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Your questions answered: What is Probate?

Probate is the court-supervised process of finalizing a person’s affairs and distributing his or her property after death. This becomes necessary if someone dies without a Will or any other estate planning provisions in place. A special probate court handles all aspects of administering an estate in the absence of other legal planning.

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When a Will is not enough

Using only your Will to leave benefits to a child with special needs may actually work against their future financial security. Gifts and funds that are Willed directly to an individual can in reality become an asset for the state. Since such funds are considered to be income, they may cause your loved one to lose government benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security. This reality has led some parents …

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If your loved one is in a nursing home, that home is going to be their residence for an indefinite amount of time. It is very important to know that they are truly getting the best care available. Since your loved one will be dependant on the care provided by the nursing home facility, they are put in a vulnerable position. It is important to find out if this facility …

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Caring for a loved one is a situation that many people find themselves in, and the caregiver’s status as a guardian should be made official by the law. Often times, individuals begin taking care of a relative or loved one without thinking about the need for official legal documentation. If you are managing the health and financial decisions of loved one, becoming their legal guardian will simplify many common tasks.

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The Pain of Estate Litigation

The stress and emotion involved in losing a family member can only be explained by those experiencing the loss. Truly, this is the worse time in a person’s life to have to get involved with litigation. Whether someone feels that their rights have been denied by the will and probate court, or when a will is being contested, a lawyer with experience and compassion is an absolute necessity. Nobody wants …

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Second marriages are becoming a more common piece of the American experience. The remarried face unique and specific challenges in tailoring their life insurance policies to their individual situation

Deciding on a beneficiary can be a complicated process for the remarried. It’s rarely a simple decision, especially when children from a previous marriage are involved. In that case, it can be difficult to strike a balance between taking care of the current spouse and the previous spouse’s children.

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When a spouse becomes ill, the well spouse is suddenly faced not only with the emotional toll, but the burden of handling all the financial responsibilities and long-term planning on his or her own. If the ill spouse always handled the financial matters, even paying bills can be overwhelming.

Based on the experiences of many of our clients, it has traditionally been the primary breadwinner who managed family finances. But regardless of who kept the family books, often the other spouse is in the dark on the family’s financial matters and record keeping. Additionally, the well spouse may not know what long-term planning considerations have been made for her or what is even available.

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You Have the Power

Estate planning is a complex task, requiring the advice of a qualified estate attorney. What is the wisest course of action in your situation?

You can hardly read a paper currently without coming across an article about the Brooke Astor case. Sadly, this case highlights what can go wrong when someone abuses the trust inherent in a power of attorney agreement. Although signing a power of attorney is critical to any comprehensive estate plan, it’s wise to put safeguards in place to reduce the risk of financial abuse.

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