Published: July 23, 2018

A beneficiary of an estate or a trust has the right to review the actions of the executor or trustee by asking for an accounting.   To be prudent, an executor or trustee should provide the beneficiary with updates on the status of the estate or trust.  First, an inventory should be provided soon after the commencement of the estate or trust followed by an informal accounting which details the disposition of assets and the payment of expenses.  And to save on filing fees with the Court, the executor or trustee should propose that the beneficiary waive a formal accounting

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Published: April 18, 2018

Before one considers filing an undue influence claim seeking to set aside a change in a Will or a recent transfer which reduces his or her share in an estate, there are a number of important factors to consider. In order to address the obvious proof problems in filing such a case, Courts have created a presumption of undue influence where there exist certain factors such as a confidential relationship between the testator/donor and the recipient of the gift along with suspicious circumstances surrounding the change in disposition.  

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Published: March 14, 2018

The transfer of wealth from the elderly has become the subject of heightened judicial scrutiny over the last several years, and this trend will only grow with the aging of the population.  Part of the issues faced by courts surround the use of a power of attorney and the potential for abuse of that power.  A power of attorney grants legal authority to an agent to make decisions on behalf of the principal.  A power of attorney is usually general in scope but of course can be limited in its application.  It can be made effective immediately or upon one’s disability.

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Published: November 2, 2017

From Esau, who rashly traded his birthright to his twin brother Jacob for a cup of soup, to King Lear’s ill-conceived plan to leave his riches to only two out of three daughters, family dynamics can lead to estate problems.

Any one — or more — of the following six situations can easily lead to a court battle for control if the scenarios are not properly addressed during the estate planning process:

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Published: October 26, 2017

When Grateful Dead front man Jerry Garcia died in 1995, he left his custom guitars to the man who made them.

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Published: October 5, 2017

When Grateful Dead legend Jerry Garcia died of a heart attack in 1995 at age 53, he left his assets to his third wife, three daughters by two ex-wives, a fourth daughter by a former girlfriend, and a step-daughter, among other beneficiaries.

Predictably, there was trouble ahead and trouble behind.

Garcia didn’t help matters when he chose his third wife, Deborah Koons, whom he married in 1994, to administer his estate—arguably the worst person he could have picked.

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