Category: Dealing with death

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Are Last Wills and Testaments part of the Public Record?

As estate planning attorneys, we are often asked whether we can obtain another person’s last will and testament. This is not an uncommon request and often it’s a child or other beneficiary seeking to discover whether they have an inheritance that will be coming down the road to them.

As a first note, if you’re asking about the last will and testament of someone who is still alive then you should probably be talking to that person and not talking to an attorney. You should go and spend time with that person while they’re still with you, because once they’re gone, they’re gone

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Are half-siblings considered full-siblings if there is no will?

Does a half-blood sister inherit the same as a whole-blood sister? Let’s start with the idea that relatives of the Half-Blood inherit the same as they would if they were relatives of the whole blood. Is Harry Potter coming to mind when you think of “relatives of the half-blood?” Thanks to J.K. Rowling, the concept of the “half-blood” now has a colloquial meaning as well as a legal meaning, although there is much less suspense or cliff-hanging-ness about the legal concept of half-bloods as compared to the magical concept of a half-blood. (And usually less discrimination as well. Usually.)

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Who Should You Pick to be Your Kids’ Legal Guardians if You Die?

Have you ever thought about what happens to your kids if you die? No one wants to think about their own mortality, but until we develop a true singularity, then we all must confront and deal with our own death and what happens to our kids after we’re gone. Pricenomics analyzed data from an application based will generator Tomorrow.me to see who testators are choosing to fulfill this extremely important role in their estate plan. A guardian is a person that you nominate who will take care of and raise your children if something ever happens to you. They should be something who you know has the same parenting values as you, who will raise your kids in the way that you want, and who will be there to provide your kids with emotional support during times of uncertainty.

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What Do You Do with a Codicil?

Suppose you’re up to date on your adulting and you checked off “Make my Will.” Go you! But what happens if you’re doing your annual revenue of your Will (because you’re an adult and you got this!) and you notice that you need to make some changes.

Maybe you want to change the person that you named as an executor or you want to change how you have your beneficiaries set up. So, you go to you nearest internet connection device and search for, “How do I change my will?” After scrolling through all the self-help guides on accountability and vision-boarding, you change your search to “How do I change my executor?” or “How do I change my Last Will and Testament?” Ahha, finally the search results are looking better …

You discover that there’s a legal document called a codicil and think that’s exactly what you want. But do you? Do you really want a codicil? Maybe it’s better to make a whole new Last Will and Testament.

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What Happens to Your Pets After You Die?

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).

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Who Pays My Debts When I Die?

When a person dies, children or heirs often wonder if they become responsible for their parent’s debts. Generally speaking, the answer is no. The decedent is responsible for all of

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Tip: Create Your Asset Spreadsheet

Your life is complicated. There are a lot of moving parts, and you’re a master at juggling all of them. You know which credit card gives you 5% cash back at the grocery store this month, and you know what day and how much needs to be paid. You know what day your paycheck gets deposited, what day your rent or mortgage is due, and what time you need to pick up your kids from daycare. And those are just the things that you do daily.

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Create Your Quarantine Routine

What do you think of when you hear the word “routine?” Does it make you think of monotony and boredom? Or does it make you feel serene, calm, and have peace of mind?

Up until a few weeks ago, every day was the same. Wake up, go to school/work, eat, school/work, come home, dinner, bed. That’s all changed and routines have flown out the window!

Just think about how powerful you could be if you tweaked your routine to allow more time for you to build your legacy in the world.

What happens to Alice if I die? A Look at Gertrude Stein’s Last Will and Testament

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?

Is it worth creating an Advanced Health Care Directive if a hospital issues a blanket “do-not-resuscitate” order?

In March of 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic in NJ, it was been reported in several newspapers that there are whispers and some outright discussions about hospitals and states issuing blanket “do not resuscitate” orders for patients having coronavirus. Can hospital override the medical wishes outlined in your living will? If so, how? If not, how can you protect yourself?

How to talk to your parents about aging and dealing with their “stuff”

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.