The example of Anna Nicole Smith – Tidy up your estate

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alternative beneficiaries and state your intentions towards unborn children. We represented a welder who died fixing the damaged Pentagon after 9/11. He left behind a teenager as well as a child who was born after he died. We were successful before the Workers’ Compensation Commission in getting an award for benefits for both children as the result of this fatal workplace accident. His two daughters have been sharing equally in the proceeds.

Appoint a guardian
If a parent dies, the other parent generally gets custody. However, you should name a guardian in your will if the other parent is not available or if both parents perish at the same time. If you believe that the other parent is unfit, outline your
reasons. Indicate who you want raising your children, and hope the court agrees.

Design your own funeral
Putting your burial and funeral instructions in your will can help avoid family fighting or confusion. A living will might make the process even easier, as it may be more readily available to survivors and loved ones than a regular will. Have a lawyer write and review the document to make sure the terms are legally enforceable. Put the same instructions in your will, and give your executor the authority to pay the funeral bills out of the estate. Funerals can be very expensive. Avoid saddling loved ones with the costs.

Legalize your love
Depending in what state you live, getting married entitles your surviving spouse to half the property you acquire during your marriage, or to a significant portion of your estate. Some states give these same rights to domestic partners. Find out
what protection your state provides so that someone important to you is not neglected or shut out entirely when you pass away.

Tie up loose ends
When there is no will, it is not money that causes the majority of disputes. Rather, it is children (their custody and upbringing), burial and funeral arrangements, religion, special items of sentimental value, and real estate that lead to family feuds, unnecessary lawsuits, and expenses. If there are special things and/or people in your life, make sure they are included in your will. You get the last word, so make it count. Unpleasant to think about? Yes, but necessary. If you would like to make or change a will, or want to have a “living will,” please call us so we can assist you.

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