Russ Cook & Associates, PC

Brentwood Estate Planning And Business Blog

How do I handle my parent's debt in probate?

The death of a parent can be a devastating loss for any child. Unfortunately, it can become even more difficult to handle when a parent has left behind considerable debt. 

According to this report from the Associated Press, this is not an uncommon scenario. In fact, roughly 50 percent of seniors pass away owning less than $10,000 in assets. And increasingly, they are leaving behind mortgages, credit card balances and other types of debt. As such, it is important to know what to do if your parent will leave or has left debt after his or her passing.

Study reveals gaps in parents' plans for special needs children

Every parent has a lot to worry about when it comes to their children, whether it's their health and nutrition or their ambitions for the future. In all this congestion of concern, it can be easy to overlook certain planning tools that can provide critical safety nets, like estate plans.

Having an estate plan is vital in protecting the care and resources your child will receive after parents pass away. Unfortunately, many parents do not have any such plan in place. This includes fewer than half of parents of special needs children, according to a recent study.

Gun trusts: An estate plan for your firearms

With firearms legislation once again in the headlines, savvy firearms owners should consider creating a gun trust as part of a larger estate plan. A gun trust is a trust created to hold ownership of firearms, allowing them to be passed down for future generations. Generally gun trusts are created for restricted firearms, but can include other weapon types.

Title II Firearms

4 things to consider when your business pivots

Change is inevitable for small businesses today. And whether you change your products, your branding efforts or your targeted customer base, making changes to how you operate can have a significant impact on a business. 

Recently, an article in Forbes discussed signs that it might be time to "pivot" as a business, or to change how a business operates. If you feel you are seeing these signs and you are ready for such a change, then there are some legal elements you should consider as well.

3 critical mistakes to avoid when setting up a trust

Estate planning is an area of law where people can easily get confused and overwhelmed. Add to this the fact that it can involve uncomfortable subject matter, and it can prove to be a much more challenging process than people anticipate. However, all this is not to say you should ignore or minimize the importance of having a comprehensive estate plan in place.

If you do not take estate planning seriously and spend some time crafting a satisfactory plan, you could be making some costly mistakes for which your loved ones could ultimately pay the price. For instance, in the context of a trust, there are missteps that could make your trust planning ineffective.

Don't forget to update your estate plan after divorce

Divorce is a major life event that roughly half of married couples will experience at some point. And whether the divorce is amicable or contentious, it will typically have a considerable impact on a person's future.

This includes the future that you planned for when you created an estate plan. 

Who will take care of my pet when I die?

For many people, a pet is more than just an animal. A pet can be a cherished friend and a beloved member of the family. But what would happen to your pet after you pass away? Would a family member adopt him, or would he end up in a shelter?

Because the legal system considers animals private property rather than family members, it is not possible to leave money directly to your pet. Fortunately, there is still a way for you to ensure your pet’s continued wellbeing after you are deceased: A pet trust.

How long does probate take?

When someone passes away, his or her estate will generally go through probate. This process legitimizes the person's will (if there is one) and distributes the assets and liabilities of the estate.

Probate can be a frustrating, technical process and family members often wonder how long it will take. Unfortunately, there is no fixed timeline with regard to probate. However, there are elements that can make it shorter and elements that can extend it.

Failure to plan a big mistake for big families, big estates

We often discuss the fact that estate planning is not something reserved for the ultra wealthy. Every person can benefit from having estate planning documents in place.

That being said, if you do you have a large estate, then estate planning will be especially critical. The same holds true if you have a large family, as well. In these situations, dying without a solid, comprehensive plan in place can lead to months or even years of legal battles.

A plan for Fido: pet trusts and estate planning

Estate planning is incredibly important for those with significant assets. The families left behind after the death of a loved one can take some comfort in financial security and be safeguarded from tax burdens.

For many of us, the family we leave behind is not made solely of human beings. Our pets are often just as important to our quality of life and give us as much love as the rest of our family. In the event of our death, we want to be sure those animals are taken care of and continue to have a good life.

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