Thomas H. Sullivan

Attorney at Law

Probate

What if I Can Find Only Photocopies or Digital Copies of My Estate Planning Documents?

Posted on: September 17th, 2021
If you were to ask attorneys across the country how often they get phone calls like the following, the answer (“Very frequently”) may surprise you. The phone call might go something like this: “Hi, this is John Jones. My dad, Bill Jones, passed away recently and we have torn the house apart looking for his estate planning documents. But despite our best efforts, we can’t find his will or trust anywhere! I know he did an estate plan with your office a few years ago, but we are at a total loss trying to find the original documents. Please tell me that you have the originals stored at your office?”...

Defining Fair Market Value

Posted on: May 2nd, 2021
When reading through a will or trust agreement, you may see language that grants a right to an individual to purchase certain property from the estate or trust at “fair market value.” At first glance, this phrase may seem a perfectly reasonable method of setting a suitable purchase price for a property to be sold at a later date. But a recent court case out of Virginia teaches an important lesson to those who have a will or a trust that relies solely on the term “fair market value” to set a future price of property....

Planning Considerations for Unmarried Partners

Posted on: April 12th, 2021
When it comes to protecting your unmarried partner, there are several options to consider. Depending on the value of your money and property, your desired level of protection from your partner’s creditors, and other factors unique to your situation, one or more of these strategies may be beneficial. A word of caution: regardless of what methods you use, you must work with an experienced estate planning attorney. While do-it-yourself options may be cheaper, they can sometimes create more problems than they solve, and the problems can be expensive to remedy....

All in the Family: Understanding Common Legal Terms

Posted on: April 8th, 2021
While watching a movie or reading a book about wealthy individuals and their families, you may have come across terms such as “heir,” “descendant,” and “next of kin.” Though made-for-Hollywood storylines use these terms interchangeably, words describing familial relationships have distinct definitions. Using the correct terms is critical in wills, trusts, and other legal documents because words have significant implications. The wrong word can lead the courts to incorrectly interpret your documents and therefore cause an unintended result. Here are a few commonly confused words, their proper meanings, and some usage scenarios....

What If No One Wants My Stuff?

Posted on: February 28th, 2021
A critical question to ask yourself when creating an estate plan is who will get your stuff when you pass on? While most people think about who they would like to receive the major items—homes, retirement accounts, savings—personal property such as jewelry, clothing, sports equipment, vehicles, and other possessions are often overlooked. The truth is that while some mementos and sentimental items may be very valuable to you, the people that you want to give them to at your death may not need or want them. Who, then, will get your remaining property and possessions if no one wants them?...

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?...
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