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Sharon Ravenscroft Estate Planning Blog

Welcome to my blog covering all things estate planning, family estate planning. business planning, wills, trusts & probate.

What if I don't have a Will?

Protecting Families with an Estate Plan.   Most people think of Wills and death when they think of estate planning. However, the distribution of ...
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What happens wh...

What happens when you don't have a Will? If you don't have a beneficiary on your assets, then they go to your heirs. Your heir is your spouse, unless you had kids from outside your marriage, the the kids get your community property interest and half your separate property. If you aren't married your heirs are your children; if no children, then
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Just a Simple Will?

I can appreciate the desire to have simple documents and a "simple will." Yet, we live in a complicated world, where we have bank accounts, investment accounts, IRAs, doctors, hospitals and then-- if we do not have the right estate planning documentation, we have courts. Therefore, a simple Will does not always meet our objectives. We still need
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Do No Contest C...

Do No Contest Clauses work? Not too well. Previously, if an omitted heir could establish that he had probable clause to challenge the no contest clause (such as because the writer of the Will was under mistake or undue influence) the court would allow a challenge to the Will and not enforce the no contest clause. In a recent case, In Re Estate of
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On this Tax Day, Remember your 401K

Your estate plan needs to include a will, powers of attorney, maybe even a trust, and it also needs to be done in conjunction with making sure your 401Ks and IRAs have properly designated beneficiaries. If you die without listing a designated beneficiary, then the funds are paid out in a lump to your estate and can be taxed at 35%. So if you are
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Beneficiary Deeds v. Will

Beneficiary deeds apply only to the real estate and the buildings on it. The household effects and tangible personal property cannot be designated by a beneficiary deed but only through a Will (or a Will with a Trust). You can avoid probate with a Beneficiary Deed on the property and a Will for your tangible personal property if such property has
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Probate does not keep your privacy

When a probate is filed, all of your legal heirs must be notified. Legal heirs are those who would receive your assets if you did not have a Will. Thus, even if you want your assets to go to friend or certain relatives, if probate is necessary, all legal heirs will receive notice of it. To keep matters private, you can avoid probate several ways
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