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Kim v. Kim is about the “benefit” required to establish a presumption of undue influence in the testamentary context. At the time of his death, Scott Kim was married to Lili Kim. He had two children from a prior relationship. Eight days before his death, while receiving treatment for a terminal condition, Scott executed a revocable trust and a pour-over will. Scott’s brother, Brian Kim, who is an attorney, prepared the documents. The trust contains…
In Irving v. DiVito, the Virginia Supreme Court determined the circuit court did not err in refusing to admit to probate a writing offered as a holographic codicil. The writing at issue in Irving is clear about the intended dispositive outcome—to disinherit someone. But the question at the core of this case is whether the testator intended the writing to have testamentary effect, i.e., whether it is authentic. The circuit and Virginia Supreme courts…
In Reineck v. Lemen, 792 S.E.2d 269 (Va. 2016), the Virginia Supreme Court interpreted a power of attorney to allow the agent thereunder to change the principal’s estate plan. The opinion is interesting for what it reveals about the granting of hot powers (powers that, by statute, must be specifically granted) and certain duties of agents. Facts This case is about the estate plans of Frank and Jane, a married couple. Frank had two…
What’s a Credit Shelter Trust? Portability? The estate tax exemption amount is the amount that the federal government allows you to leave to your kids, grandkids, and people other than your spouse and charity without paying estate tax. In Alvi Aggarwal 3 min read…
The estate tax exemption amount is the amount that the federal government allows you to leave to your kids, grandkids, and people other than your spouse and charity without paying estate tax. In 2015, that amount is $5.43 million. The amount is indexed for inflation, so it goes up every year (unless the law changes, of course). Let’s say George and Martha are married and have a few kids. Martha has $6 million, and George…
Across history and cultures, people have been writing letters to descendants to share wisdom, preserve traditions, record family history, explain, and inspire. These letters have been called different things, but today they’re most commonly known as ethical wills or legacy letters. And they still have an important role to play in today’s estate plans. In addition to the valuable purposes these letters have always served, they can also help diffuse conflicts over assets and increase heirs’…
Your executor will be responsible for dealing with your probate estate (i.e., the assets passing under your will) after your death. An executor’s responsibilities include things like finding and inventorying your assets (including the ones in your basement or attic), dealing with the clerk of the court and the commissioner of accounts, filing tax returns, and hiring an attorney if necessary, among many other responsibilities. State law imposes some limitations on who you can name,…
When a person dies and has an estate that needs administration, a person has to qualify before the clerk of the court before he/she can do that administering. Being named in the will is not enough. Qualification is the process that gives a person legal authority to act as the personal representative (or executor or administrator) of an estate. There is no obligation to qualify. Even a person named as an executor or administator in…
Probate, Qualification, and Estate Administration Probate, technically, is the process by which a will is accepted as valid by a court (or the clerk of the court). The term is often used more loosely (as I will use it) to also encompass the qualification of the personal representative and the administration of the estate (the court-supervised process by which the assets are distributed). Not All Assets Go Through Probate. Generally, assets that an individual owns…
Question: I qualified as an administrator of my aunt’s estate. I don’t want to be an administrator any more. What can I do? Answer: An administrator (or executor) can resign; however, resigning isn’t as easy as qualifying. To resign, a personal representative needs the permission of the court. Section 64.2-1424 of the Virginia Code says “The circuit court in which or before the clerk of which a fiduciary qualified may allow any personal representative, guardian,…