Last week, our blog started exploring how the intestate distribution scheme works here in Massachusetts in an attempt to encourage otherwise reluctant estate planners. Specifically, we theorized how learning more about how hard-earned assets could possibly be divided among undeserving family members -- or perhaps even the state -- might be the catalyst that propels people to finally take the necessary action.
A last will is much more than simply a legal document that directs affected parties about what to do with your property when you pass away. It is also a declaration of your legacy and speaks volumes about your values and priorities to your heirs and beneficiaries. When setting out to write your last will, one of the most important steps in the process is choosing a qualified, competent executor.
As we've made clear in previous posts, those who find themselves hesitant to undertake even the most basic estate planning, such as the execution of a simple will, should be aware that their property will not necessarily be distributed in accordance with their exact wishes.
A couple of months ago, we wrote a post about an estate that was challenged due to some irregularities with the will. Along with that post, we have talked extensively in the weeks since about wills and how they impact your estate, let alone the possible legal ramifications of a will should your heirs or beneficiaries challenge it. Which leads us to our question for today: on what grounds can someone challenge a will?
Ask any financial or legal professional to list the primary goals of estate planning and chances are very good that they'll put avoiding probate near the very top. This is largely because the probate process can prove to be highly time-consuming, very public and altogether costly.
For the vast majority of people, the principal motivation for putting in long hours, fighting for promotions and keeping an eye out for new employment opportunities is providing for their family. Indeed, many of these hard-working individuals are savvy enough to recognize that they can continue to do this long after they've passed via estate planning.
In a series of posts, we've spent some time discussing how those who find themselves wanting to donate a sizeable sum to a preferred charitable organization while retaining some fiscal benefit and realizing some tax benefits may want to consider the creation of a charitable remainder trust.