgot to leave behind was a Will.
Variety reported that the “Queen of Soul” — who died at the age of 76 of pancreatic cancer — had no Will designating who will benefit from her estate. In her home state of Michigan, if an unmarried person with children dies intestate, each surviving child receives an equal amount of the decedent’s assets. In this case, Ms. Franklin’s four sons filed documents in court listing themselves as interested parties and acknowledged the absence of a Will, while their cousin requested to be the personal representative of Ms. Franklin’s estate.
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A revocable living trust establishes a relationship between:
- The creator of the trust
- The trustee who manages the property within the trust and distributes proceeds to beneficiaries
- The beneficiaries who receive the property in the trust when the term of the trust expires
A revocable living trust allows assets within the trust as well as income generated by those assets to be managed and distributed by the trustee. The trust income and property are then distributed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the trust. This type of trust is referred to as a living trust because it is established during the lifetime of the creator. With a revocable trust, the grantor may revoke the trust at any point by moving the assets into his or her name without the consent of any other party. Continue reading “Revoking a Trust”
A revocable living trust allows assets within the trust as well as income generated by those assets to be managed and distributed by the trustee. The trust income and property are then distributed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the trust. This type of trust is referred to as a living trust because it is established during the life of the creator.
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A Last Will and Testament is an important estate planning document that contains provisions for assets and the distribution of property upon death. Unfortunately, many individuals fail to account for assets that do not pass directly under a Will. These assets may include life insurance policies, pensions, IRAs, and 401(k) or 403 plans. After the policyholder of these assets dies, the policies may distribute the benefits to their heirs at law if there is no beneficiary designation and no Last Will and Testament.
Continue reading “Keeping Your Will Updated and Naming Beneficiaries on Assets”
As of April 1, 2017, the New York State estate tax exclusion increased to $5,250,000 from the $4,187,500 exclusion amount in effect since April 1, 2016. As of January 1, 2017, the federal estate tax exclusion is $5,490,000. The New York State exclusion amount will remain in effect until December 31, 2018 and, as of January 1, 2019, this amount will be indexed for annual inflation.
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When a parent dies without a Will and leaves behind money (example $10,000) in a sole checking account, a proceeding would be governed by the small estate process. Not all estates require a full probate or an administration proceeding. If the deceased passed away after January 1, 2009 and has $30,000 or less in personal property, they are entitled to a voluntary administration proceeding, which is a simplified Surrogate’s Court procedure.
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A power of attorney is an important estate planning document and can be an essential tool in ensuring that an individual’s wishes are carried out should he or she become mentally or physically incapacitated. A power of attorney is a standardized legal document that allows an individual, known as the principal, to designate a representative, known as the agent, to make financial decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated or unable to act on their own behalf. A power of attorney specifies how much power an agent will have and can be created with limited powers, broad powers and can become effective upon the occurring of an event. Many individuals assume that regardless of whether it is limited or broad that the document will contain the same language and provisions. However, more often than not, this presumption is incorrect and may lead to issues in the future.
Continue reading “Why Establishing a Durable Power of Attorney is Important”
Perhaps the most surprising fact reported following the death of musician Prince Rogers Nelson was that the celebrity died without a Last Will and Testament. As mentioned in a previous blog article, Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson filed an Emergency Petition in a Minnesota court seeking the appointment of a Special Administrator. The circumstances surrounding the celebrity’s death is not uncommon, as 55 percent of Americans do not have a will or an estate plan in place, according to LexisNexis.
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