Fiduciaries Must Account, or Else…

When someone serves as an executor, trustee, guardian or agent under a Power of Attorney, they are known as a fiduciary.  By law, all fiduciaries must account for their actions.  Over the years, this duty has often been ignored.  However, there is an increasing trend in litigation to sue fiduciaries for alleged financial abuse.  Many […]

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Estate Planning for Your Business: The Buy/Sell Agreement

A Buy/Sell Agreement is the legal cornerstone for the successful transition of a closely held business.  A formal Buy/Sell Agreement creates a market for each owner’s interest in a business in the event of his death, disability or retirement.  In the absence of such an agreement the deceased business owner’s heirs may become unwelcome or […]

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How Much Does it Pay to Be Executor?

A commonly asked question in both estate planning and estate administration is “How much does the executor get paid?”  In order to evaluate that question, three issues need to be addressed: (1) the statutory allowance for compensation, (2) the options in drafting compensation clauses in a Will, and (3) the effect of case law of […]

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The ABCs of Life Insurance and Divorce

The ABCs of Life Insurance and Divorce

The effects of divorce upon the right to life insurance are often greatly misunderstood,  and many individuals don’t realize the impact that divorce has upon this asset. As such, upon death, many policies are paid in a manner which is unintended. Divorce Supersedes Beneficiary Designations When individuals obtain life insurance, the insurer requires that they […]

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Benefits of Marriage

Benefits of Marriage

Millions of Reasons to Say “I Do” Lillian Garis Booth and Michael Dabich, residents of Bergen County, were companions for 51 years.  They met in New York when Booth was 42 and Dabich was 27.  According to Dabich, they held themselves out as husband and wife before his family and society in general in his […]

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How About the “Will App” for iPhone?

How About the “Will App” for iPhone?

On September 2, 2011, Karter Wu, a resident of Queensland, Australia, committed suicide.   Just before he took his life, he created a series of documents on his iPhone.  Most of these were final farewells.  However, among them was his expression of his Last Will. The document began with the words, “This is the Last Will […]

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Trusting Your Estate Plan to Software?

Trusting Your Estate Plan to Software?

Over the past ten years, many individuals have looked for alternative means by which to plan their estate.  Allegedly seeking to forego the expense of an attorney, many people try to use “fill in the blank” documents from stationary stores and will kits.  As the usage of computers, and the internet in particular, has increased, […]

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Beware: Estate Planning Scams Are Knocking at Your Door

Beware: Estate Planning Scams Are Knocking at Your Door

Over the years, people have been increasingly concerned about the cost of legal services.  Without question, there are a number of lawyers and law firms who have abused the public’s trust by overcharging for wills and other estate planning services.  This abuse of trust, coupled with an uncertain economy, has compelled people to hope to […]

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IRS Provides Portability Relief

IRS Provides Portability Relief

Since the federal estate tax was resurrected on January 1, 2011, the IRS has allowed for the concept of portability as a valuable post-mortem planning tool for married couples.  When an individual dies, his or her estate is exempt from this tax for an amount known as the “applicable exclusion amount.”  This amount is in […]

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Protecting Your Assets and Preserving Your Wishes

Protecting Your Assets and Preserving Your Wishes

Mike and Carol are a couple who both have children from a prior marriage.  Mike has three sons – Greg, Peter and Bobby.  Carol has three daughters – Marcia, Jan and Cindy.  After several years of marriage, they decide to execute Wills.  Wanting to keep it “simple,” Mike leaves everything to Carol, with the understanding […]

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