Sentimental assets and your will or trust: when can someone challenge your wishes?

Many people believe that a simple statement in their will or trust such as, “tangible personal property should be divided as my heirs see fit” is enough to ensure their assets are properly or equitably dispersed after they pass. However, vague statements such as this can often lead to a host of potential conflicts.

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Tug of war, two businessman pulling a rope in opposite directions

Estate planning is a necessity for unmarried couples

Estate Planning is a necessity for unmarried couples

If you have a partner but aren’t married and want some or all of your belongings to go to them, it’s important that you have an estate plan. California laws do provide for your spouse should you pass away without a will or a trust. This is not the case if you’re not married. There are other considerations as well. For example, should you become incapacitated, you may want this person to make health-related decisions for you, pay your bills or make your financial decisions. The way to do this is to sign a DPA (Durable Power of Attorney) before anything happens to you. This will allow your partner to make decisions for you, should the need arise. You can specify which responsibilities and types of decisions you do and do not want wish for your partner to take on. Regarding your belongings: if you own a home or have savings, your best bet may be to establish a trust. If not, a simple will may suffice. In any case, we do provide a free consultation. Please call our office at (310) 823-3943 to schedule a time for us to meet.

If you suspect a Will has been tampered with

The question of will forgery or undue influence of a Testator is not a common question, but one that does come up periodically in any Estate Planner’s office. The movies have given people certain expectations when it comes to a death in the family and probating a will: a book-lined office, the entire family assembled for a formal reading of the will, shocked and angry reactions as a loved one’s fortune goes to an unknown and unlikely character…

This Hollywood portrayal may be generally off base, but the basic premise is based on the very real feelings that come with the death of a loved one: helplessness, confusion, familial bonds, and sometimes even betrayal.

A Will doesn’t have to be forged for there to be strong feelings of anger or suspicion when the contents end up being different than the family was led to expect. And while forged or secret Wills may not be as common as the movies would have us believe, they aren’t completely unheard of either.

So what should you do if you suspect that the Will of a loved one has been forged or tampered with?

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Who Owns Credit Card Debt After the Death of a Parent?

Administering the Estate of a deceased loved one can be complicated and emotional under the best of circumstances, but Executors who take on this overwhelming task may find themselves facing more than just the demands of relatives and heirs.

They may also find themselves facing the illegitimate demands of creditors. This article on The New Old Age New York Times Blog — Credit Card Debt That Outlives Mom — warns readers to “Be wary of collection agencies that try to convince you that you are responsible for payment on a card owned solely by a deceased parent.”

After the death of a parent, children and heirs often receive calls from debt collectors looking for someone — anyone! — to pay off the debts of the deceased, even if the heirs have no obligation to do so.

In most situations relatives are not required to pay the debts of the deceased from their own assets.

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