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The Biggest Mistakes That Executors Make

March 27, 2017

Filed under: Executor — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Who you choose to serve as the executor of your personal estate is an important selection. It is one that needs to be made with careful planning and after a consultation with your estate planning lawyer. Unfortunately, executors can make mistakes in the management of your estate and this could add to additional frustration or anxiety for your loved ones after you’ve passed away. 

This is why it is essential to identify someone who is not only comfortable with managing your estate but who will also have the interest to do so. Serving as an estate executor is an important responsibility. Some of the most common mistakes associated with executors include:

  • Not understanding the probate process and failing to hire an attorney.
  • Having no clear outcome in mind such as settling with heirs, maximizing the estate value, paying off the taxes or getting peace of mind.
  • Waiting too long to market your real estate.
  • Securing and maintaining real estate without understanding the responsibilities.
  • Choosing friends instead of experienced professionals to do the right job such as a probate administration attorney.
  • Not submitting paperwork or documents in an appropriate time period.

All of these can have significant ramifications for the beneficiaries of your estate. It is important that the person you select or choose as your executor has confidence in their own abilities to manage it and has the time and interest to do so.

 

About an Angel: Estate Planning Lessons from Farrah Fawcett

February 20, 2014

Filed under: Estate Planning,Estate Planning for Attorney,Executor,Legacy Planning — Neel Shah @ 10:00 am

Recently, a number of legal battles have stemmed from Farrah Fawcett’s death. Perhaps most notably, the University of Texas sued Fawcett’s partner Ryan O’Neal for taking Andy Warhol’s famed Farrah Fawcett painting from Fawcett’s home after her death. A recent article discusses what can be learned from the legal mess.

Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett (Photo credit: rocor)

Although most families do not own million dollar items such as Warhol paintings, it is not uncommon for families to get into similar legal fights concerning valuable or sentimental property left behind after a loved one dies. These fights are also common when a person gifts a piece of personal property before his or her death. Often, these gifts are inconsistent with the person’s estate planning documents, leading to a fight over whether the gift was valid.

In order to avoid similar fate, it is important to make your wishes concerning specific personal items exceedingly clear. If you are aware of a particular object that may cause fighting amongst your heirs, explain its disposition in your will. If you would like to give it away before your death, discuss the gift with your other heirs. If they understand your reasoning, they will be less likely to file suit after your death.

 

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Cat & Mouse: Probate Avoidance as Asset Protection

January 14, 2014

Filed under: Asset Protection,Asset Protection Planning,Estate Planning,Executor,Probate,Wills — Neel Shah @ 9:00 am

Probate is a court-supervised process through which the provisions of a person’s will are carried out. Many people choose to avoid probate by employing various estate planning tools that transfer their assets outside of their will. As a recent article explains, an additional benefit of creating non-probate transfers is that they provide a level of asset protection.

Cat & Mouse

(Photo credit: Mark Sardella)

If a person’s estate goes through probate, his or her executor will begin the process by collecting the decedent’s assets and giving notice of the death to any potential creditors. After this notice is given, the decedent’s creditors will have a specified amount of time to make any claims against the estate. The executor will have to pay these claims through the estate before distribution to the heirs.

Alternatively, certain non-probate assets such as life insurance policies, beneficiary accounts, and items held in joint tenancy pass immediately to the beneficiary or joint tenant upon the decedent’s death. Therefore, creditors are often unable to reach these assets.

Although non-probate transfers are a great way to incorporate asset protection planning into your estate plan, it is important not to use non-probate transfers specifically to avoid a particular creditor. These transfers can be undone if a court finds that the transfer was made for the sole purpose of avoiding an existing obligation to a creditor.