A will is an important document needed to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of in a manner that you see fit. However, it’s not enough to prepare and execute a will. Important steps must be taken to safeguard your will and estate plan is actually carried out as you intend. One easily overlooked step, but which a former colleague turned Court attorney assures me comes up frequently, is securing the whereabouts of your original will and leaving behind appropriate information to aid those who will be handling your estate.
The executor or administrator of an estate has a duty to “marshal”—or collect—all of the decedent’s assets so the assets can be distributed to the appropriate heirs. Usually, this is a simple process. However, sometimes executors and administrators face obstacles in identifying the assets in an estate, where the assets are located and how to obtain possession of the assets. It is important to know the tools available to overcome obstacles in collecting and preserving the decedent’s assets in order to protect the beneficiaries of the estate and avoid liability.
Individuals who hold a liquor license face a number of restrictions on their business operations. In the context of estate and business succession planning, these limitations add an extra burden when passing the business on to heirs due to additional restrictions which may come into play after the death of a license holder. If owners do not plan appropriately, their estate may face legal difficulties and high costs which could reduce their assets.
Could your estate benefit from a conservation easement? A conservation easement limits the amount of development that can be done on land. For the property owner, gifting or selling an easement can provide certain financial and business advantages. An easement can also benefit the larger community by conserving the property’s scenic and natural attributes, and ensuring that the property is preserved for open space, agricultural or passive recreational uses.
For many high-wealth individuals, effective estate planning is largely motivated by the desire to minimize the estate and income taxes their heirs may pay. Reducing estate taxes often means maximizing the benefits of the unified credit amount through the use of valuation discounts.