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 2015, that amount is $5.43 million. The amount is indexed for inflation, so it goes up…

Legacy Letters And Ethical Wills

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…

Who Should I Name As My Executor?

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…

Whether to Qualify as Executor or Administrator of a Virginia Estate

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…

What Is Probate? What Should I Do about It?

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…

Resigning as Administrator or Executor of a Virginia Estate

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.…

Modifying and Terminating Irrevocable Trusts under Virginia's Uniform Trust Code

Your browser is not able to display frames. Please visit the mind map: Modifying & Terminating Irrevocable Trusts under Virginias Trust Code by Alvi Aggarwal Yates Campbell & Hoeg LLPs Trust Code by Alvi Aggarwal Yates Campbell & Hoeg LLP on Mind Mapping - MindMeister. As time passes, circumstances change.…

Funding: How to Get Things into a Trust

Let’s start with some jargon. "Funding" a trust is what estate planning lawyers call the process of getting assets into a trust. When we say something is in a trust, owned by a trust, or funded to a trust, we're being a bit imprecise. Traditionally, trusts don’t own…

The Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs

A “power of attorney” is a legal document in which a person, called the "princial," (let's say that's you) appoints another person, called an "agent," to act for the principal in a specified capacity. Often, a power of attorney is "general," giving the agent broad powers to manage the principal's…

Transferring Real Estate to A Revocable Trust by Deed

Real estate includes your house, condo, vacation home, commercial building, and similar properties. Generally, a person who has a revocable trust will want that trust to be the owner and/or beneficiary of most of his/her assets: the purposes of the trust are served only as to the assets…

Transferring Mortgaged Real Estate to Your Revocable Trust

(or: why we have to ask the mortgage company for permission to transfer the rental property but not the house) People usually establish revocable trusts to facilitate the management of their assets if they become incapacitated and to avoid probate. Those purposes are only accomplished to the extent the trusts…

Organ Donation--Not Just a Yes or No Choice

When you go the DMV for a drivers license, you might check a box regarding organ donation. At the DMV in Virginia, organ donation is a yes or no question. You either check the box to become a donor or leave to box blank to not to become a donor…

Resigning as Trustee

Many people seem to think of being a trustee as being like having a job. But, in many ways, being a trustee is nothing like a job. The difference is particularly important when it comes to resigning. Quitting a job is often a matter of sending a resignation letter, whereas…

About Alvi Aggarwal

Specific Things I Do Create wills, trusts (all kinds), powers of attorney, and medical directives Assist with probate of wills and the carrying out the instructions in wills Help trustees administer trusts properly Advise beneficiaries about their rights Create and alter business entities Best Part of My Job My clients.…

What's an Independent Trustee?

Depending of the terms you've selected for your trust, your attorney might tell you that you need to choose an "independent trustee." Who can you choose? It depends on the provisions of your trust. You should check with your lawyer before choosing your independent trustee, as your lawyer's documents may…

Revocable Trusts vs. Wills

Are Revocable Trusts better than Wills? As far as content goes, wills and revocable trusts (which are also called or revocable living trusts or living trusts) can be made to do the same things. Both can contain provisions for estate tax planning, and both can create a trust to protect…

Choosing a Business Entity: S-Corp vs. LLC?

When you form a business, you have two choices to make: you have to choose a state law entity and you have to choose a tax status. The world of state law entities is largely, but not entirely, separate from the world of tax status. In reality, these two choices…

Preventing the Donation of Your Organs

It's easy enough to avoid checking the organ donation box at the DMV, but that may not be enough to ensure that your organs aren't donated. If you don't check that box, someone else will be able to make a decision regarding the donation of your organs upon your death.…

The Basics of Premarital Agreements

This is a guest post by Sonali Khadilkar, who practices family law in DC and Virginia. Sonali is the owner of Khadilkar Law PLLC, which has offices in Washington, DC and Vienna, Virginia. Sonali blogs here. Couples planning a wedding should also plan for the legal aspects of a marriage.…

Trusts for Kids and Spouses

Trusts give you control Trusts give you control over who gets what, how, when, and why. Protect and Provide for Kids Let's say Henry leaves his teenage daughter, Caroline, $100,000 outright in his will. When Henry dies, Caroline can do whatever she please with that money. Henry would prefer…

Types of Trusts

There are different types of trusts common in estate planning. Created in Will or Separate Document For the most part, trusts are either created in a will or in a trust agreement or declaration. Trusts created in a will are called "testamentary trusts." Since these trusts are written into the…

How Irrevocable Trusts Work

There are many ways to conceptualize how irrevocable trusts work. I'm going to explain two, and I’m going to call them the Bucket Model and the Sticks Model. The Bucket Model Think of a trust as a bucket. A really big bucket. So you have this bucket/trust. You…

How Wills Work: Revoking and Changing

What are the effects of a will during the lifetime of the will-maker? Wills don't take effect until the death of the testator (i.e., the person who wrote the will). The process that gives a will legal effect is called probate. The probate of a will cannot happen untel…

Making a Will in Virginia: Requirements

Wills are governed by state law, and every state has different rules. This post is about the rules in Virginia. Who Can Make a Will? Capacity To make a will, a person must have "capacity." In Virginia, that means the person has to be at least 18 years old (or…