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How to Use Intrafamily Loans as Part of Your Estate Plan

Lavelle & Finn


When interest rates are low, intrafamily loans can be a good way to assist a relative (typically a child) with purchasing a house or a family business, and in certain circumstances they can be used to gift money to the next generation.  An intrafamily loan allows family members to borrow money from each other at […]

Passing on Assets Outside of Probate: PODs and TODs

Lavelle & Finn


For a variety of reasons, people sometimes want some or all of their assets to pass directly to specific individuals upon their deaths, outside of probate. One way to accomplish this is to set up a “payable on death” (POD) account for money in a bank account or a “transfer on death” (TOD) account if funds […]

Do You Need a Lawyer to Write a Will?

Lavelle & Finn


While you aren’t technically required to hire a lawyer to draft a will, failing to do so can lead to costly problems for your family and other heirs. A will is a legal document that directs who will receive your property when you die. The legal requirements are pretty simple. In order for your will […]

Make Sure Your Estate Plan and Other Essential Documents Are Safe from Disasters

Lavelle & Finn


It’s an unfortunate reality that with the increasing number of natural disasters across the country, including fires, floods, and hurricanes, the chance that you could lose your house and possessions has become more likely. In the event of such a calamity, it is important that your estate planning and other important documents are beyond reach […]

Don’t Just Hope for an Inheritance; Get It in Writing

Lavelle & Finn


A Massachusetts case demonstrates the importance of getting any agreements about inheritance in writing. The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that rendering services to someone in the hope or expectation that it will result in payment from an estate is not sufficient to entitle an individual to a portion of the estate. Suzanne M. Cheney performed many […]

Can a Marriage Be Annulled After One Spouse’s Death?

Lavelle & Finn


Marriage is supposed to be “until death do us part,” but after one spouse dies, is it possible for a court to declare a marriage invalid (annulled)? It can be happen, as a Nebraska widower recently learned, but only in certain circumstances.  Marriage provides benefits to a surviving spouse. When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse […]

What Is a Fiduciary and What Are Its Obligations?

Lavelle & Finn


When you need someone else to care for money or property on your behalf, that person (or organization) is called a fiduciary. A fiduciary is a person or entity entrusted with the power to act for someone else, and this power comes with the legal obligation to act for the benefit of that other person. Many […]

New Tax Proposals Mean Some Should Review Their Estate Plans

Lavelle & Finn


A number of tax proposals being considered in Congress could significantly affect gifting and estate plans for those with larger estates — over $3.5 million. If you’re in that category, you might want to meet with your estate planner to take advantage of gifting opportunities that are available under the current law.  Under Vermont senator Bernie […]

Be Careful Not to Name Minors as Your Beneficiaries

Lavelle & Finn


Most people want to pass their assets to their children or grandchildren, but naming a minor as a beneficiary can have unintended consequences. It is important to make a plan that doesn’t involve leaving assets directly to a minor. There are two main problems with naming a minor as the beneficiary of your estate plan, […]

6 Things to Ask Before Agreeing to Be a Trustee

Lavelle & Finn


Being asked to serve as the trustee of the trust of a family member is a great honor. It means that the family member trusts your judgment and is willing to put the welfare of the beneficiary or beneficiaries in your hands. But being a trustee is also a great responsibility. You need to go into […]