Contesting a Will


There is a great deal of confusion and mythology regarding estate planning. It’s a subject that healthy, busy people really don’t want to think about. Understandably, the thought of suddenly becoming unable to function (due to disease or a catastrophic illness) and needing to depend upon someone else, along with having to come to grips with the inevitability of death, can really be distressing. However, by taking methodical, concerted action by creating a well-advised estate plan, one can at least confront these unpleasant realities in a rational way.     The following are some examples of erroneous information some people have regarding estate planning:   1. “I don’t have a will and I don’t really own a lot of property, so what’s the problem if I die without one?” You DO have a problem. Without having a witnessed will that is also valid within your state, if you die as a single custodial parent, your surviving minor children run the chance of being taken care of by blood relatives of the probate court’s choosing—not yours. In addition, any remaining financial assets in your name will be evenly distributed to your immediate family members. Without a clear-cut estate plan, your surviving spouse may not have enough of your money to supplement his/her retirement income.   2. “If I become incapacitated, my executor will take care of everything.” WRONG . Your executor is someone you have designated in your will to carry out your wishes after you pass away. If you’re still alive, and find yourself in failing health, your executor can’t help you. With a smart estate plan, you can...

The Estate of the Musician Known as Prince

In December 2021, the estate of the musician known as Prince, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Minnesota Department of Revenue (MDR), settled the valuation of Prince’s estate.  Prince’s music rights were the main point of contention –what is the day of death value of all of his songs and music rights?

Estate Planning News – Undue Influence Update -May 5th, 2014

[wp_lightbox_prettyPhoto_video link=”″ description=”Undue Influence” source=”” title=”Undue Influence”] In this week’s edition of Estate Planning News, we’re highlighting legislative changes affecting an important elder law offense: Undue Influence. As the selected pieces linked below point out, the key features of this law change is broadening the class of people who are able to commit the offense and the time frame when it can occur. Under previous iterations of the statute, undue influence was limited to testamentary actions (such as gifts in a will or trust), and required a specialized relationship between the elder and the abuser. The new version of the law accounts for actions that steer seniors toward parting with their property during their lifetimes, even without a confidential relationship being present. Read the articles to learn more!   Bill Text – Assembly Bill No. 140 CHAPTER 668 Existing law provides that financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult occurs when, among other instances, a person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, as defined. Read More at Estate Planning: Financial elder abuse and undue influence DENNIS FORDHAM On Jan. 1, 2014, California amended its statutory definition of “undue influence” in section 15610.70 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. This new definition of “undue influence” applies both to “financial elder abuse” that affects the victim while alive and also to undue influence that affect the victim’s “testamentary dispositions” after death. Read More at...