The Complete Book of Wills, Estates & Trusts (4th Edition): Advice That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars in Legal Fees and Taxes

The Complete Book of Wills, Estates & Trusts (4th Edition): Advice That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars in Legal Fees and Taxes

The Complete Book of Wills, Estates & Trusts (4th Edition): Advice That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars in Legal Fees and Taxes

The Complete Book of Wills, Estates & Trusts (4th Edition): Advice That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars in Legal Fees and Taxes


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The classic legal guide with more than 100,000 copies in print—now substantially updated and revised!

Whether grappling with modest or extensive assets, The Complete Book of Wills, Estates & Trusts has long been the indispensable guide for protecting an estate for loved ones. In this completely revised fourth edition, updated to cover the latest changes in estate law, attorneys Alexander A. Bove, Jr., and Melissa Langa synthesize their decades of field and classroom experience into honest, clear, and entertaining explanations of a host of complex legal topics, including:

• How to create a will and living trust
• How to use a trust to avoid probate and legal complications
• How trusts work and how to use trusts to save taxes
• How to contest a will and how to avoid a contest
• How to settle an estate or make a claim against one
• How to establish a durable power of attorney
• How to protect assets from creditors

In their straightforward and humorous style, Bove and Langa share easy-to-understand legal definitions and savvy advice on everything from taxes to choosing the right attorney, all illustrated with entertaining examples and actual cases. This is the best and only legal guide readers will ever need to ensure that their money and holdings remain in the family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250792747
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/26/2021
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 46,407
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Alexander A. Bove, Jr., is an internationally known trust and estate attorney, professor of law emeritus, and a former legal and financial columnist for The Boston Globe.

Melissa Langa practices domestic and international estate planning; she is also a published author and an adjunct professor at the Boston University School of Law Graduate Tax Program.

Table of Contents

A Helpful Introduction ix

Special Note to Readers xi

Acknowledgments xiii

1 The World of Wills

Your Own Nobel Prize 2

The Probate Process-Step by Step 5

Do You Really Need a Lawyer? 16

Keep This in Mind 17

2 Do You Really Need a Will?

Heirs and Shares 19

Probate Property vs. Nonprobate Property 25

Options Your Will Offers You 27

Keep This in Mind 33

3 What Is a Will?

Formalities of a Will 35

Signing Your Own Will at Home 39

Who May Make a Will? 41

Wills Made in Another State 45

What Property Will Pass Under Your Will? 47

Joint Wills 51

Where to Keep Your Will 52

Keep This in Mind 52

4 How to Cancel or Change Your Will

The Formalities Required for Changing a Will 54

Changing Your Will (Intentionally or Unintentionally) by Disposing of Your Property 56

Involuntary Changes in Your Will-When There Isn't Enough Money to Go Around 60

How to Revoke Your Will 62

Reviving a Previously Revoked Will 65

Keep This in Mind 66

5 Common Will Provisions

A Question of Words, and the Use of "Boilerplate" Language 68

Some Common but Necessary Will Provisions 69

Understanding the Difference Between Real and Personal Property 75

Dealing with Oriental Rugs, the Coin Collection, and Heirloom Jewelry 76

Leaving Something to Charity 79

Some Final Words About Words 80

Keep This in Mind 82

6 Uncommon Will Provisions-Controlling from the Grave

The Requirements of a Conditional Bequest 84

Some Varieties of Conditional Bequests 89

Conditions on Burials, Funerals, and Memorials 96

Defaming from the Grave-Having the Last Bad Word 100

Noncontest Provision 102

Keep This in Mind 102

7 Spouses' and Children's Rights to an Estate

Disinheriting a Spouse-With and Without a Will 104

Rights of Divorced or Separated Spouses Under a Will 108

Premarital (and Postmarital) Agreements-and Wills 111

Children's Rights Under a Will 113

Special Family Allowances 119

Keep This in Mind 122

8 Estate Management

Who Pays the Debts and Expenses of the Estate-and When? 124

Investing Estate Assets 128

Accounting to the Court and to the Beneficiaries 131

When You Can Get Your Share 134

Quick Settlement Procedures for Certain Estates 138

Keep This in Mind 139

9 Personal Representatives

Who Can or Should Be Your Personal Representative? 143

Powers of the Personal Representative 147

Fees of the Personal Representative 149

Removing a Personal Representative 153

Keep This in Mind 157

10 Will Contests, Lost Wills, and Beneficiaries' Rights

Who May Contest Your Will 159

Grounds for a Contest 162

How to Contest a Will 174

Costs and Delays of a Will Contest 176

How to Prevent a Contest 177

Probating a Lost Will 184

Keep This in Mind 187

11 Avoiding Probate and Wills Altogether

Avoiding Probate Through Joint Ownership and Other Do-It-Yourself Methods 189

Out-of-State Property-Double Your Probate, Double Your Legal Fees 194

Avoiding Probate with a Durable Power of Attorney 195

Why You'll Still Need a Will 201

Keep This in Mind 202

12 Everything You Need to Know About Trusts

The Basics of Trusts-A Working Overview 204

Coordinating Your Plan-Putting Your Trust to Work 218

Trusts for the "Family" 227

Asset Protection Trusts 247

Offshore Asset Protection Trusts 261

Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) 269

Decanting Trusts 270

Special Purpose Trusts 271

Keep This in Mind 280

13 Probate, Trusts, and Taxes

Probate vs. Taxes 282

A Word About Our Tax System 282

What Is Included in Your Estate? 283

Taxable Value 288

Trusts and Income Taxes 289

Trust Tax Reporting Requirements and Tax Rates 293

What a Trust Beneficiary Needs to Know 297

The Federal Gift Tax 298

The Federal Estate Tax 304

The Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax 308

Tax-Oriented Trusts 310

Tax-Oriented Family Trusts 321

Keep This in Mind 341

14 Dealing with Lawyers

Hiring an Estate-Planning Lawyer 343

Hiring an Estate-Settlement Lawyer 345

Lawyers' Fees-Planning Estates 350

Lawyers' Fees-Settling Estates 352

Firing an Estate Lawyer 355

Keep This in Mind 358

Appendix: Personal Representative's Checklist 359

Glossary 367

Index 383

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