A recent decision issued by the Supreme Court of Alabama highlights the importance, for both creators and beneficiaries of trusts, of understanding whether a trust is Revocable or Irrevocable, and the consequences that flow from that distinction.
Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
Any trust has three players: a Settlor, a Trustee, and a Beneficiary. » Read More
The much-discussed case of Britney Spears’ conservatorship (which would be referred to as a guardianship in New Jersey) highlights the importance of an underappreciated aspect of guardianship law: the guardianship should be only as restrictive and endure for only if is necessary to serve the best interests of the ward. » Read More
A recent ruling serves as a good reminder of the importance of assessing all aspects of a claim before taking the decisive action of filing a complaint. Particularly, when evaluating a potential claim against a corporate fiduciary, which often has more resources than most beneficiaries (whose legal fees may or may not be paid from the estate or trust), a beneficiary considering litigation must identify a legal cause of action; determine the evidence available to support each cause of action; plan how to obtain additional evidence that is required but may not be readily available; and, as the ruling emphasizes, understand the effect of any exculpatory language in the will or trust. » Read More
Most clients understand that the executor of an estate or trustee of a trust has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the estate or trust. This means, in general, that the executor or trustee is accountable to the beneficiaries to act only as directed by the Will or Trust, and the executor or trustee cannot seek to benefit himself at the expense of the beneficiaries. » Read More
A recent court decision stating that children do not have the legal standing to sue on behalf of their parents, simply by being their child and closest family member, reiterates the need for older parents and their adult children to engage in basic planning for the possibility of the parent experiencing a loss of capacity, or even diminished capacity, which could leave the parent vulnerable to exploitation. » Read More
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our daily lives. Social distancing measures advanced by the CDC (i.e., maintaining six feet of distance, no group gatherings, wearing masks outside, setting aside documents traveling in the mail for 2-3 days to allow the virus to die on surfaces) are designed to slow the spread of the virus by flattening the curve and keep us safe. » Read More
We have all heard the expression about the “poor man’s will” being created by adding children or spouses as joint owners of one’s assets, including bank accounts.
The rationale is that this avoids the judicial probate process by having all of one’s assets pass outside of probate, according to the joint designation. » Read More
Let’s face it, forcing yourself to contemplate your own demise and make a Will is, to most of us, unsettling at best. Add to that the need to plan your own funeral and it’s enough for many people to avoid all of it entirely. » Read More
We all know how important it is to have a will. Yet, we see one celebrity after another, with substantial estates and who could pay to receive the best advice, die without one. Until recently, the law viewed the issue as an “either/or” – either you had a validly executed will when you died, or you did not, in which case your assets passed by the laws of intestacy, which were intended to reflect traditional expectations of how a person would want his assets to pass (first to his spouse, then to his children, etc.). » Read More