Category: Estate Planning

Will My Family Inherit My Debts?

September 9, 2013  |  William F. Huefner

Are you deep in debt? If so, you’re not alone. While much of estate planning revolves around assets there are those who will leave more in the way of debts. If you’re in this situation you may be quite worried about how you will protect your loved ones from your bad financial situation. Fortunately, there’s good news. Your heirs will not inherit your debt directly. Your credit card bill will not suddenly pass into their name. That doesn’t mean creditors won’t try to make an argument that you let your heirs assume responsibility for some debts in certain situations, so make sure to consult with an attorney if you want to avoid this situation. Secured debt is a little different. If you want your heirs to inherit a house that still carries the mortgage they will need to keep the mortgage current until the house is sold. If your heirs want to keep the house the mortgage may need to be refinanced. However, creditors can go after the assets in your estate. Creditors may be able to seize secured assets or force the sale of other assets to pay your obligations. Debt reduces the amount of money that your children will inherit. However, the lack of legal obligation on the part of your…

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Why Should I Update My Will?

September 2, 2013  |  William F. Huefner

A will is not a set it and forget it document. You should revisit your will periodically. Why? Because things change. Your designated executor might die before you do. You might divorce your spouse. Or you might remarry. You could adopt children or have new children. You could have a severe falling out with an adult child. Each of these situations creates scenarios which would cause you to either need or want to make a change in your will. However, you won’t necessarily think of your will while you’re in the middle of a change or an upheaval. That’s why it’s a good idea to make a habit out of periodically reviewing your will. Most of the time, there will probably be little or nothing to change. That’s okay. The practice itself is what is important. Someday, something will change, and you’ll feel better knowing that you are on top of things. If you have a revocable living trust his periodic review also gives you a chance to add or remove assets from the trust if you wish. Of course, all of this depends on you having a reasonable estate plan in place to begin with. Some estates can be quite complex, and you will need the guidance of an experienced estate attorney…

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What Happens When Someone Contests a Will?

August 27, 2013  |  William F. Huefner

Are you worried that your family won’t pay attention to your last wishes after you die? Contesting a will can happen, but contrary to television drama it’s not quite as common as people imagine. Your relatives can contest your will if they have reason to believe it was signed improperly. If you work with a qualified estate planning attorney this shouldn’t happen, simply because your attorney will make sure that your will is signed and witnessed in accordance with the law. Your relatives an also contest your will if you were mentally unfit in the time the will was signed. If you have Alzheimer’s or another mind-altering illness when you finally get around to doing your will you could open your will up to contest. This is why it’s so important to take care of estate planning issues as soon as possible, preferably when you are still relatively healthy and strong. Don’t wait for an accident or devastating illness. It’s counterintuitive, but the ideal time to start worrying about estate planning is when things are going well! Your relatives can also contest your will if they believe someone had undue influence over you when you wrote it. This usually happens when you write or change the will to heavily favor a caregiver. Your…

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