Who Else Can Be My Estate Executor Besides Family?

Estate planning involves choosing a person to carry out your final wishes in your Last Will and Testament (Will). Many people choose family members, such as a spouse or adult child, as their executors, but relatives are not the only option. For individuals who don’t have or want a family member to handle their estate, […]

6 Reasons Not to ‘DIY’ Your Estate Plans

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) estate planning is often the first considered option for those looking to save money. However, because of the complexity of estate planning laws, DIY-ing your Will, trust, or other estate planning documents without the help of an attorney is a risky endeavor. Below are just a few of the many reasons why estate […]

What Is a Pet Trust and How Do You Create One?

For many pet owners, pets are part of the family. Those who are new to estate planning often ask how they can ensure their pet’s long-term care needs are met in the event of the owner’s sudden incapacitation or death, including who will provide for the pets and how that care will be financed. In […]

Estate Planning Tips for Every Age

It can be difficult and even upsetting to plan for the unthinkable but putting some forethought into your estate planning can bring added comfort to what often is thought of as the “bureaucratic side of death” that your loved ones will experience should you pass away.  No matter what age you are, there are some […]

A Guide to Electronic Wills in Virginia

In early 2021, Virginia passed a law stating that testators could execute a valid Will electronically, as long as requirements are met. Since the passage of the Uniform Electronic Wills Act, individuals are increasingly exploring options for the electronic execution of their Wills. If you’re considering signing your Will through digital means, here’s what you […]

Creating a Special Needs Trust in Virginia

Special needs trusts can help protect vulnerable beneficiaries after the death of a parent or loved one. Although planning for such an event can be emotional and overwhelming, it’s best to prepare as early as possible. Learn why special needs trusts are so important and how you can create one as part of your estate […]

6 Estate Planning Tips for Stepparents

Every family has its unique situation — and if you’re a stepparent, estate planning can get tricky. How do you handle splitting up assets between half-siblings or stepsiblings fairly? What about estranged children from a previous marriage? Here are some estate planning tips for stepparents who want to ensure their blended families receive a fair […]

Estate Planning for Childless and Child-Free Couples

When a couple with children is making their estate plan, they typically don’t think twice about leaving the majority of their estate to those children. A couple without children may have more to consider when determining how to distribute their assets and possessions, whether it’s to their parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews, or other close […]

5 Things You Can’t Put in Your Will in Virginia

Like all state-specific Will laws, Virginia Will laws come with their own unique sets of rules and restrictions. Before working with a lawyer to create your Will, it’s important to be aware of what statements, claims, or promises should not or cannot be included in a legally-binding Will in the state of Virginia. Here’s what […]

What is Confidential? Attorney-Client Privilege in Virginia

Keeping communication between an attorney and their client confidential is an important part of an attorney-client relationship. This is known as “attorney-client privilege,” and the exact definition and inclusions can vary depending on the state. When working with a lawyer, it’s important that you know the limitations and exceptions of this privilege. Below is a […]

What’s the Difference Between a Mediator and an Attorney?

Divorce mediation is the process in which a couple looking to get a divorce meets with a mutually agreed-upon mediator to discuss the terms of the legal end to their marriage. Mediators neutrally guide the conversation and help the couple reach an agreement on all aspects of a divorce that would normally be litigated and […]

What Is Post-Mortem Right of Publicity?

Should someone be able to profit from using your name and likeness after you die? And if so, who exactly should be able to benefit from it? This was the question at the center of the 2021 Tax Court decision regarding the usage and monetary value of Michael Jackson’s name and image after his death. […]

How Has COVID-19 Has Affected Estate Planning?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every facet of daily life over the last two years, including the way many individuals approach estate planning. From the rise of electronic Wills to earlier planning, here are some estate planning changes that have been influenced by the pandemic and its consequences. Rise of electronic Wills and virtual […]

Can I Include NFTs in My Will?

The rise in cryptocurrency has signaled a rise in non-fungible token (NFT) prominence as well. As NFTs gain traction, many who have purchased them wonder whether they can pass them on to their heirs. Cryptoassets are unique assets that can be complicated to account for when it comes to estate planning. If you’re wondering how […]

New Year, New Will: How to Write a Will in 2022

With all the complexities involved in writing your Will, it can be difficult to know why, when, and how to tackle such an important task. While you should always consider consulting and working together with an experienced estate planning attorney to guide you through the process, it’s often a good idea to educate yourself before […]

How Do I Revoke or Change My Will?

Life is never stagnant, and the circumstances under which you wrote your original Will may have shifted over the years. Whether you’ve recently gone through a divorce, had a child, or simply had a change of heart, you have options to alter your Will at any time to suit your current wishes. If you want […]

How the Proposed Changes to the Stepped-Up Basis Could Affect Your Estate

As a part of his Build Back Better agenda, President Biden has proposed The American Families Plan. In this plan, changes have been proposed to the current stepped-up basis provision, which would affect some key estate planning laws that have been in place for the last five years. If your estate totals over $1 million, […]

What Happens When You Die Without a Will in Virginia?

Having a valid, signed Will is incredibly important in case anything unexpected happens to you. This document outlines instructions for how to preserve, manage, and distribute your property and assets after your death. Dying without having a Will in place, also known as dying intestate, could have major consequences for your loved ones and may […]

Will Executor Versus Power of Attorney: Who Does What?

When you’re making your estate plans, it’s important to understand the difference between the role of an attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney and an executor under a Will.  While both involve appointing another person to carry out your wishes, their duties are slightly different and carried out at different times. Read on to discover […]

6 Estate Planning Tips for Unmarried Individuals

Most estate planning advice you’ll find on the internet speaks to those individuals who are married and have a spouse and/or children to whom they plan to leave their estate. However, many individuals are now marrying later in life, opting not to remarry after a divorce, or never marrying at all — and their estate […]

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Will

There’s a lot that goes into writing a Will, and it can be easy to miss a step or forget to add important sections altogether. To help you avoid these types of issues, here are seven common mistakes to look out for when you’re writing a Will and what to do instead. 1. Ignoring state […]

What If No One Wants to Be My Executor?

For many people, choosing an executor for their estate means asking a spouse, adult child, or close friend or relative to take on an important responsibility after they’ve died. However, a friend or family member isn’t always the best person to serve as executor — and in some cases, the person you ask may not […]

5 Executor Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When you’re named as an executor of a Will, you’ll have a lot on your plate, and your responsibilities might seem overwhelming. However, this role is important and requires careful attention and consideration. To help you fulfill your responsibilities as an executor, here are five common mistakes executors make and how to avoid them. 1. […]

What Happens to Your Online Content When You Die?

While it’s not a happy thought, you might wonder what happens to your online content when you pass away. Each social media platform has different protocols for handling a user’s “digital estate” after death, providing various options from memorializing an account to full deletion. Here’s how you can protect your digital estate and look ahead […]

What Is a No Contest Clause?

If you’re afraid your heirs might challenge your Will, you can add a no contest clause to protect your wishes. With this clause in your legal arsenal, your beneficiaries likely won’t risk challenging your Will and losing everything you left them. They may, however, first seek a court judgment as to whether a claim would […]

How to Decide Who Gets What in a Will

Depending on your family dynamic and life circumstances, estate planning can be a challenging and even uncomfortable task. It’s difficult enough to contemplate your own mortality, let alone planning out who in your life should receive your money, property, and possessions after you die. If you’re struggling to figure out how to divide up your […]

A Guide for Issues and Considerations for Wills in Blended Families

These days, blended families are becoming more common, and the structure of families is looking increasingly less nuclear. A typical family may have natural children, stepchildren, ex in-laws, and other extended relatives who may or may not still be involved in each other’s lives. Because blended families have previous relationships and ties outside of their […]

How to Update Your Will When You Move Out of State

There are a few important life events that warrant a review and update of your estate plans. One such event is moving to another State. Each state has its own unique probate and estate planning laws. This means you may want to consult with an attorney if you move to another State so ensure that […]

Help! I Can’t Find My Loved One’s Will

Every person should prepare a plan with regard to their estate, big or small, including drafting and getting expert advice on how to avoid probate otherwise, so that their wishes are honored by their loved ones when they pass away. However, the executor of a Will normally needs to have access to the original Will […]

What Is a Power of Attorney?

If you’re new to the estate planning process, you may have heard the term “power of attorney” (POA) come up. However, you may not know exactly what that means or the authority that it grants. Knowing what POA is and who to appoint to serve in this critical role should be a key part of […]

How to Find the Right Estate Planning Attorney for You

Whether you’re drafting your first Will, creating a trust, or updating an existing estate plan, it’s important to work with a qualified estate planning attorney. But how do you find the right one for you? If you’re a Virginia resident, here are some tips for vetting and hiring an estate planning attorney in your area. […]

Common Types of Trusts and When to Use Them

Trusts can be a smart estate planning tool to supplement a valid Will. There are several different types of trusts you can establish, and the right one(s) for your needs will depend on: (1) how and when you want your beneficiaries to inherit what you leave them; (2) the types of assets you want them […]

What You Do and Don’t Need from Your Estate Planning Attorney

Whether you’re drafting your first Will or updating an existing plan, it’s important to work with a trusted estate planning attorney throughout your lifetime. Not only does this ensure your final wishes are documented and all your beneficiaries and heirs are covered, but it also provides you peace of mind knowing your plans are legally […]

Why (and How) to Disinherit Someone from Your Will

No matter your current age or status in life, it’s important to keep a valid and updated Will to secure your loved ones’ financial future. Sometimes, this means making adjustments when certain people you once intended to leave part of your estate to are no longer an active part of your life. Disinheritance is the […]

How to Create an Estate Plan for a Disabled Beneficiary

Many people choose to create an estate plan to provide for their loved ones after their death. In some cases, this may include providing care for a person with a physical or mental disability. If you intend to leave any portion of your estate to a disabled beneficiary, it’s crucial to develop your plan carefully […]

6 Common Reasons to Update Your Will

Writing your Will isn’t normally a one-and-done process. Your life is ever-changing, and from time to time, you’ll want to revisit and revise your will to match your current situation.  Changes in your age, your children’s age, the birth of a grandchild, declines in a family member’s health, and, equally important, changes in state and […]

7 Things You Should Never Include in a Will

When you’re creating a Will, you likely know you need to include specific instructions for how you want your assets distributed and who you wish to serve as your executor. However, it’s just as important to understand what not to include in your Will. Estate planning can be complicated, and an improperly drafted Will could […]

7 Commonly Overlooked Elements to Consider in Estate Planning

No matter your age, health, or life circumstances, it’s never too early to think about estate planning. When drafting your estate plan, you’ll want to make sure you cover all your bases. Here are some commonly overlooked items to consider when creating yours. 1. Incapacity When drafting an estate plan, many people focus solely on […]

6 Estate Planning Resolutions for 2021

Whether they’re for self-improvement, career-oriented, or health-related, New Year’s resolutions can help set the tone for the next 365 days and beyond. That’s why we recommend adding estate planning resolutions to your list. It’s never too early to determine how your estate and other assets will be distributed to your family and loved ones, especially […]

Is a Simple Will Enough? Why You May Need Other Estate Planning Tools

A simple Will is a good start for your estate plans, but it may not be enough for your needs. When you use a Will to leave your assets to loved ones, you trigger the probate process, which can mean administrative headaches and delays before your named executor is able to deliver anything to them […]

What If I Want to Leave My Estate to Someone Other Than My Family?

A common misconception with estate planning is that you have to leave your estate to someone in your family when you pass away.  However, in the United States, with the exception of a spouse, you are free to leave your assets to anyone you wish, including a non-marital partner, friends, a charity, or even a […]

5 Estate Planning Tips for Single Parents

While estate planning is important for every parent, single parents face unique challenges when planning for their children’s future. As the primary caretaker for your children, you need to plan for several scenarios to ensure they have the proper safeguards in place. No matter how large or small your estate is, it’s important to protect […]

How to Choose Your Beneficiaries

When you’re young and have few (if any) assets, you may not put much thought into estate planning or choosing your beneficiaries. But no matter what age you are or how small or large your estate is, it’s important to designate beneficiaries for your various assets and accounts, just in case something were to happen […]

Getting Remarried? 5 Estate Planning Steps to Take

Many people who have experienced divorce choose to marry again in the future. While remarriage is a common occurrence, a divorced individual may not think to update their Will when they take a new spouse. If that person then passes away, their assets may be divided in a way that doesn’t necessarily reflect their current […]

Will the 2020 Presidential Election Impact Your Estate Plans?

With the 2020 Presidential election fast approaching, many Americans are wondering about the potential legislative impact of either outcome. One area people are watching closely is estate planning, which could be affected by changes to laws around estate taxes and capital gains. Here’s what you need to know about how your plans could be impacted, […]

How Does the SECURE Act Impact My Estate Plans?

For many Americans, a retirement savings account becomes one of their largest and most important financial assets. 401(k) accounts and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) often come up during the estate planning process, as most plan providers require you to name a beneficiary in the event of your death. If you have a retirement savings account […]

What is a Personal Property Memorandum?

In making a Will or Trust Plan, you’ve probably given some thought to your larger assets, such as your home or vehicle. However, as with many aspects of estate planning, the little details can make a big difference. Smaller assets, such as sentimental items or family heirlooms that hold emotional importance to you, should also […]

5 Estate Planning Considerations for Business Owners

Writing a Will and making estate plans can be overwhelming and difficult for the average person. If you own a business, you have a few additional factors to consider, as your estate planning strategy should document what’s going to happen to your business after you die. Why does estate planning matter for business owners? If […]

How to Identify Undue Influence in Estate Planning

When an individual creates their estate plan, it is assumed that the Will, trust, and other estate planning documents reflect the sincere wishes of their creator. However, there are some cases in which an outside party attempts to override a person’s judgment during the estate planning process. This is known as undue influence, and it’s […]

What Is Estate Tax Portability?

A couple can accumulate numerous assets over the course of their marriage, and when one spouse dies, the other will typically inherit those shared assets. Depending on the size of the estate, you may wish to take advantage of estate tax portability, which allows a spouse to assume the tax exemption of their deceased spouse […]