How Can DNA Testing Affect Estate Disputes?

It may sound like something from a television show like CSI, but DNA test results can be helpful tools in an estate dispute. As DNA testing has become more available and affordable, its use in litigation has become increasingly common. Because each person has a unique DNA code made up of genetic data from his or her parents, a DNA test can be used to establish paternity and other types of familial relationships. You may be familiar with DNA testing in custody disputes, but it also can be usef...
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How to Avoid Estate Disputes in Blended Families

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Blended families come with unique joys and challenges. When it comes to an estate, the chance of a dispute can be higher as there tends to be more jealousy and sibling rivalry at play. When a parent dies, or both parents die, these disputes can surface as each side tries to fight for what they feel is rightfully theirs. Here’s how you can lessen the chance of a dispute: The first step in avoiding an estate dispute is to have a will in place. Without a valid will, the state will decide where y...
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How Do I Ensure My Estate Plan Is Executed Properly?

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You have worked hard for your wealth, and it’s essential that you have a plan for how to leave your assets to your loved ones so that the state does not decide for you. But, how can you make sure that the plan will be executed according to your wishes after your death? So that challenges do not occur, it is best to consult with estate planning attorney who can make sure that everything in the plan will be legally sound. While an attorney will make sure that your will or trust documents are...
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What Can I Do if the Estate’s Executor Is Not Administering the Estate Properly?

After someone dies, the property they leave behind becomes an asset of their estate. It can be any type of asset, including land, homes, jewelry or money. A will determines how those assets are distributed. To administer the estate, an executor is appointed by the court, usually designated by the decedent in the will. The executor is then charged with making sure the deceased's wishes are carried out by distributing the property and paying applicable taxes and bills. Anyone who is the executo...
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Avoiding Family Chaos: Why Your Adult Children Need Wills, Too

When a family member dies suddenly, it creates chaos in nearly every family. More often than not, disputes over property and money only intensify the grief everyone is already suffering. As older adults, it’s likely that we’ve taken steps to minimize that risk, such as maintaining an up-to-date will and setting up a family trust. However, have your adult children done the same? For younger adults, the time for needing a will can feel like a hundred years away, but for older adults, we’re ...
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Facing Your Financial Fears: Will & Estate Support for Women Over 50

If something were to happen to your spouse, do you know what assets and liabilities you have? For many women in the Baby Boomer Generation, the terrifying yet all too common answer is “no.” Oftentimes, couples write the first version of their will when they are starting a family and then revise it a decade or two later as the children grow. However, it’s common for husbands to take the lead in these revisions. Despite the good intentions, this scenario leaves many wives with a minimal underst...
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Leaving Assets to Underage Beneficiaries

Every parent wants to make sure their children will be taken care of if the unthinkable were to happen, and many grandparents or other family members often want their wills to include bequests to the younger generations in the family. However, there are special issues to consider when leaving assets to minors. Good intentions with poor planning rarely end with the desired results. Assets for Minor Children When planning for your children’s future, it’s important to consider what would happ...
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Disinheriting a Child From Your Estate

While Hollywood has glamorized disinheriting a child or grandchild, the decision to exclude someone from your will is quite complicated and emotional. There are four common reasons for removing an heir from your will: A pattern of behavior indicates the inheritance will be misused and/or cause added risk to the beneficiary’s life (for example, providing money for someone with significant drug or alcohol addiction). A split occurred and there is no longer a positive relationship, nor ...
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4 Signs That Your Family May Fight Over Your Estate

The loss of a loved one is often one of the most trying times you will experience in your life. From making funeral arrangements and navigating through the stages of grief to managing and settling the estate, it is easy for disputes to arise between family members. Fortunately, a majority of the disputes can be resolved amicably. To do so, it is essential to identify strategies to keep the peace in your family without the added worry of conflict among your heirs. Here are some warning signs t...
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How to Protect Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

As our society ages, there is naturally a rising concern over the physical, emotional, and financial security of our family members. With changes in technology, we are now conducting more business and financial management digitally. As a result, you should consider how you would protect your digital assets in your estate plan. Who will have access? How and where will you store your online passwords? These are vital questions to address as part of your estate plan. Before providing a loved one...
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