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McBrayer Blogs

Showing 13 posts tagged estate administration.

Preserving Assets in a Will Contest

There may come a time when one finds it necessary to contest a will, and there can be legitimate reasons for doing so. This course of action is likely to cause emotions to run high, and it could be likely that a beneficiary under the will at issue may, upon receipt of estate assets, choose to sell, gift, convert or otherwise dispose of those assets, even during the pendency of the will contest. It becomes paramount for the contesting party, then, to preserve those assets for the duration of the litigation, if only to ensure that the estate remains intact by the end of the action. The mechanism for preserving the estate is not unique to estate administration and probate, but rather a simple and effective equitable remedy, injunctive relief. Injunctive relief effectively freezes the status quo and prevents depletion of the estate assets until all claims are settled. More >

Trustee Discretion and Liability of an Individual

It's an understatement to say that the role of the trustee is fraught with pitfalls. Often times, a settlor creates a trust to suit his or her needs, but rarely does the settlor take into consideration, the difficulties the trustee will face when administering the trust. The discretion given to the trustee can provide a gateway for added liability, and the creation of a trust should take the twin concerns of trustee discretion and trustee liability into as much consideration as the disposition of the trust assets. More >

Planning for Incapacity

While an estate plan has obvious uses - i.e., planning for the disposition of estate assets after the death of a testator - some of the lesser-known benefits of a well-written plan are the provisions that provide for both management of assets and instructions for personal care in the event of incapacity. More >

Estate Planning for the Digital Life

Posted In Uncategorized

While individuals will eventually pass on, the internet is forever. Online accounts from games, apps and social media are becoming increasingly valuable. In an age of expanding online presence, estate planners and administrators should take into account the digital life of the client or the decedent, even if online accounts may not always trigger ownership or property issues. More >

Are iWills The Way of the Future?

Smartphones sure make lives a lot easier (and, arguably, busier). With a few taps of a screen, individuals can do everything from checking the weather to buying stock to engaging in FaceTime across the world. One individual in Australia recently came up with another innovative use for his smartphone. He used it to prepare his Last Will and Testament shortly before taking his own life. More >

A Hollywood Lesson for Everyday People: Trusts

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, an accomplished actor, died suddenly in February at age 46 of a suspected drug overdose. Seymour had a long-term companion, Marianne O'Donnell, with whom he had three young children. Under the terms of his Will, a significant chunk of his $35 million-plus estate was left to O'Donnell. The media and estate planners have examined the Will, which has led to several estate planning issues garnering public attention. His Will was written before the birth of his last two children and never updated; thus, his estate plan is completely silent about his wishes for them. The actor's death also highlights the effect that marriage can have on an estate plan. Because Hoffman and O'Donnell were not married, nearly $14 million must be paid in estate taxes - an outcome that could have been avoided had the couple tied the knot (at the federal level, any property passing to a spouse at death is free of estate taxes, therefore delaying any federal estate tax until the surviving spouse's death). More >

'Til Death Do Them Part: Creditor Rights

Settling the affairs of a deceased love one is never easy. When the decedent has outstanding debts to credit card companies, mortgage lenders, or other institutions, the process is further complicated. Generally, no one else is legally obligated to repay the debt of a person who has died, but there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, a co-signor on a loan may be liable for the debt under certain circumstances. More >

A Winning Estate Planning Team

The Sochi Winter Olympics are in full-swing and, with them, a spirit of solidarity. There is something special about the Olympians' demonstration of sportsmanship, camaraderie, and mutual respect for one another that is inspiring. As I was watching the coverage over the weekend, I began thinking about teamwork and how it relates to my role as an estate planning attorney. More >

Five Tips for 2014

New Year's resolutions. We all have them; not all of us keep them. As an estate planning attorney, I am constantly advocating for the planning of the future today. The unexpected can happen at any time, so it is important to plan today for what may happen tomorrow. Something about the start of a new year makes us all want to tackle a new project, whether it is weight, organizational skills, a relationship, or whatever else that has been nagging at us for way too long. More >

The Role of Appraisals in the Inventory Process

Settling a loved one's estate after their passing can be an overwhelming process. In Kentucky, the first step involves filing a petition to do one of three things: (1) probate the will; (2) appoint an administrator/administratrix (if no Will exists); or, (3) appoint an executor/executrix (if a Will does exist). Within the same form, the petitioner must also include fair market value estimates of the decedent's real and personal property. More >

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