Estate Planning FAQs

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Estate Planning: How to Get Going
and Why Not to Do It Yourself


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Statistical studies show that 55% of Americans die without a will or estate plan.  This free program informs the non-lawyer public how to start estate planning (wills, powers of attorney and trusts) by providing a set of practical first steps.  Our panel of lawyer and trust officer experts will also explain why simply signing a will or power of attorney with a “do it yourself” plan may actually be worse than doing nothing, costing a “special needs” family member the loss of government benefits or resulting in an ex-spouse inheriting assets. The program is intended for the general public and does not require a background in the law of wills or trusts or tax.




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Click on this link to listen Webinar originally recorded on October 23, 2014. This webinar will expire in October 2015.

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Estate Planning Overview

Estate, Gift, and GST Taxes

Glossary of Estate Planning Terms


An Introduction to Wills

Frequently Asked Questions about Wills

What Happens If You Die Without A Will?

What A Will Does

What A Will Does Not Do

How To Execute a Will

Types of Non-probate Property

Jointly Owned Property


Annuities and Retirement Benefits

Life Insurance


Revocable Trusts

What is a Revocable Living Trust?


Power of Attorney

Questions Regarding Power-of-Attorney


Who Should Be Your Agent?

How The Agent Should Sign?

Beyond Signing Checks

State Laws Vary

What if I move?

Will my Power of Attorney expire?


Living Wills, Health Care Proxies,
and Advance Health Care Directives

Questions Regarding Living Wills


Living Wills

Health Care Proxy

Why Have Health Directives?

Obtaining and Maintaining Living Wills and Health Care Proxies

Organ and Tissue Donation

Communication is the Key

Other Resources on Living Wills


The Probate Process

What is Probate?

Should you Avoid Probate?


Planning With Retirement Benefits


Income Taxation of Qualified Plans and IRAs

Distribution of Plan Assets to the Participant

Distribution of Plan Assets After the Participant's Death

Estate Tax Considerations

Planning Considerations


Guidelines for Individual Executors and Trustees


Understanding The Will

Managing Estate Assets

Handling Debts & Expenses

Funding the Bequests

Trust Administration

Closing the Estate

Common Questions


The Lawyer's Role and "Do It Yourself" Estate Planning

What is the Lawyer's Role?

Do It Yourself Estate Planning


Asset Protection Planning

Overview of Asset Protection Planning


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The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only, do not constitute legal advice, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the American Bar Association, the Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law or any member of the Section. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between any attorney and any other person, group or entity. No representations or warranties whatsoever, express or implied, are given as to the accuracy or applicability of the information contained herein. No one should rely upon the information contained herein as constituting legal advice. The information may be modified or rendered incorrect by future legislative or judicial developments and may not be applicable to any individual reader’s facts and circumstances.