Preparing Deathbed Wills

When you have a client who is near death and wants you to prepare his or her will, you’ll have to act quickly. There won’t be time for a complete initial conference, careful tailoring of estate planning documents, and a methodical execution at your office. You’ll have to do only the essentials and in the shortest amount of time. These tips will help if you find yourself in this stressful situation. Continue reading

How to Disinherit a Spouse or Child

When disinheriting a spouse or child, the key is to be clear and explicit. Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to follow when your client wishes to disinherit a spouse or child. Continue reading

No-Contest Clauses May Not Be the Deterrent You Think

ThinkstockPhotos-148073606State law changes enacted in 2010 have restricted the enforceability of no-contest clauses. Under Prob C §§21310–21311, a typical no-contest clause providing that an unsuccessful contestant gets nothing from an estate or trust is enforceable only against a “direct contest” brought without probable cause on specified grounds. And even if it is enforceable, a no-contest clause may not be an effective deterrent if the beneficiary thinks the amount at stake is outweighed by the benefit of a successful contest. Continue reading

Codicil vs. New Will

will_122397917A will may not be the final word on what your client wants to happen on death. Things change, and it may be necessary to add or delete something (or someone) from a will. But when you want to make a change, should you do it with a codicil, or do you need a whole new will? Continue reading