The Slayer Statute: How the law seeks to protect the families of murder victims

Even decades later, the tragic murder of Natalie Wood remains just as sad, shocking, and full of unanswered questions as when it first came to light. Still today, new twists are added to the story as Natalie Wood’s one-time husband, Robert Wagner, is once again suspected for involvement in her death. While California law prohibits [...]

I’ve Been Appointed Personal Representative – What Now!?

The probate court has delivered Letters of Authority appointing you as Personal Representative of your loved one’s estate. So, now what? This is a tremendous responsibility, and it is easy to get overwhelmed by the long list of what needs to be done, all the different court requirements and deadlines, and the arduous processes of [...]

No One Expects the Facebook Profile! A Story of Planning for Your Digital Estate

Consider this for your estate plan... So you have meticulously assembled your estate plan and provided for your loved ones: a life insurance policy for your kids, the cabin up north goes to uncle Bob, your investment accounts to your husband, your brother-in-law does not get the 1940s baseball mitt handed down to you by [...]

Marriotts: Dirty Laundry Airing in Probate Court

The Marriott hotel always looks polished and professional from the outside. Recently, however, we learned that the Marriott family does have some dirty laundry airing out in a probate court. The good news? They are just like every other family – interesting, and not without drama. Meet the Marriotts: J. Willard and Alice Marriott first [...]

Social Media v. Privacy: What’s the Verdict?

Just recently, traditional notions of privacy have clashed with social media, prompting a headline-making case: Yahoo is denying two personal representatives access to their deceased brother’s emails. What’s the Story? John Ajemian was just 43 when he died in a bike accident in 2006. He did not have a Will, so his brother and sister [...]

Estate and Gift Tax Exemptions for 2018 are Official!

For many, “inflation” might as well be a four-letter word. But in terms of the federal estate and gift tax exemptions for 2018, it seems to be inflating smiles and opportunity for many. In the New Year, estate and gift tax exemption will be $5.6 million per person and $11.2 million for married couples. The [...]

JEOPARDY

A "Jeopardy!" contestant who passed away a week before her string of taped appearances on the show aired this week won her third consecutive game in an episode that aired Thursday night. Cindy Stowell buzzed in swiftly, blurted out answers in the form of questions, and soundly vanquished her opponents. Her latest victory was a [...]

Special Needs Planning v. Traditional Estate Planning

Last week, the NICU Grandpa from Atlanta went from comforting premature infants in a local hospital to warming hearts across the nation. A retired international marketing executive, David Deutchman didn’t exactly set out to regularly get “puked on and peed on,” but it’s quickly become a new-found joy. He told CNN that one of his [...]

National Estate Planning Awareness Month

It’s estimated that more than 120 million Americans do not have updated estate plans, according to www.AmericanBar.org. Unlike the fun, daily holidays, such as national pasta day, that we like to celebrate with delicious dinners and social media hashtags, the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) created a congressional proclamation for it in [...]

Columbus and Probate: Then and Now

Because most of us are going about our normal days at work, home, and school, it’s easy to forget that today is (already!) the second Monday in October, which means that it’s Columbus Day. I, too, almost glazed over the holiday, but it got me thinking: if Columbus had the opportunity to estate plan, how [...]