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April 2012 Archives

Does an Adulterous, Bigamous, Murderous Spouse Get Your Estate?

So you have a cheating, adulterous, or bigamous spouse and you are about pass away. You must be wondering: will my loving spouse get my stuff? And if so, how much? This is where Findlaw's LawBrain comes in, to tell you exactly what will happen in terms of forfeiture of rights so that you may mentally prepare yourself.

Let's start with adultery (because it starts with the Scarlet Letter "A").

Use Roth IRA to Avoid Probate

In a legal system that offers plenty of ways for people to leave money to their heirs and family while avoiding probate, one lesser known method is of using a Roth IRA to avoid probate, report the researchers at FindLaw.

To be clear, according to Moneycrashers, "a Roth IRA provides tax free growth of your money in lieu of getting a tax deduction." It is available to people that make less than $105,000 and allows a maximum yearly contribution of $5000 (and $10,000 for married people). The contributions can be withdrawn at any time and are not tax deductible.

Texas Transgender Widow in Estate Fight

The Texas transgendered widow’s estate fight for her late husband's worker's compensation is heating up, reports Victoria Advocate.

Nikki Araguz, who was born Justin Graham Purdue, was married to Thomas Araguz III, reports Houston Chronicle. But Thomas Araguz passed away while fighting a fire. When Nikki Araguz was trying to apply for her late husband’s benefits, a Texas court ruled that she couldn’t, because she was born a man and her marriage to Thomas Araguz constituted a same-sex marriage, which is not recognized under Texas law.

Are You Wondering 'How Should I Choose a Trustee?'

Are you at that point in your estate planning where you've met with your lawyer, thought about an estate plan, sorted through all the tax issues that your estate might face, made sure that your loved ones will be provided for, and left clear instructions related to funeral? If so, you are in that position where you are ready to start thinking about whether you should also construct a trust.

If you are considering a trust, then this question will lead you to wonder "How should I choose a trustee?"

Then, the next issue, before you consider who you should give this authority to, is the answer to the question: what does a trustee do?

Joe Paterno's Estate Paid Three Million by Penn State

Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach who died recently under a cloud cast by Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse allegations, left behind a pretty big estate which has been the topic of conversation on this blog previously.

Joe Paterno’s estate is bigger now and back in the news as Penn State just paid three million to it to cover various obligations, reports The Associated Press.

Seniors Signing Trusts Should Not Trust Some Trustees

New Yorkers will no doubt have heard about the what you could call the worst son in the world who apparently attempted to evict his 98-year-old mother, Mary Kantorowski, from the home she had fought tooth and nail for, as reported by Connecticut Post. No doubt even the otherwise jaded New Yorkers shook their heads and groaned.

However, what many New Yorkers might not have picked up on in the Mary Kantorowski's worst son in the world story is that she ended up in this position due to bad estate planning and to a senior signing a trust that may be she should not have, reports The Times Record-Herald of Middletown, New York.

Probate Process Oops: Allegation of Will Forgery Against AL Lawyer

Maybe it's that time of the year for estate planning attorney malfeasance. After previously discussing a California attorney that married her elderly client, it is now time to turn our attention to an Alabama estate planning attorney that is facing some unsavory allegations.

The Alabama lawyer is Richard Horne, who is facing allegations of "will fakery" -- also known as will forgery. And the reason Horne is giving to explain the situation is alleged memory loss, reports the Mobile Press-Register.

Estate Planning to Dispose of Digital Property After Death

Today’s NYC estate planning lawyers probably deal with some of the world’s most tech-savvy clients. But many of these clients may not be thinking about certain issues as they age.

One of these issues is how to dispose of your digital property after death, reports The Columbus Dispatch.

Estate Planning Attorney Disbarment for Marrying Elderly Client?

Do estate planning attorneys make mistakes and/or engage in egregious violations of legal ethics? Since no attorney is a saint (though some can argue they are), the answer is that, yes, attorneys do sometimes engage in bad conduct.

This is the story of Linda Nell Lowney, an estate planning attorney facing disbarment who was 54 in 2005, and married a man thirty years older, Thor Tollefsen, under a confidential marriage license and presumably for his money, reports the ABA Journal.

Why Do People Set Up Charitable Trusts?

Many wealthy people often set up charities and foundations in their own names or the names of someone they love.

Why do they do this? Well, the short answer is, because they want to benefit the community. But there is a secondary benefit they derive as well, and that is in the form of tax benefits.

So how do these charities, often organized in the form of a charitable trust, actually work?

You Don't Clean Your Ears With a Q-Tip Trust in New York

One of the most basic tax-planning devices is the unlimited marital deduction. It allows one spouse to pass his or her entire estate, regardless of size, to the other — and not pay federal estate taxes. No matter how large the estate, no taxes are due where it is passed to the spouse.

Married people planning their estate often create marital trusts, which are used to allow the surviving spouse to take advantage of the unlimited marital deductions of estate tax, while allowing him or her to have control over the property.

There is one type of marital trust that is of particular interest. It is called a Q-TIP trust, which stands for qualified terminable interest property.

The Four Ways Property Is Transferred At Death

As you hang out with family over spring break, or in the upcoming summer holidays, maybe questions about your inheritance or even transferring property after death will come up (sometimes, families are morbid like that).

To that end, you can get ahead of your relatives by learning a little bit about the four ways by which property is transferred at death, courtesy of the researchers at FindLaw.

They are presented here with a little explanation:

Will You Have to Pay Your Parents' Debt After They Die?

This generation of Americans that has faced the great recession and the huge amounts of student loan debt promises to be quite debt conscious. As such, many younger people might be wondering: will I have to pay my parents’ debt after they die?

And, of course, the question becomes even more important because as some Americans age, they sometimes lose the interest in or ability to pay back their debts, be it car loans, mortgages, or credit card bills.

So what is the answer? Let’s ask the researchers at FindLaw.