Gertrude Stein died in 1946, just three days after writing her Will. No one imagined that 21 years later, her life partner, Alice Toklas, would die impoverished, half-blind, and half-deaf. During the later years of her life, Alice relied upon the goodwill and solicitations of friends to keep a roof over her head. What went wrong with Alice’s Will that resulted in the of her life dying in poverty?
Dealing with death
One of the biggest questions we get around the holiday season is … “How do I talk to my parents about their stuff?”
And this question is then awkwardly followed by, “Look, I don’t really want or expect anything from my parents, but I just don’t know what to do if they get sick or … fall down when I’m not home and …. you know…” and the person then trails off.
It’s hard to talk to your parents about them getting older and becoming more frail. Here are a few ways to start that discussion.
Handwritten Wills can be admitted to probate and administered just like any other written will. However, there are some critical differences in how a person is appointed as the personal representative for an estate where there is a handwritten will.
It’s not uncommon for a person to want to change a decedent’s Last Will and Testament. The most common reason is, “Well, that’s not really what they wanted,” or “That’s not what they meant.” Those reasons are not enough to change a will after a person has died, which is why it is essential to get the Will right when it’s being created. Short answer? No, you can’t change a person’s will after they die. Long answer? It depends. (Hey, we’re attorneys, this is the default answer.)
When a person passes away, someone has to step up and take care of everything that the person left behind. The person who died is called the “decedent.” The person who steps up is called the personal representative. Everything that is left behind is called the estate.
The personal representative might be an executor who is nominated in the decedent’s will, or they might be an administrator who is allowed to apply under the statutes.
The person who wants to step up as the personal representative completes the application in the local County Surrogate’s office. If everything is in order, the representative will take an oath and be sworn in and designated to act on behalf of the decedent.
At the time of his death, Freddie Mercury’s net worth is estimated to have been about $30 million, which today would be worth approximately $50 to $60 million. His assets included real estate, art, royalties, catalog rights and more. Since then, his state has grown to an estimated net worth of around $100 million. We know what was his in estate because Freddie Mercury left behind a Last Will and Testament.
As much as your family and friends might love your beloved pet, they might not be able to take care of your pet. All too often, those pets are left behind and end up in animal shelters. This is especially true for elderly or sick pets who require a lot of medical attention or affection.
It’s not uncommon for an executor or family member to forget about a dying person’s pets until several days later. In losing you, your family and friends go through the initial stages of grief and your pets might be left behind. This means they can go days without food or water until they are remembered – or worse. That’s not the fate you’d want wished on a beloved member of your family.
What You Can Do About It
As a pet owner, you’ve accepted the responsibility and the honor to provide for and love your best friend. It’s a great and wonderful thing, but it does come with responsibilities. There are a few things you can do to make sure that your pet will always have a safe place to live if you’re no longer able to provide your pet with a warm, safe, and comfortable home.
You can make a plan for your pet. It’s not enough to ask a friend to take care of Miss Whiskers and promise that they’ll get money from your estate if they do. You need to write it down in your Will or set up a separate trust for your pet (Yes, that’s a thing. There are trust fund fur-kids).
Did you ever think about whether a child of a first marriage can contest a will? Maybe this happened to you. Your mom or dad… Read More »What happens if you get left out of a Last Will and Testament?
Imagine the hypothetical situation where your husband died before his mother. When his mother dies, what happens to your deceased husband’s inheritance? Where does it go? Do your kids get it? Do you get it? Do your kids get completely cut out?