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Estate Administration and Probate Archives

Whose life insurance policy is it, anyway?

When George Bailey is standing on the bridge, despairing that he has let his family down, he thinks of Mr. Potter's taunt: "You're worth more dead than alive." Potter, of course, has set the scene for the rest of the movie, as George learns his life lesson. "It's a Wonderful Life" may be the first movie any of us remember that prominently features a life insurance policy.

As women approach retirement, the 77 cent wage gap gets scarier p2

As we said in our last post, we do have a point, and it is this: Women earn less than men, and that has a direct impact on their retirement and estate planning. Nationwide, women earn about $16,000 a year after age 65. Men? Men earn almost $27,000. While working, women earn 77 cents on the dollar, but in retirement women earn about 60 cents on the dollar (the dollar earned by men, that is).

As women approach retirement, the 77 cent wage gap gets scarier

Change is slow, says the Institute for Women's Policy Research, especially when it comes to closing the gender wage gap. Considering how much progress the country has made since the Equal Pay Act was passed 50 years ago, the IWPR figures we will finally reach our goal -- women and men will actually earn equal pay (on average) for equal work -- in 2058. It will have taken 100 years of baby steps to close the 40 cent gap identified in 1963's "American Women: Report of the President's Commission on the Status of Women."

Do you need to disclaim part of your inheritance?

Estate administration isn't only about distributing assets. The probate process can have major tax implications for heirs and beneficiaries. If a deceased loved one's estate wasn't effectively organized with the use of a will or a trust, then a probate judge's decisions could leave you with a heavy tax burden.

Estate plans often include charitable giving & non-family heirs

The average American family looks very different than it did in previous generations. Large families with a lot of kids used to be the norm, but many couples now choose to have between one and three children, and some couples decide to forego having kids altogether.

In dramatic twist, family members contest Mickey Rooney's will p3

One of the disadvantages of being a celebrity is that you have no privacy. One of the disadvantages to being a celebrity living in California is that court records are much easier to come by. Divorces are not sealed, for example, except in rare situations. Reporters in California seem to have become adept at searching public records, because someone uncovered a copy of Mickey Rooney's will very soon after it was filed. Wills are always a matter of public record, but not everyone knows that -- or takes advantage of it.

In dramatic twist, family members contest Mickey Rooney's will p2

We are picking up where we left off (here) with our discussion of the lawsuits over Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney's will. When Rooney died in April, his widow, Jan, told the press she had not seen him for a year. It seems the couple had separated after Rooney accused Jan of elder abuse. They reportedly signed a settlement agreement that included a stipulation that Jan stay away from her husband.

In dramatic twist, family members contest Mickey Rooney's will

When we wrote in early April (here) about Mickey Rooney's death, we briefly touched on the situation with his estranged wife, Jan. The couple had been married for 36 years, but when Rooney passed away at age 93, Jan told the press that she had not seen her husband for at least a year.

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