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June 05, 2012
Trustor is the name given to individuals that establish trusts. Trusts are used to safeguard property and establish beneficiaries to receive assets upon the Trustor's death. A Trustee is designated to manage the trust. In most cases, this is the person that sets up the trust, but there are times when another person is in charge.
The term, Trustor is used with all kinds of trusts including living, land, testamentary, and irrevocable life insurance trusts. Trusts are commonly used with estate planning to avoid probate and reduce estate taxes.
Probate is always needed when estate assets are not transferred to a trust or protected by other estate planning strategies. The process is usually quite slow; especially in heavily populated areas where courts are overburdened.
December 07, 2011
Winning the national lottery is a fantasy for most people. Americans spend billions of dollars in hopes of matching lucky numbers or revealing winnings on scratch off tickets. They dream of all the things they will buy and investments they will make.
Americans often refer to the national lottery when speaking of games like Mega Millions and Powerball. Lottery winnings are amassed from people purchasing lottery tickets across the nation. Individual states also have their own lottery system with region-specific games.
With national games, lottery winnings can amount to several hundred million. The highest lottery jackpot recorded occurred in January 2011 and amounted to a whopping $380 million paid out through Mega Millions. The highest Powerball winning to be recorded amounted to $340 million.
November 15, 2011
A limited power of attorney is a legal form utilized to appoint an attorney-in-fact to engage in a specific transaction for a specific period of time. The attorney-in-fact is not authorized to perform any acts other than what is stated in the POA form.
A common use of limited power of attorney is to allow another person to engage in financial transactions. Examples could be letting a person manage checking and savings accounts by making deposits, transferring funds, or paying bills. Another use would be to authorize your agent to sell a car or piece of real estate.
Limited POA should not be confused with other types of forms such as durable power of attorney or general power of attorney. These kinds of POA forms grant broad powers that allow agents to conduct many kinds of transactions and have access to sensitive financial and healthcare information.
November 07, 2011
General power of attorney references a legal document that allows one person to engage in a myriad of personal and business financial transactions. It provides broad sweeping powers that essentially allow the agent to conduct nearly any type of activity for an extended period of time.
The person writing the general power of attorney is known as the Principal. They can only authorize their agent to engage in transactions related to property they personally own or to make decisions on their behalf.
Agents are referred to as the attorney-in-fact. This doesn't mean the person has to be a lawyer. Instead, it refers to the authorization they have to engage in transactions that have legal ramifications. For example, agents could apply for financing to buy a house in the Principal's name.
November 01, 2011
A power of attorney form is used for all kinds of transactions that require one person to authorize another person to act as their agent. These forms are an essential component of estate planning, business operations, personal finance, and healthcare matters.
The kind of power of attorney form needed depends on what duties the agent is responsible for performing. For example, a limited power of attorney is used to provide agent privileges to do a specific task during a specific timeframe, while a durable power of attorney grants sweeping rights.
Two parties are involved with each type of POA. Principal refers to the person writing the document and Attorney-in-Fact refers to the person responsible for carrying out tasks. The attorney-in-fact doesn't have to be a lawyer. In fact, they are usually a spouse, relative, business partner, financial advisor, physician, or friend.
October 25, 2011
A medical power of attorney form is required when someone wants to let another person make decisions about their healthcare should they become incompetent. The person charged with this responsibility is designated in the POA form as the attorney-in-fact, but this does not mean they have to be a lawyer.
It's smart to establish medical power of attorney regardless of current health status. Unfortunately, no one knows when an expected illness or tragedy will strike and leave them unable to communicate.
It's also smart to execute this document prior to surgery or other types of invasive medical procedures. This type of power of attorney lets a person provide written directives regarding medical treatments, procedures, and services that they do not want to have.
October 19, 2011
A probate form is required when engaging in proceedings that take place in probate court. These include estate settlement, name changes, adoption, conservatorship, guardianship, recording or making changes to trusts, and litigation associated with probate estates.
The probate form is necessary to obtain a case number for probated estates or to record legal changes through the court. Records retained through probate court are a matter of public record and can be viewed by anyone that wants to see them. The exception to this rule is matters related to trusts
Trusts are used to safeguard estate assets and avoid probate. Within the U.S. every person's estate has to pass through probate upon death. This method is necessary to transfer property to designated beneficiaries and heirs; notify government entities of the death; clear outstanding debts owed by decedents; and file final tax returns.
October 01, 2011
The probate office is where matters surrounding estate settlement, conservatorships, marriage licenses, name changes, and adoption occur. When a person passes away their estate agent files the last will and testament and death certificate through this office to obtain a case number.
Working with the probate office can be simplified by engaging in estate planning. In fact, with proper planning most estates can avoid probate altogether. It's recommended to consult with a probate lawyer or estate planner to ensure adequate protection of estate assets. However, it's helpful to conduct research to learn about the process and available options.
August 30, 2011
Have you ever inherited anything from a deceased relative? If so, you know it's a bittersweet experience. Inheritance gifts hold many sentiments. They can alter your life if consisting of large sums of money or valuable property such as real estate or jewels.
Inherited gifts can be a blessing or a curse. As a probate liquidator, I've watched many families engage in inheritance wars over a deceased relative's belongings. I've also seen the disappointment on people's faces when they discover everything their relative owned has to be sold to pay off outstanding debts or past due taxes.
August 22, 2011
If you haven't taken time to write a Will, what's holding you back? Do you think you don't need one or that it's too costly? Do you think you're too young or that you don't own anything of value so what's the point? The point is everyone aged 18 and up needs a Will if for no other reason than to provide directives to loved ones.
Taking time to write a Will is by far the best thing you can leave behind. Doing so speeds up the probate process and ensures property and cash is transferred to the people you want to have it.
There are many ways to write a last will and testament. Some people download templates from the Internet and fill in the blanks. Others purchase do it yourself Will kits or utilize online services such as LegalZoom. Most prefer working with an estate planning service or probate lawyer.