You hear about simple wills all the time. Usually, it means someone executed ‘just’ a will, a will that took care of everything without the need for trusts. You know, simple. We find that a lot of people also think: simple will, simple probate, no problems, no worries. It’s a natural enough as...

What about a probate case where the deceased was a French citizen living in the United States for tax reasons who left a California will bequeathing his French property to his fourth wife? Now add this - that will disinherited his two children from his first wife, a violation of French law, and the ...

A big probate story out of California this week has been all over the news. It's a bit different and certainly highlights some very common probate themes in a very unorthodox way. There's - apparently- very few assets to value, no operating business, perhaps no real heirs, probably no will. There i...

Not sure if we've ever really covered pre-existing contracts in a probate case before, aside from obliquely mentioning contracts and probate in the same post. That changes now because of a very high profile estate dispute that's all over the media. We're glad it's out there because it's an excellent...

Happy 2018! Our best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year. We published a year end video on Facebook, this is a quick review of the themes we covered on the blog in 2017. Our year of writing was greatly assisted by celebrities. Unfortunately for them, of course, but perfect, timely, and very rel...

We haven't talked about relatives in awhile. That hit home seeing some write-ups of the recent release of the biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House on the Prairies books - you know, the books the TV series was based on. Not exactly an article that would normally make one ...

HBO's Six Feet Under was one of the most acclaimed TV shows in recent memory, though somewhat under the radar, obscured a bit by the big hits like The Sopranos and Mad Men. It's the story of a family owned funeral home. Each episode began with a death, the deceased would end up at the Fisher Funeral...

How important is the handling of debt during the probate process? Well, let's put it this way, probate courts probably wouldn't exist as we recognize them today if it weren't for the question of debt after death. Wills have been around since ancient times. They go back to the Greeks and Romans. One...

This is from a friend who was an attorney who once did a fair amount of estate planning in the late ‘90s in the Greater New York City area. Stick around for the punchline: “I had a client who owned brownstones in Manhattan and apartment complexes in Brooklyn and Queens. Neat guy – French aris...

If you've been reading our blog for any length of time, you know that precious little of what happens in Probate Court is private. Look at it this way, it it was we wouldn't have enough material for one blog, never mind dozens. [caption id="attachment_1507" align="alignleft" width="300"] (Photo cre...

You probably know what your house is worth at any given time. Your 401k, pension plan, bank accounts, are all easy to value, you can find them on-line in a matter of minutes. But what about personal items, especially items that we think might be valuable but are entirely dependent on the marketplace...

It occurs to us that we write an awful lot about problems in probate, trusts, administration, executorships and much more. That's probably because it's a lot easier to learn from mistakes than the flawless execution of a document. As an old law professor of mine once said, casebooks are hardly fille...

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