Thomas H. Sullivan
Attorney at Law
All in the Family
Posted on: October 13th, 2020
The notion of fairness often pervades family dynamics and may continue even beyond death when decisions about dividing accounts and property arise. The law has attempted to address different notions of fairness with a variety of distribution strategies. Per stirpes, by representation, and per capita are key terms in wills and trust agreements that specify the way money and property are to be equitably divided. As you explore these distribution methods, observe how they achieve fairness in different ways and with different results....
What Happens If My Beneficiary Dies Before Me?
Posted on: September 30th, 2020
When planning for death, most people assume they will die before their beneficiaries (e.g., their spouse, children, and grandchildren). While these assumptions are often well-founded, they do not always come to pass. Sometimes a beneficiary of an estate or trust dies before the person leaving the inheritance. If this has happened to you, you may be wondering what is next. How does this event impact your original plans? The truth is, it depends on a number of factors. Lawyers call this scenario having a predeceased beneficiary. ...
How to Protect Your Significant Other from Frozen Accounts
Posted on: August 21st, 2020
The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Nothing can truly prepare a person for such a loss. However, dealing with the financial stress of frozen bank accounts can exacerbate the stress. Without proper planning, your significant other could struggle to gain access to your accounts. The frustration is especially distressing if the frozen account was the primary source for paying joint or household expenses....
Why Your Heirs or Beneficiaries May Receive a Smaller Inheritance Than You Thought
Posted on: August 17th, 2020
Often when a person dies and leaves money or property to heirs or beneficiaries, the first thing the heirs or beneficiaries want to know is the overall value of the estate. If the executor or the trustee (the person or entity in charge of handling the final affairs of a deceased person) shares that information, as is typically required, it can be tempting for heirs or beneficiaries to immediately do some quick mental math to estimate how much they will receive. With that number in mind, they may begin mentally spending the anticipated inheritance on things that have always been a little out of reach....
Seven Ways to Avoid Family Fights over Your Property
Posted on: August 6th, 2020
Ask a group of friends if they have experienced a family fight over property after a loved one has died, and you will be in for a lively and eye-opening conversation. Far too many families end up fighting, or at least experiencing tension, over a family inheritance. But it does not have to be that way. Many families have worked through the details of divvying up a deceased loved one’s property remarkably well and ended up even closer. Having counseled families for years, we offer the following pearls of wisdom to help your family avoid fighting over your property when you are gone:...
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....