Thomas H. Sullivan

Attorney at Law

5 Reasons Probate Takes So Long

Posted on: July 6th, 2020
After a loved one dies, their money and property must be distributed to the right people, either according to their will or the state’s default distribution scheme (found in its “intestacy” statute). While most people want the settlement process to be done ASAP, probate can take between 18 and 24 months. Yes, you heard that right. The time delays create unnecessary stress, especially for families who need access to those accounts or property....

Legal Requirements to Consider When Selecting an Executor

Posted on: June 30th, 2020
The person you choose to be your executor (sometimes called a personal representative) will play an extremely important role, as that person will be responsible for gathering, securing, managing, and ultimately distributing your money and property when you pass away. As a result, you should make your selection only after careful consideration regarding who is the best person to fulfill this role. Don’t just choose your oldest child because that’s what you think is expected: If a friend or advisor is more trustworthy or better qualified, that person may be a better choice....

No-Contest Clauses

Posted on: June 26th, 2020
We live in a litigious society. Unfortunately, even family members sometimes file lawsuits because they are dissatisfied with what their parents or loved ones leave them in a will or trust. Some are so disgruntled that they decide to contest or challenge the validity of a will or trust, which can delay its administration for years and result in thousands of dollars in legal fees. If you are concerned that any of your beneficiaries may seek to challenge your will or trust, a no-contest clause might be one method you can use to discourage them from pursuing this course of action....

How to Help Your Loved Ones Avoid Probate

Posted on: June 22nd, 2020
Today, many people are using a revocable living trust instead of a will or joint ownership as the foundation of their estate plan. When properly prepared, a living trust avoids the public, costly and time-consuming court processes of conservatorship or guardianship (due to incapacity) or probate (after death). Still, many people make a big mistake that sends their accounts and property and loved ones right into the court system: They fail to fund their trust....

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Probate Costs

Posted on: June 17th, 2020
The bad news: When a deceased person’s estate (all of their money and property) has to go through probate (the court-supervised process of distributing a deceased person’s money and property), it can be subject to a variety of costs stemming from attorneys, executors, appraisers, accountants, courts, and state law. Depending on the probate's complexity, fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars. The good news: Many of these probate costs can be reduced by avoiding probate. It’s really that simple....

Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Real Impact on Estate Planning

Posted on: June 11th, 2020
According to data provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1.9% of all infants born in the United States, 81,478 in 2018, were conceived using assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART can provide a solution for those who are struggling with infertility, interested in avoiding passing on genetic risks, or want to store genetic material for later use, as well as for same-sex couples who want to have children. Although it may be surprising, ART is an issue that could have a major impact on estate planning for families seeking to have children through its use....
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