When someone asks if you would be the executor of one's estate when he or she is gone, it's a tremendous honor. It means the person trusts you implicitly and is willing to hand off a great deal of one's life to you, knowing you will safeguard his or her wishes and heirs. It's tempting to say yes just because it seems rude to forgo that honor, but when you say yes if you can't really follow through, you do yourself and your family member or friend a disservice. Here are some things to consider before saying yes.
In most cases, you aren't personally liable for debt that someone leaves behind when he or she passes away, but that doesn't mean you don't ultimately feel the burden of that debt. Typically, the law expects debt to be settled out of any assets associated with a person's estate, which means heirs stand to inherit less if debt is present.
Becoming the administrator of an estate can be daunting. Whether you're dealing with a small family estate or a large estate that involves corporate or creative resources, you probably have a long list of things to get done and not that much experience handling such matters. Working with an estate law professional can help you answer the experience and knowledge issue, and setting strong goals can help you get through your estate administration list this year.
We've previously discussed the Prince estate case several times. While most of our readers won't deal with the exact same estate matters that the mega pop star's estate does, the case is a great illustrator of the need to plan for passing on your assets and the complex nature of some probate cases.
Payable-on-death accounts are monetary accounts that have a beneficiary designation. That means you state on the paperwork associated with the account that the funds pass to a certain person or other people upon your death. The benefit of such an account is that the funds usually automatically transfer without becoming part of the estate or probate. The bad news is that, if you aren't careful, you can cause unnecessary confusion with such accounts.
We cover a lot of information on our blog about how you can help your heirs through careful estate planning. We also touch on what you can do for yourself through estate planning to create better quality of life -- or peace of mind -- in your later years. One of the areas where our firm provides assistance with this is by helping clients with Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits that have previously been denied.
Administering an estate comes with a bevy of responsibilities, and if you have agreed to act as an executor of someone's estate, you might be learning all kinds of details you never knew were applicable to estate law. Because there are so many details, it's advisable to work with a law professional when administering an estate.
Over the past few weeks, we've talked extensively about how individuals might inherit various assets and the importance of managing estates to ensure all assets -- even intellectual property rights -- are accounted for and passed on to heirs. But what happens if you inherit something of value while you are in the bankruptcy process? The required actions depend on the value of the items you are inheriting, how you inherit them, and where in the bankruptcy process you are.
If you have created, discovered or built anything in your life, you might own the intellectual property rights associated with that things. Often, we think of these rights as belonging to artists or writers, but intellectual property rights are more expansive than that. Your business brand and logo, scientific discovers and inventions and even the diary you've kept faithfully for decades might all have some type of value associated with them. Whether the value is monetary or emotional, you might want to include these items in your estate planning.
Often, people who don't have spouses or children don't see the need to have an estate plan. However, for many reasons, it can be even more crucial for single people to have a plan in place than for those who are married (although it's important for everyone).