Wills and Probate Articles & FAQs

Arranging to Donate Your Body
Here are the legal basics of full body donations.
Arranging to Donate Your Organs
What to do if you want to donate your organs after death.
Charitable Trusts: Tax Breaks for Do-Gooders
If you want to give a big gift to charity, consider a charitable trust.
Checklist for Getting Your Financial Affairs in Order
Take the following steps to help your family should you die or become incapacitated.
Choosing a Guardian for Your Children
If you have young children, you should choose a personal guardian — someone to raise them in the highly unlikely event you can't.
Choosing an Executor FAQ
Who should you pick—and must that person serve?
Choosing Your Healthcare Agent
Suggestions for naming the right person to direct your medical care if you are unable to do so yourself.
Do You Need Life Insurance?
Not everyone needs life insurance. Find out whether or not you do.
Duty of Medical Personnel to Honor Your Healthcare Directives
Know when healthcare providers must follow your instructions for medical care — and when they may not.
Estate and Gift Tax FAQ
Most estates don't owe tax, but it pays to be informed. Here's a palatable introduction to estate and gift tax laws.
Family Members' Right to Inherit
Only the closest relatives have a right to claim part of your estate.
FAQ for Executors
You have been chosen as an executor of someone's will. Here's how to get the answers and the help you need.
Final Arrangements FAQ
Planning some of the details of your final ceremonies and the disposition of your body can be a great relief to your survivors. Here are a few things to consider.
Get Organized Now
Make your executor's job easier, and help out your family, by getting your paperwork in order.
Getting Your Retirement Money Early — Without Penalty
Just can't wait for your retirement funds? Painless advice on how to get the money you've socked away for retirement — if you need it right now.
How Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances Work
Here's the simple way to arrange for someone to handle your finances if you can't.
How Healthcare Directives Work
It's smart to make legal documents setting out your wishes for healthcare in case you are ever unable to speak for yourself.
How Living Trusts Avoid Probate
Here's the lowdown on basic probate-avoiding living trusts.
Is It Time to Change Your Estate Plan?
Make sure that it reflects your current wishes.
Leaving Property to Young Children
It's easy to arrange for someone to manage any property you leave to young children.
Life Insurance Options
When it comes to choosing a life insurance policy, you may feel dazed by your options. Here are the basic types and the pros and cons of each.
Living Trust FAQ
An introduction to living trusts — a popular way to avoid probate.
Married Couples: Who Owns What?
Be sure you know what property is yours to leave or give away.
Probate FAQ
The basics about probate.
Reducing Estate Tax by Making Gifts
Making gifts during your life can provide you with tax savings and more.
Reducing Estate Taxes by Transferring Ownership of Your Life Insurance Policy
You can lower your beneficiaries' estate tax burden by making sure you don't own your life insurance policy when you die.
Retirement Plan FAQ
Quick answers to common questions about retirement plans, including 401(k) plans, IRAs, Keoghs and SEPs.
Tax-Saving AB Trusts
Couples can save a bundle on estate taxes with this kind of trust.
The Estate Tax Is Dead (Maybe)
After years of debate, Congress passed legislation that will gradually repeal the estate tax by 2010.
The Executor's Job
What's involved in wrapping up an estate.
The Perils of Prepayment Plans
Tips on shopping for funeral goods and services.
Top Myths About Retirement Plans
Test your knowledge to see how much you know about taking your money out.
Using Life Insurance to Provide for Your Kids
Life insurance may be a good source of income for your children if you die. Here's what you should know.
What You Can Cover in Your Healthcare Directives
An overview of some important issues you'll face when preparing documents directing your medical care.
What You Can't Do in Your Will
Wills aren't the place to handle certain kinds of property or issues.
Wills FAQ
What you need to know about the most basic estate planning document.
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