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Fatherhood by the Book – Law and Biology Not Always the Same

Happy Father’s Day! Ah, but this is a legal column, so let us look at that greeting a bit more closely.  There are many types of fathers. There are biological fathers, legal fathers, intended fathers, step-fathers and adopted fathers. A man might be a father for purposes of family law but not a father for purposes of the probate law.    Fathers can be presumed, contractual, or acknowledged. They can be estopped into...

Bad Choices Defeat Standing – Beneficiary Can’t Have it Both Ways

Speaking of costly decisions……. Dad had 3 sons. He wrote a will that left one of his sons, Charlie, a savings account worth about $150,000.     Then Dad died leaving a total estate of $1.5 million. His will was admitted to probate and shortly thereafter the executor transferred the $150,000 savings account to Charlie.   After Charlie assumed ownership of the savings account, he sued to set aside the will. He calculated that his...

What is the Difference Between a Living Trust and an Estate Plan?

In the realm of estate planning, there can be a lot of confusion around terminology. Often people come into our offices asking for or about one type of legal document or another, and either they do not understand what they are asking for, or they don’t understand the interplay among various legal documents. In this article, we will address two terms which some people use interchangeably, but which are...
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