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Wills & Simple Estate Planning

An estate contains those things that you leave behind after death, including real estate, personal property, and cash. Estate planning is a legal way to protect the property and assets that make up that estate. It also can safeguard you and your family in the event of a sudden illness or death. It may be unpleasant to think of what may come, but a proper estate plan can ensure that you and your loved ones’ wishes are honored.

To get you started on a deeper understanding of estate planning, we’ve compiled a few scholarly articles that explain some of the finer legal points. These articles are provided by Aspatore Law Books, part of Thomson Reuters, and are made available on the web for the first time here, for you. Aspatore books were originally created for a legal professional audience, but have since become popular with non-attorneys thanks to easy-to-understand writing and smart, real-world insights.

Learn More about Wills & Simple Estate Planning:

  • Intestacy Laws
    When a person dies without a will or other formal estate planning, it’s referred to as dying “intestate.” Here you’ll learn about the laws that apply when a person dies intestate, including which relatives will inherit the estate.
  • Wills Overview
    Learn the basics of wills, such as the technical requirements for a valid will and what happens if a person dies without a valid will in place.
  • Wills and Trusts Basics
    Learn about the basic information your will or trust should contain, such as identification of your spouse and children, and special requests regarding burial or cremation.
  • Attorneys and Estate Planning
    While it is possible to create a valid will or estate plan without ever consulting an attorney, using a lawyer to at least review your final will is a smart idea. Learn about the value an attorney provides to the estate planning process in this article.
  • Estate Administration Basics
    When a loved one passes away, what comes next? In this article you’ll learn the basics of estate administration, from having a court rule on the validity of the will or the lack of a will, to final distribution of the estate.
  • What to Expect From Your Attorney in a Probate Matter
    Originally written as guidance for attorneys on how to best represent clients in probate matters, this article will give you a smart checklist of what you should expect from your attorney.
  • Estate Planning to Avoid Litigation
    Poor estate planning often leads to drawn-out litigation and family infighting. Conversely, a smart estate plan can help your loved ones avoid litigation altogether. Learn about the most common issues that lead to probate litigation, and how to avoid them, here.
  • Challenging a Will Basics
    If you aren’t happy with how a loved one’s will is written, your first instinct is often to challenge the will. But, that can be an expensive and lengthy process, and it doesn’t always end the way you’d hoped. Get more information about what’s involved in challenging a will here.
  • Attorneys and Inheritance Disputes
    If disputes over a loved one’s will or estate plan can’t be resolved, you may need to resort to litigation. In this article you’ll learn about common inheritance disputes and an attorney’s role in helping you resolve your disputes.
  • Estate Planning and Taxes After the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
    If you have a large or valuable estate, one of your main estate planning concerns may be reducing the tax burden on your heirs. Here you’ll learn more about how estate planning tax considerations have changed in recent years.
  • Attorneys and Administration of Trusts
    This article was originally written for attorneys as an overview of what they need to consider in order to ethically administer a trust. You can use it as a guide to what you should expect of an attorney who is administering a loved one’s trust.

For even more Estate Planning information, visit the Estate Planning section at