Even Lawyers Can Have Trouble Recognizing Undue Influence

OCTOBER 20, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 38 We often say that experienced lawyers can be pretty good at judging the competence of a client to make a will, sign a power of attorney or execute other documents. We (collectively) probably make better witnesses on those questions than even the doctors and medical staff attending to […]

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Advice for Trustees: When to Make a Requested Distribution

OCTOBER 13, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 37 Let’s imagine that you are the trustee of an irrevocable trust, and you are considering making a distribution from the trust. Perhaps the distribution has been requested by a beneficiary, or a family member. How do you make your decision? There is surprisingly little written direction for trustees. […]

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DIY Wills — Another Example Showing Why You Should Hire a Lawyer

OCTOBER 6, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 36 We occasionally relate stories about people who have prepared their own wills without the help of competent professional advisers (like, for a primary example, a qualified attorney). When we do, we intend to make several points: The cost of getting a lawyer to prepare your will (and trust, […]

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How Increased Estate Tax Exemptions Affect Existing Trusts

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 35 A lot has changed in American estate planning in the last decade (as you may have already heard). Estate tax thresholds have increased to (as of 2014) $5.34 million. On top of that figure, there is a relatively new concept of “portability” of the estate tax exemption, so […]

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Managing Your Digital Assets With an Eye on Mortality

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 34 For a while it was just an interesting academic problem: what would happen to your Facebook page, your Instagram photos, and your Pinterest collection if you died? And what about your e-mail account(s), your shopping login information and the passwords for all of those different online arrangements? It […]

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Arizona Guardianship and Mental Health Treatment

SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 33 A guardian (of the person) is often said to have all the powers over her ward that a parent would have regarding a minor child. In other words, if the court appoints you as guardian over your mother or father, you have (at least in a legal sense) […]

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Which is Better: Guardianship or Power of Attorney?

SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 32 Here’s a question we get asked a lot: “which is better for me to get for my mother — a guardianship or a power of attorney?” Sometimes the questioner is checking on the difference between a conservatorship and a power of attorney or (less commonly) a guardianship and […]

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What To Do About a Child Who Can’t Handle Money

SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 31 A reader asks: “could you do an article on how to leave inheritance to a son who is not good at handling money? Should I leave his portion to another son who is good at it? They are very close and would get along.” First we have a […]

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Avoiding Probate — A Good Idea, But Not Always Effective

AUGUST 25, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 30 Some people really don’t like city traffic, and will go out of their way to get on the freeway whenever possible. Of course, that approach can backfire — freeway traffic is sometimes snarled, and sometimes in unpredictable ways (and at unpredictable times). Avoidance of surface traffic can be […]

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Some More Things You Could Throw Away

AUGUST 11, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 29 Last week we wrote about how you could start reducing some of the paper clutter in your home. This week we continue that conversation, with some additional suggestions about what you can throw away — right now. We suggested last week that you only really need to keep […]

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