Thomas H. Sullivan

Attorney at Law

Beneficiaries

Ways to Leave Your Real Estate to Your Loved Ones

Posted on: February 16th, 2021
Owning real estate continues to be a very popular investment vehicle for individuals and couples alike. One attractive feature of investing in real estate is that investment property can also double as a personal residence. In other cases, real estate investments may be rental, recreational, commercial, or farm properties. Whatever the case, it is important to understand that real estate can be owned in several ways, each of which has important legal consequences when it comes to leaving that real estate to your loved ones upon your death. Failing to understand how you legally own your real estate and how it will be passed on to your loved ones can lead to unintended, and often negative, consequences....

Including Noncitizens in Your Estate Planning

Posted on: February 3rd, 2021
With our society becoming increasingly mobile and international travel becoming more affordable than ever before, families and family-like relationships have steadily grown far more diverse in terms of citizenship. It is no longer uncommon for spouses from different countries to retain citizenship in their native countries. Many couples split their time between the United States and another country to be near their families and enjoy the many benefits of such a lifestyle. In addition, it is not uncommon for a couple’s children or other loved ones to move away from their country of origin and take up permanent residence abroad, or even renounce their home country citizenship, depending on their choices of careers or domestic partners or other considerations....

My Loved One Has Died: As an Heir or Beneficiary, Do I Need an Attorney?

Posted on: January 30th, 2021
You just found out that your favorite aunt, Aunt Melba, has died. In the midst of your grief and sadness, you receive a notice from the attorney handling Aunt Melba's affairs stating that you are a beneficiary. Your best friend advises you to get an attorney. What should you do? Will Aunt Melba's attorney help you? After all, Aunt Melba's attorney has been helping your family for years. Since this attorney knows Melba and the family affairs, shouldn't her attorney be able to help you as well?...

You Inherited a Retirement Account

Posted on: December 21st, 2020
It is increasingly common for an IRA or 401k to be the highest value item of property that an American owns. For purposes of estate planning, however, it is important to understand that very special rules apply to these types of accounts. Gone are the days when you can write up a quick will or trust and be assured that everything you own will pass to your heirs or beneficiaries according to the terms of those legal documents. Instead, it has become critically important for families to understand both the laws applicable to wills and trusts and the complex laws governing retirement plans. ...

All in the Family

Posted on: October 13th, 2020
The notion of fairness often pervades family dynamics and may continue even beyond death when decisions about dividing accounts and property arise. The law has attempted to address different notions of fairness with a variety of distribution strategies. Per stirpes, by representation, and per capita are key terms in wills and trust agreements that specify the way money and property are to be equitably divided. As you explore these distribution methods, observe how they achieve fairness in different ways and with different results....

What Happens If My Beneficiary Dies Before Me?

Posted on: September 30th, 2020
When planning for death, most people assume they will die before their beneficiaries (e.g., their spouse, children, and grandchildren). While these assumptions are often well-founded, they do not always come to pass. Sometimes a beneficiary of an estate or trust dies before the person leaving the inheritance. If this has happened to you, you may be wondering what is next. How does this event impact your original plans? The truth is, it depends on a number of factors. Lawyers call this scenario having a predeceased beneficiary. ...
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