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Is it time to review and update your will?

You've already taken the step of creating a will, which sets you apart from a surprising number of adults throughout the country. If you only recently created your will and have yet to experience any major life changes, you probably have no great need to review it.

Can you prevent your heirs from contesting your will?

You've taken steps to plan for the needs of family and loved ones when you pass on. Creating an estate plan, last will or trust can help ensure that your assets are divided in the way you see fit. Unfortunately, even the estates of people who took great pains to carefully plan their last will can end up in probate court. All it takes is one unhappy family member or heir to contest your last will, trust or estate. When that happens, there's potential for probate courts to deviate from your wishes.

The ABCs of federal estate taxes

The idea of estate taxes can be troubling. If you have extensive property that has a value of $10 million or more (if you are married), estate taxes can become a very real concern. However, for some people, estate taxes are never an issue.

Your rights as a surviving spouse

Most states, including California, have laws in place to protect surviving spouses and other potential heirs to a decedent's property. This means that if one spouse dies, the other still has inheritance rights even if a will was never written or an existing will never updated.

3 common causes of fights over an estate

Your loved one is getting older, and the last thing you want to see is a family fighting over the inheritances and estate left behind. There are many reasons that people fight over estates. Some disputes come out of nowhere, but it's more likely that they have been brewing for some time.

Tips to avoid litigation as a trustee

The title of trustee comes with some very serious responsibilities. For example, you must maintain control over the property owned by the trust and, furthermore, you must take steps to preserve it. This means that you will have to make decisions to protect the trust's assets, including prudent investing, communicating with the beneficiaries and following the terms of the trust.

Do you have the right to challenge a will?

Challenging a will can be a very difficult and complicated process. In addition, it is not something everyone can do. Imagine that you are engaged in a disagreement over how to handle a relative's estate. Can you legitimately challenge the will? Can the other person? Before challenging a will, it is important to understand basic probate laws that dictate who can and cannot lodge a legal challenge.

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