Estate and Trust Administration

Should Beneficiaries Also Serve as Executor or Trustee?

By Bob Goldberg / August 29, 2011

When someone creates a will or a trust of course they want to choose a dependable and trustworthy person as executor or trustee. For most people this means someone close to them—a family member or friend, or often the most responsible of their adult children. However, this often means that the person they’ve chosen as…

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Executors of 2010 Estates Have Until Nov. 15 to Make Estate Tax Decisions

By Bob Goldberg / August 19, 2011

Everyone will remember the “wonderful boon” that was the 2010 estate tax repeal, which (in theory) allowed decedents to pass on their assets free of any estate taxes. However, the situation was complicated in December of 2010 when, as this article in Bloomberg puts it, “Congress extended the tax retroactively [giving] executors of estates of…

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Retirement Assets May Be Unpleasant Surprise for Heirs

By Bob Goldberg / July 29, 2011

You’ll often read news articles or blog posts about saving for retirement—when to start, how much to save, what savings or investment plan is best—but there’s an important retirement topic which often goes underreported: How these retirement accounts impact your heirs. As noted by an article in the Wall Street Journal, “The new, higher threshold…

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Joint Ownership A Dangerous Way to Avoid Probate

By Bob Goldberg / July 11, 2011

When asking about how to avoid probate, many clients have asked about the wisdom of adding family members as joint owners to bank accounts. While joint ownership will achieve the goal of avoiding probate, there are many dangers and drawbacks to adding family members—even trusted family members—as joint owners on bank accounts: Vulnerability to creditors:…

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Frequently Asked Questions About Probate

By Bob Goldberg / June 27, 2011

What is probate? Probate is defined as “the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under the valid will. A probate interprets the instructions of the deceased, decides the executor as the personal representative of the estate, and adjudicates the interests of…

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How to Protect and Pass On Artwork, Antiques, and Other Valuable Assets

By Bob Goldberg / May 6, 2011

Some assets—such as real property, stocks and savings—are fairly straightforward when it comes to bequeathal to heirs; other assets—such as valuable artwork or antiques—are not so easy. How do you will an asset to a loved one when there is no deed of ownership? And just as importantly, how do these paperless assets figure into…

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One Simple Step Now Can Save Time and Money Later

By Bob Goldberg / April 27, 2011

Being named as the executor of the estate of a deceased loved one comes with many challenges, including dealing with the probate system, and refereeing unhappy family members; but one of the most difficult (and least discussed) challenges is sorting through the plethora of paper and information that people collect over the course of a…

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Who Owns Credit Card Debt After the Death of a Parent?

By Bob Goldberg / March 7, 2011

Administering the estate of a deceased loved one can be complicated and emotional under the best of circumstances, but executors who take on this overwhelming task may find themselves facing more than just the demands of relatives and heirs—they may also find themselves facing the illegitimate demands of creditors. This article on the New York…

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Tough Decisions Await Executors of 2010 Estates

By Bob Goldberg / March 4, 2011

If you are the executor of the estate of a decedent who died in 2010 you may think you’re in the clear. After all, there was no estate tax in 2010 right? Making distributions should be a piece of cake. Wrong. Because of the estate tax election available on the estates of 2010 decedents, administering…

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5 Essential Tips for Executors or Trustees

By Bob Goldberg / January 24, 2011

Serving as executor or trustee of a will or a trust is an honor… but it’s also a job—a BIG job—and not one to be taken lightly. The role of executor or trustee can be one of great financial power, but it carries with it a heavy fiduciary obligation. Fiduciary obligation means that an executor…

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