LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Should You Add Provisions for Email and Social Networking Accounts in a Will?

An article on an Australian news website run by Fox (news.com.au) recently posed the question, “What happens to email and social networking profiles when you die?” Assuming that the person dies without telling someone how to access all his or her account information, what can family members...

A GUIDING HAND: Assisting An Ailing Testator With Signing Their Will

The heirs of Melvin Simon, the billionaire shopping mall magnate, are embroiled in a bitter estate struggle contesting a will signed by Mr. Simon seven months before his death. Simon's eldest daughter claims there was undue influence because Simon's hand was guided by a financial planner as...

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I don't do "simple" wills. In fact, I don't sell wills. I sell advice

Miami criminal defense attorney Brian Tannebaum recently wrote a post on his blog entitled, " Do People Who Aren't Hungry Go to Restaurants? " In his post he states that clients are often shopping for the cheapest lawyer, and recently, people have been contacting him and telling...

Wills and Undue Influence

A recent Texas case illustrates the effect of undue influence in probate matters. In the matter entitled In the Estate of Clifford Eugene Everett, deceased , (No. 04-09-00050-CV, October 13, 2010) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers / unenhanced version available from lexisONE Free...

Undue Influence and Wills

The Supreme Court of Georgia recently decided a case in which it found that a will was product of undue influence and fraud, and that the testator lacked testamentary capacity. In McDaniel v. McDaniel (S10A1497, March 7, 2011), the testator, Mr. McDaniel, was married to his wife, Mrs. McDaniel, for...

So what if I don’t have a Will or Trust in place…big deal!

By Sabrina Winters Many people assume that when a person passes away, that person's property is automatically transferred to the spouse or "next of kin". I have had some clients even think that the state takes it all! In North Carolina, when a person dies without a Will, marital...

Ancient Documents: Overcoming the Obstacles of Time

By Jennifer F. Hillman * As many estate attorneys can attest, probating an "older" will has additional challenges to overcome. In New York, courts generally require the testimony or an affidavit of one attesting witness prior to admitting a will to probate. This requirement is often...

Summary Judgment in Will Contests: An Epilogue

By: John G. Farinacci Last month, I wrote on this blog about the changing tides in probate litigation over the last 15 years concerning how the courts view summary judgment in will contests. See Summary Judgment in Will Contests: Matter of Lubin, posted 2/13/12 . As discussed therein at length...

Most Americans Die Without a Will

I came across a recent article in the Yahoo Finance Blog, Half of Americans With Kids Set to Die Without a Will . If you are a North Carolina resident, what happens to your estate if you don't have a will (you die intestate, in legal terms)? Here's a link to the NC law on Intestate Succession...

Appellate Court Upholds Objections To Probate In Spite Of Waiver

The Supreme Court's Appellate Division recently upheld New York County Surrogate Nora Anderson's decision in the probate proceeding of Rosalin E. Melnick 942 N.Y.S.2D 45 (A.D. 1Dept 2012) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ] which denied a petitioner's motion to dismiss...

Model Will Provisions Pertaining to Cremation

The model will provisions below were originally published in Murphy’s Will Clauses: Annotations and Forms with Tax Effects, available through the Lexis Bookstore For subscribers to Lexis.com, this publication can be accessed here Model Will Provisions Pertaining to Cremation Note ...

Digging A Little Deeper: Less Obvious Attesting Witness-Beneficiaries Find Their Bequest Void Under NY EPTL 3-3.2

It is well-understood by estate practitioners that a beneficiary of an estate should not serve as an attesting witness to a will. If he does, he or she is a competent witness for purposes of probating the will, however, under EPTL 3-3.2 , the bequest under the will is void unless (i) two other persons...

Ask Liza: My Aunt Just Died. Can I See the Will?

By Liza Weiman Hanks Dear Liza: My wife’s Aunt just died. We went to the funeral because they had been rather close and she wanted to represent her mother’s side of the family. While attending there was a passing reference to how she and some other members of her family were in the Will...

Ask Liza: Should We Get Married? Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples Now

By Liza Weiman Hanks | Dear Liza: My long term domestic partner of 30 years and I were registered domestic partners for a few years and then she decided she wanted to be totally financially independent of me so we terminated the agreement last year. We are still together as a couple and live five...

Dedon on Estate Planning: Ringing in the New Year With Good Estate Tax News

By John Dedon In the estate tax world, 2013 ended in stark contrast to the frantic planning during 2012. 2013 marked a return to fundamental estate planning; namely, using Wills, Revocable Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Medical Directives, to protect the family assets for a surviving spouse and children...

Making Your Mark: Using a Fingerprint When a Testator Cannot Sign the Will

By Jennifer F. Hillman, Esq. We have all seen the movies where an illiterate individual signs an important document with an “X”. Even literate clients may have difficulty signing a document due to a severe physical impairment. Compliance with the requirements of New York Estate Powers...

Ask Liza: Excluding Someone From Your Will

By Liza Weiman Hanks Dear Liza: I am helping my friend make a Will. It’s very simple, with one heir. She wants to make sure her brother, who is her only living relative and from who she has been estranged from since they left home (she’s 75 ) is not able to challenge the Will. She wants...

Ask Liza: Getting Good Advice When You Are The Beneficiary

By Liza Weiman Hanks Dear Liza: After dealing with an unexpected death of my spouse my head is still spinning.. My spouse was very private after a divorce and we kept our affairs separate. Now the Will, of which I was unaware, allows me to stay in our home and if I choose to leave or pass it goes...

Ask Liza: Naming a Minor as a Beneficiary of an IRA

By Liza Weiman Hanks | Dear Liza: I want to name my minor grandchildren as beneficiaries of my IRA account. How do I do that? Can I use my Will? It’s a smart idea to name minors as beneficiaries of your IRAs. Since they are young, they’ll be able to withdraw that money slowly over their...

Ask Liza: Disinheriting a Child

By Liza Weiman Hanks Dear Liza: My husband and I both have a will that states we are each other’s beneficiaries and executor’s and our son as 100% beneficiary of both of us died,. My husband has a daughter by a previous marriage. If my husband dies before me does she have rights to our...

Ask Liza: Can the Executor Give Away Estate Assets?

Dear Liza: My husband is the sole executor (and only child) of his mother’s Will. There are no other beneficiaries listed in her Will. The only asset she had was a home which is valued at about $300,000. Does he need to probate her Will? As the executor can he sell the home to one of our children...

Ask Liza: What to Do When One Parent Lacks Capacity

Dear Liza, my parents do not have a living trust in place. I need to help them set one up. My father and mother are 91 and 83 respectively. My father has a form of dementia that prevents him from making decision about his property. My Mother is fully capable. Does my Mother have the right to make decisions...

Ask Liza: Avoiding a Lump Sum Inheritance

Dear Liza My father wants to leave some of his assets to my brother and sister, however neither of them is particularly adept at handling money and he doesn’t want to hand them a large, lump sum. Can a Will stipulate that they receive payments on a predetermined basis, almost like an allowance...

Ask Liza: How To Store That Estate Plan

Dear Liza: I’ve just completed my estate planning documents using the latest edition of WillMaker Plus, including the will, health care documents, power of attorney, final arrangements, etc. I think all totaled it comes to over 65 pages. I’d like to leave all the documents well-organized...