Blog of The Law Offices of Daniel Timins

When Should I NOT Act as Mom’s Executor?

When your mom passes away with a valid Will and property being transferred by that Will, the Will is submitted to the Court who appoints an estate representative to wrap up her final affairs. This person or company – almost always named in the Will – is known as the Executor, and has the ability to do everything that your mom could do during her life: Collect her assets, pay creditors, review all of mom’s financial records and statements, file income tax returns, order her medical records, distribute her property as mom’s Will states, and even clean out mom’s closet (which she likely neglected to do before she died since, you know, she’s now dead). We say an Executor “steps

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The Battle of Winterfell: An Estate Attorney’s Payday

After turning down family plans for 70 Sunday nights, waiting more than 70 weeks for a new episode, and using nearly 70% of your brain’s computing power remembering all of the interpersonal relations in Westeros (could Hot Pie the baker actually be the Prince That Was Promised?), Game Of Thrones is almost over. But we are told the best is yet to come next Sunday when the Battle Royale Extraordinaire between the living and the Army of the Dead face off in Winterfell. And so, with only a few episodes left, facing what will likely be the greatest CGI human slaughter of all time, I am left wondering ONLY one thing: Why wasn’t anyone in Winterfell drafting their Will? If

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Unsigned Wills Are Meaningless (and Photocopies are Not Much Better)

I like to remind people that the laws regarding modern U.S. Wills, not only predate the founding of the U.S., but actually predate European discovery of the Western Hemisphere. In Olde England in the city of York having a signed, witnessed piece of paper instructing how you wanted your property to be distributed after your death was often the only way to ensure your desires were fulfilled. Original paper mattered back then – there were no other recording devices or accounts with beneficiary designations – and witnesses would later attest to the fact they had seen you sign said paper instead of someone else. And original, signed paper still matters for several legal documents today, including your Will. The issue

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Your Wills & Trusts Should Require Your Children to Have Prenups

After you die there are way too many evil forces that can take a swipe at gifts to your children. Credit card companies may receive unpaid debts from your transfers to your children; the street level dope dealer may have his next good run with your child as his primary client; even the government may take much of the funds if your child becomes disabled. But for some reason, nothing annoys a parent more than knowing their soon-to-be-ex-son-in-law Chad is going to get a hold of your bequest to your daughter Becky (and now your son Bryce too, if that’s how he rolls, since greed has no sexual preference). All Wills and Trusts should have substance abuse provisions, spendthrift provisions

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Disabled with Cash: When to Use ABLE Accounts

In 2014 the federal government passed legislation allowing the creation of “Achieving a Better Life Experience” [“ABLE”] accounts. Much like Supplemental Needs Trusts, these accounts are permitted to hold funds for disabled individuals that would otherwise leave them with too much financial resources to maintain Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income [“SSI”]. The main benefits of ABLE accounts are that they are self-created and inexpensive: No legal fees, no on-going trustee commissions. The disabled individual, his family members or his Power of Attorney may create ABLE accounts, as may a Trust created by another person. And while ABLE accounts can pay for health-related expenses, any money that is used for food and shelter will not result in SSI being reduced by

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Codicils and Trust Amendments May Burn Your Estate

Hiring an attorney has been obnoxiously expensive since the first time a guy’s donkey backing into another guy’s mud version of today’s tiny houses: You tend to want a person or document that best insures you are going to get things done your way, but good results cost a lot of money. So, it is not surprising that people prefer to change their Wills using Codicils and Trust Amendments instead of redrafting the entire original document. I have concluded this is often a mistake and now believe clients should spring for the costs of redrafting their entire document. Codicils are quick changes to existing Wills, and only modify the portions they are intended to change (and maintain the remaining contents

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