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Estate Administration & Probate Archives

Can you avoid estate battles among family members?

When a loved one dies, family members don't always act rationally. This is especially true when the will is read and one or more members feel as though they did not receive what they perceived as their fair share of the estate or were passed over entirely.

What are powers of appointment?

In 1951, the Powers of Appointment Act was established. This was one of the greatest developments in the tax and estate planning sector. A power of appointment in broad terms means that a person has the power to dispose of a property, and they hold that power even if they do not own the property in question. This could be a "reserved" power or a "donated" power.

Important points for retirement and estate planning

The mantra of investment commercials focuses on preparing baby boomers who are close to retirement age with the wisdom and knowledge to retire with enough income to enjoy the good life. Indeed, limiting risk is just as important to retirement planning as it is to estate planning. Because of this, there are several things that soon-to-be retirees should keep in mind as you plan for the next stage of your life.

Proper estate planning can prevent familial squabbles

Some may be surprised to learn that family members battling over estates don't always fight over large sums of money, property or expensive items. Often the most pitched battles deal instead with family heirlooms that have minimal value to anyone not emotionally tied to the decedent's possessions.

Is probate of an estate always necessary?

Survivors and heirs are often gratified to learn that they don't have to submit to a lengthy probate process in order to take possession of the few assets that are in very small estates of their loved ones. For instance, a voluntary administration can be initiated even when the decedent died intestate, as long as the following conditions are met:

It matters a great deal who is chosen to administer your estate

When it comes to choosing the executor for your will, it's important to realize that not everyone in your life will be temperamentally fit for the responsibility. While many — if not most — estates can be satisfactorily handled by laypersons with no formal legal training, there are some qualities estate administrators should possess, including:

How are charitable donations here in the U.S. changing?

The Chronicle of Philanthropy, an independent news organization dedicated to covering all things charitable, recently released its annual report outlining the state of charitable giving here in the U.S. and ranking the nation's top 400 charities in terms of total private contributions.

What happens when you die without a will in Massachusetts? - III

While our blog always makes a point to highlight the importance of estate planning, we took a slightly different approach this past summer by exploring how Massachusetts' intestate distribution scheme works. Specifically, the intention was to demonstrate how inaction in this area could result in hard-earned assets being divided among family members you perhaps wouldn't have chosen -- or even the Commonwealth.

Is it possible to refuse an inheritance? - II

In our last post, our blog spent some time discussing how those individuals who learn that they will be receiving some sort of inheritance from a deceased family member or friend may ultimately find themselves feeling flattered that their loved one left them a gift, but also wondering if they really want it.

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