Imagine that you die after a long series of illnesses. Because you've been successful in your field and leave a considerable estate. You might expect a will challenge - sure. But from your former lawyer? Now, that's one weird situation.
Say there's an older adult - let's call her Judy - who has difficulty caring for herself. Judy's son, Charles, is her primary caretaker, but he abuses her, pinching her and refusing to give her dinner if she doesn't stay quiet during his favorite TV show. Judy's doctor notices that she has bruises on her arms and is rapidly losing weight; she reports Charles to family services, and Charles is eventually convicted of felony abuse.
Most of us don't have $300 million to leave behind when we pass on. But for those who do, it's no surprise when there's a fight over their wills. And when they leave most of their estate to charities and caretakers instead of family members? Bring on the trusts and estates lawyers.
Most lawyers say, emphatically, that all older Americans - heck, all Americans, period - should have a will. But let's face it: Even by the time they die, most people haven't accumulated much in terms of an estate.
If you have children, you've probably thought about who would care for them should something happen to you. But have you thought of who might care for aging parents? Today's society demands "new considerations" when it comes to estate planning, says the BMO Retirement Institute. The group's new report, "Estate planning in the 21st century: New considerations in a changing society," instructs Americans to review estate plans to factor in parents, pets and technology.
Nebraska has a bill before it's legislature that will address the difficult issue of a deceased person's online life by giving access to the executor of that person's estate. The bill does not just focus on Facebook, but takes into account the myriad social network, blogging and email accounts that a person can acquire over the years.
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