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Probate

Thursday, January 3, 2019

CryptoWills: What They Are and How They Work


More than 50% of the adults in the US do not have a Will. Most assume that that they do not have enough assets to bother with one, or that they will write one when they are older. Yet dying without a Will results is going to result in the person’s assets being divided in accordance with the state’s laws rather than the person’s own wishes. As a result, not having a Will leads to delays, expenses, and family battles, not to mention hours of headaches and paperwork..


Read more . . .


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Regular Wills vs. Crypto Wills


Most people want to pass down their assets in accordance with their wishes, with minimal costs, minimal delays, and minimal strife amongst the heirs. Yet there are several problems with using traditional Wills to accomplish these goals. These problems include: not having one’s wishes honored because of losing one’s Will; or having your the Will challenged by heirs; not addressing the distribution of all the of your assets because the Will was written years before death and new assets have been acquired; and high costs of lawyers, h costs needed to pay to lawyers, courts, and executors to finalize the Will.

CryptoWills, which use blockchain, may address some of these problems. First, if the data is stored on blockchain, it cannot be lost.
Read more . . .


Monday, November 26, 2018

5 Things to Do Immediately to Protect Your Digital Assets, Including Crypto-Currency


 

Once you stop to think about it, you might will realize you have more digital assets than physical ones. These include online banking and brokerage accounts (banking and brokerage), photo storage sites, social media accounts, and cryptocurrency. If you were to die tomorrow, does anyone have the right to possess these accounts? Will they know the necessary steps to access them?

Online providers handle the accounts of deceased users differently. Some, (like Facebook,) have created a legacy contract, which enables one to designate a person to manage one’s account after death. Others do not have such a clear policy, and there are federal laws (such as The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and The Stored Communications Act) that severely limits provider’s’ ability to share personal account information with others.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How to make a statement after you are dead

Most people want to leave a legacy. Yet most people also have no idea how to go about doing it.  One simple way is through a life insurance policy.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is a Public Administrator?

The Public Administrator is one of a chosen group of attorneys in one office per county who the Court often calls upon to administer to non-standard cases.

The Public Administrator generally has the job of handling estates of people who die without a Will and who have no close relatives who are able to administer the estate: If your nearest living relative is a cousin (or more distant) the Public Administrator will need to be placed on notice. In addition, the Public Administrator often replaces initial Executors or Administrators who are unable to qualify or unable to serve.

The Public Administrator’s job is to collect all of the assets of the estate, pay the outstanding bills and distribute the remaining money to the distributees of the deceased. The job of finding the distributees is often the most time-consuming and expensive, as distant relatives may have to be located in multiple countries with the help of genealogists or investigators.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Be very careful about titling assets – you could disinherit your children!

I received a call this month from a man who wanted to  receive his share of his father’s building. The property had a value of approximately $4MM. There were 5 children in total, 2 from father’s first marriage (one of whom was this client) and 3 from father’ second marriage.  The caller could not understand why, after the death of his father, the property was being listed for sale by his 3 half-siblings without any input from him.

After I looked up the ownership of the property, I had to tell him the unpleasant truth: He will not get a penny from the sale of this real estate.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Are Heirs Responsible for Decedent’s Debts?

According to the most recent data from Credit.com, 73% of consumers had outstanding debt when they were reported as dead, with the average total balance of $62K. Debts included home loans, credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and student loans.

An estate is responsible to pay the deceased person’s debts. If there is sufficient money, the creditors get paid first, and the beneficiaries receive whatever remains.


Read more . . .


Monday, July 25, 2016

Executor of your Will: who should be named and what are his responsibilities?


An Executor is the person named in the Will who ensures that deceased person’s wishes are carried out after death, that all the assets are found, that all the debts are paid and all the money is distributed according to deceased person’s wishes.

Responsibilities: The duties of an executor include: finding the Will, hiring a probate lawyer to put together a probate petition (including getting all the signatures from all the necessary parties), filing the petition and the Will with the court in order to be appointed as an Executor by the court, appearing in court (if necessary), notifying credit cards companies and banks about death, setting up an estate bank account, filing an inventory of assets with the court, carrying out the wishes of the decedent (including selling the real estate and other assets, if necessary), paying all the necessary income and estate taxes, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.  

Who should you name: as you can see, the probate process can be long and complex. The executor should be someone responsible and capable of handling such a task. Usually people name relatives or friends, because they know that the person will carry out their wishes.


Read more . . .


Friday, July 15, 2016

Rich and Famous Planning: Lessons learned from Prince’s mistake


As most people by now know, the artist Prince died without a Will. The family is now set up for tens of thousands in legal costs and years of delay before the money gets distributed.

When a person dies without a Will, regardless of the size of his estate, numerous problems come up. These include:

  1. Executor. The person who will be named in charge of your estate may not be the person that you would have liked.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rich and Famous Planning: B.B. King’s Estate – 15 children, a few million dollar and legal battles for many years to come


B.B. King acknowledged 15 children from 15 different women during his life. 11 of the children survived him. Yet the executor of B.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

When is Medicaid entitled to recovery of benefits paid? Part 1

  1. If Medicaid was paid improperly, the Department of Social Services is entitled to recover all improperly paid benefits.

         If Medicaid discovers that an individual was ineligible because the information provided was false, there will be 3 steps taken. First, any further medical assistance will be discontinued. Second, the case can be referred to the local District Attorney office for criminal prosecution. Third, a lawsuit for the civil recovery may be commenced, to recover the money overpaid.

         The first step in this process is usually a letter, received by Medicaid recipient, informing him that he is being investigated for Medicaid fraud, and asking him to come in for an interview.

 

2.     Medicaid is entitled to recover from the estate of anyone who was 55 or older when the assistance was granted. However, this recovery is limited by several important considerations:

  1. The recovery is limited to benefits paid within 10 years of individual’s death.

  2. Medicaid is excluded from making a claim against the estate of an individual who is survived by a spouse, a minor child, or a disabled child. However, the lien is held in abeyance only. Once the surviving spouse dies, a lien can be placed against the second to die spouse’s estate to recover Medicaid benefits paid to the first spouse.

  3. Medicaid may only make the recovery from the probate assets of an individual (those assets that pass under a will or by administration if there is no Will, and not part of a revocable trust, life estate or joint tenancy agreement).

Medicaid is a preferred creditor. As a result, Medicaid’s lien must be satisfied before other creditor’s claims and before any bequests to beneficiaries are distributed.

Most Medicaid liens can be negotiated.

3. Medicaid is entitled to recover from the proceeds of an action arising from an accident or malpractice, as the result of which the injured party received Medicaid benefits.           

Disclaimer: This article only offers general information.  Each situation is unique. It is always helpful to talk to a specialized attorney, to figure out your various options and ramifications of actions.  As every case has subtle differences, please do not use this article for legal advice. Only a signed engagement letter will create an attorney-client relationship.


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