It’s the stuff of low-budget movies. The grieving widow, dressed in black with her face veiled, sits in the attorney’s oak-paneled conference room for the reading of the will. Mystery surrounds the proceedings. Who among the family members present will inherit the patriarch’s vast estate?
When a loved one has died, the shock and sorrow of their loss may quickly lead to another emotional jolt—the prospect of having to settle their estate. Being named personal representative (executor) under someone’s will is both an honor and a burden. The process usually takes several months. There will likely be financial accounts to marshal, real estate to deal with, bills and taxes to pay, and probate filings to prepare—all at an emotionally difficult time.
An estate plan is a set of papers that usually includes a will, durable power of attorney, and advance medical directive. These essential documents can help you manage financial and health-related matters if you ever become incapacitated, and they should provide for the efficient transfer of your assets upon your death.
Preparing an estate plan means having a say in what happens to your wealth after you are gone. Through a Last Will and Testament, you can name the important people in your life who will inherit your assets.
Since the adoption of “portability,” which allows a surviving spouse to apply a deceased spouse’s unused exclusion amount (DSUE) to the surviving spouse’s gift and estate transfers, the IRS has been flooded with requests to extend the portability filing deadline in estates where an estate tax return was not required, i.e. where the value of the gross estate, adjusted for taxable gifts, fell below the federal exclusion amount for the decedent’s year of death.
The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade has sent abortion-rights advocates reeling. In a 6–3 opinion, the Court ended a constitutional right that was the law of the land for nearly half a century. The ruling could put other constitutional rights in jeopardy as well. Many in the LGBTQ community are asking, “Is same-sex marriage next?”
Britney Spears, the “Princess of Pop,” has had a royal mess on her hands ever since her father become her legal “conservator.” According to Britney, her father has so overstepped his authority to manage her finances that his behavior has amounted to abuse. The ordeal has become the stuff of tabloid journalism. Fans and detractors alike have been left wondering how Britney's legal rights could have been taken from her so abruptly—and whether the same could happen to them.
A misconception has developed that arbitration is no quicker than litigation. However, arbitration can be an effective and efficient alternative to the time consuming and costly process of litigation. The following tips can shed some light on to why arbitration should be a consideration before litigation, and how to effectively use arbitration to a successful resolution of legal issues.