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If you want control over the distribution of your estate, you need a valid will and a designated executor. Otherwise, your heirs could be in for a difficult, expensive and potentially contentious ride. This article provides a review of the tasks necessary in administering an estate ­-- tasks that need to be done during a ...

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Take care to avoid these eight (8) major estate planning mistakes. 1.  Relying on the Government’s “Estate Plan” One of the biggest mistakes people make in estate planning is to not have an estate plan in place at all. This puts families in the position of being subject to government rules and regulations about all ...

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Many couples, in their golden years, find themselves wondering: What if one or both of them is admitted into a nursing home and needs Medicaid? After saving throughout their lives, they are fearful that if one of them enters a nursing home, they will have to dissipate their life savings to pay for the cost ...

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Many people have wills drafted to include bank accounts, stocks and other probate assets. But they overlook planning for personal possessions. Bitter disputes can erupt over items that have more sentimental value than monetary worth, including furniture, photographs, jewelry and artwork. This article provides answers to commonly asked questions about how estate assets are distributed, ...

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DAMNED IF YOU DO; DAMNED IF YOU DON’T (More Trouble with IRAs in Community Property States)
Isaac and Dorothy Boggs were happily married with three sons and resided in Louisiana.  When Dorothy became ill and suddenly died in 1979, the family was grief stricken.  Isaac, who was a career businessman, mustered up the strength to move on and eventually married Sandra Boggs.  Isaac retired from his long and fruitful career in ...

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When considering who should serve as the executor of your estate, you may automatically think of a certain relative or close friend. But think carefully. Make sure that you pick the most competent person possible. Being an executor can be a tough, time consuming job. In some families, the decision of who to pick as ...

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What is Probate? A probate is simply the process of transferring property from the estate of a deceased person to the heirs or legatees of the decedent.  A probate is necessary if a person dies testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will), or fails to completely fund a Revocable Trust (a/k/a Living Trust). ...

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THIRD CIRCUIT ISSUES WARNING ABOUT COMPUTER-GENERATED WILLS AND TESTAMENTS
No one wants to pay more than necessary for essential estate planning documents, such as a last will and testament or power of attorney.  These documents can be attained easily at retail office supply outlets or online through legal storefronts like legalzoom.com for as little as $69.00.   While a bargain basement price is enticing, estate ...

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“A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.”  Jonathan Swift Although there are no absolute guarantees that long term financial plans will be carried out exactly as directed, a new law in Louisiana now provides much needed protection to family members, in the event that they fall victim to financial ...

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VICTIM OR THE CRIME (An Age Old Story of Undue Influence)
“There are various attributes of life – such as… awareness, growth, autonomy, will.  It is possible to kill or attempt to kill one of these attributes without actually destroying the body.  Thus, we may “break” a horse or even a child without harming a hair.”  M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie    BORN TO ...

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THE OSTRICH APPROACH (Execute or Update Your Will Before It’s Too Late)
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” Benjamin Franklin   In a fictional survey, four out of five people indicated they would rather have a tooth drilled without anesthesia than to read their own last will and testament.  Four out of five dentists approved the survey. The point being is that a ...

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TO PORT, OR NOT TO PORT: THAT IS THE QUESTION (Lifetime Exemption Planning)
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”Antoine de Saint-Exupery   Barb scurries about the house taking care of last minute details, while Mike is in the garage pulling down the decorations. Barb and Mike have hosted many family gatherings in their 40 years of marriage, but this year will be a little different.  Mike ...

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FAMILY BUSINESS GUMBO
“The advantage of growing up with siblings is that you become very good at fractions.” R. Brault THE FAMILY RECIPE Family businesses are the backbone of the United States economy - comprising 80 to 90 percent of all business enterprises, 64% of gross domestic product, 62% of employment and 78% of new job creation. By 2017, it is ...

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A GOOD WALK SPOILED (LLC Charging Order Protection Affirmed by 4th Circuit)
(Channelside Services, LLC v. Chrysochos Group, Inc. (La. App. 4 Cir., May 13, 2016)) “The Louisiana LLC Act affords LLCs different and greater protections …compared to Louisiana laws pertaining to creditors of corporate shareholders or partners in a partnership.”   ~Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal,  State of Louisiana The Starter Paul Garfunkel, a Louisiana resident, ...

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A BUNDLE OF MAGIC STICKS (Beneficiary Controlled Trusts Now Authorized in Louisiana)
(La. R.S. 9:2114.1 (Effective August 1, 2015)) “THE WAND CHOOSES THE WIZARD, MR. POTTER.   IT IS NOT ALWAYS CLEAR  WHY.”   ~J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Law School of Wizardry In the first year of law school, students are introduced to the concept that property rights are like a bundle of ...

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