You have completed and executed your plan for your special needs child. Everyone you’ve selected to serve—your guardian, your trustee, your health care proxy, your executor, and possibly a trust protector as well—has signed the paperwork. All set? For now, yes. But it’s a good idea to review these selections on a regular basis, because…

If you are in the process of setting up a special needs trust, you must appoint a trustee. This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make about the trust.  The trustee must have the necessary expertise to manage the trust, including making proper investments, paying bills, keeping accounts, and preparing tax returns.  Moreover, the…

One important reason to have a will is to be able to name your executor (also called a personal representative). An executor is the person responsible for managing the administration of your estate after you die. If you don’t choose an executor, the court will choose one for you. The first decision is whether to…

Beezer the cat can be a member of the family, but what happens to Beezer or [insert your pet’s name] after you are gone? How can you ensure your pet will be cared for? One option is to create a pet trust. While you can give directions in your will to leave your pet to…

The knowledge that we will eventually die is one of the things that seems to distinguish humans from other living beings. At the same time, no one likes to dwell on the prospect of his or her own death. But if you postpone planning for your demise until it is too late, you run the…

What will happen to your estate if your primary beneficiary does not survive you? If your will does not name an alternate beneficiary, your estate will be divided according to state law. The way the state divides your estate may not agree with your wishes. Your money may go to someone you don’t like or…

A power of attorney is a very important estate planning tool, but in fact there are several different kinds of powers of attorney that can be used for different purposes. Before executing this crucial document, it is important to understand what your options are. A power of attorney allows a person you appoint — your…

Emotions can run high at the death of a family member. If a family member is unhappy with the amount they received (or didn’t receive) under a will, he or she may contest the will. Will contests can drag out for years, keeping all the heirs from getting what they are entitled to. It may…

Sometimes homes and portfolios lose value or income and investments increase significantly. If this is the case for you, do you need to change your will? If your finances have changed markedly since you wrote your will, it is estate planning good practice to check your estate plan to see if you need to make…

You had a loving relationship with your mother and she always said she would leave everything to you and your siblings, but after she died, you discover she had recently written a new will, leaving everything to her housekeeper. Is there anything you can do? If you believe a loved one’s will is not valid,…

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