Author: Jeff McKenna

Death Can Complicate Title to Assets

By Jeffery McKenna You or someone you know may own unmarketable assets as a result of the death of a previous owner. The asset may be real estate, stock in a corporation or some other asset. The title is unmarketable because the property is in the name of the deceased individual. Many times when someone dies owning property in his or her name, the surviving family members do not take the necessary steps to clear title to the property. Although this is common, it can create future problems. If a parent, grandparent or some other ancestor died with real...

Read More

Digital assets and estate planning

Because we spend a lot of time online – banking, shopping, social networking, etc., a new category of personal property seems to have emerged known to estate planners as “digital assets.” Digital assets include any work or possessions stored on computers, hard drives and the internet. They include photos, videos, e-mails and playlists. People also store medical records and tax documents. More and more financial institutions encourage account holders to sign up for paperless statements. The list – and potential value – continues to grow. To complicate matters, each of the assets may even require different user names and...

Read More

What happens to my pets when I die?

What can be done if a client does not have a trusted friend or family member to name in their will or trust as caretaker of their pet? For over twenty years, I have worked with clients regarding their estate planning and end of life affairs. As part of my planning, I have spent much time addressing concerns related to pets. Many clients have become very attached to their pets. Some clients after losing their spouse have relied on the love of their pets to help them through the most difficult time in their lives. In doing their planning,...

Read More

Will and trust contests

Ever since the ancient laws of primogeniture (the eldest son gets it all) were swept away by the right to make a will, heirs have objected to even the best made wills and trusts. Conflicts can arise before or during the administration of an estate or a trust. Here are a few common examples of how a Will or Trust could be challenged. Validity: Everybody has the right to dispose of his or her property as they wish, without consideration for the wishes or opinions of family, friends or anyone else. It IS possible, however, to set aside a...

Read More

Battles over inheritance assets

As an estate planning attorney with over twenty years of experience, I have been on both sides of an estate fight. Sometimes I’ve represented clients upset about the terms of the will or trust. Other times, I have been involved in defending the terms. I can state without hesitation, when planning you want to use an estate planning attorney that is experienced and sensitive to what methods of planning can avoid fighting. Having said this, there are times when genuine questions exist and further inquiry should be made regarding the validity of the terms of the estate plan. The...

Read More