Probate

Probate potpourri

A Probate Potpourri

This week we looked for cases (and stories) illustrating important principles from probate court. We found a surprising batch of cases, and wanted to share them all. Hence this probate potpourri. We have four cases (from California, Louisiana, Maine, and New York) to share with you. California: “right of survivorship” may not mean what it …

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Digital will

Would Arizona Courts Recognize Your “Digital Will”?

There’s a good chance you have used an electronic signature lately. Beyond credit card slips and package receipts, even real estate contracts are digital these days. Can you sign your estate planning documents electronically? Would a “digital will” be valid in Arizona right now? What is a digital will? Before deciding whether a digital will …

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Declaratory judgment

Contestants Seek Declaratory Judgment on No-Contest Clause

It is hardly uncommon for family members to disagree about the validity or meaning of a will. Even when they disagree, though, few people actually go to the trouble and expense to file a formal contest. A recent will contest case in Georgia provided a different wrinkle that invites further explanation: the will contests filed …

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Missing will

Missing Will Discovered Three Years Later, Denied Probate

After someone’s death, what happens when no one can find a will? Their estate usually passes according to the law of “intestate succession.” That means the state’s legislature has effectively written a will for the decedent. What, if anything, can be done about a missing will? Of course, a missing will might indicate that the …

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Probate Avoidance

Beneficiary Designations May be Key to Probate Avoidance

Probate avoidance is often a key goal for our estate planning clients. Sometimes that is best addressed by establishing a living trust. In other cases it might be just as efficient to focus on beneficiary designations. In fact, even when a living trust is involved, beneficiary designations help meet the purposes of the trust. At …

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Elder Law

What “Elder Law” Means to Us at Fleming & Curti, PLC

VOLUME 24 NUMBER 11 At Fleming & Curti, PLC, we practice elder law. But what does that term mean? Our practice is focused on typical legal problems faced by older individuals. We also regularly work in the field of special needs planning for individuals with disabilities. Because the people coming to see us are often …

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Common law marriage

Common-Law Marriage, Divorce and Probate, All In One Case

DECEMBER 19, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 47 Here’s a question we hear frequently: how long does a couple have to live together in order to be considered married? The answer in Arizona: until the wedding ceremony. In other words, Arizona does not recognize “common-law” marriages. That strong, direct statement, however, masks a more complicated answer. …

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