Colorado Springs Legal Blog

Heirs accuse singer-songwriter's widow of deceit

Did the widow of singer-songwriter Sir Mack Rice, the legendary composer of Mustang Sally and other iconic hits, defraud her husband while he was alive?

That's essentially the allegation by one of the songwriter's sons from another relationship. The son has filed a lawsuit on behalf of his father's estate claiming that Rice's widow conspired with a company called Music Royalty Consulting to get Rice to sign over his rights to some of his creations for a fraction of their value. The lawsuit aims to have the sale contracts voided based on the fact that Rice had dementia at the time of their signing.

How to discuss estate planning with your parents

If you have not yet brought up the subject of estate planning with your parents, you are not alone. Many families are just not comfortable talking about money around each other and the subject of death is never easy to bring up. Your parents may have also shied away from the subject because they feel insecure about discussing their finances or they may believe they will lose control of their money. 

The pros and cons of incentive trusts

Are you worried that the wealth you intend to pass on to your heirs will cause those heirs to lose their focus and falter on the path to personal success?

It does happen. Fortunately, something called an incentive trust can allow you to use wealth as a motivator and help you guide your heirs to a better future.

Who is the best conservator and guardian for your loved one?

What happens when an elderly loved one needs someone to handle his or her financial affairs as a conservator? What if they also need someone to take charge of their day-to-day welfare as a legal guardian? Is it better to have a family member of a professional handle the job?

It depends. There are some very good professionals out there who can assist family members with their elderly loved ones by either handling the conservatorship or guardianship entirely or by just advising the family members who are willing to take on the jobs. A competent professional can often ease family tensions -- especially if there are allegations of elder abuse or financial manipulation. Professionals can often resolve a lot of issues when family members can't agree on how to handle a senior's affairs by providing unbiased guidance.

Celebrities often bypass their heirs in wills

Do you have an obligation to pass your wealth on to your children?

You may feel a certain moral obligation to do so, but there's no legal obligation forcing you to leave your children anything, no matter what your wealth.

If your child is disabled, talk about the future early

Wills and inheritances are often tricky issues, simply because there are usually a lot of different dynamics in play. Everything can become even more complicated, however, when one of your children is disabled.

If one of your adult children is disabled, there are several issues you need to address with your other children. The sooner you do it, the better. You don't want to leave your children shocked and upset over the terms of your will while they're also in the process of grieving for you. That could lead to a potentially explosive situation that could quickly turn into litigation.

Two things you need to talk to your college student about today

It won't be long before college freshmen will be returning home for winter break with one full semester under their belts. In all the excitement of getting your son or daughter ready for college, there are two very important things that you probably neglected to discuss: financial and medical powers of attorney (POA).

While it may seem hard to believe, your child is a young adult now. Once your child reaches the age of 18, you no longer have the ability to step in and handle things for them -- even in an emergency. Just like any other adult, your son or daughter needs to formally designate someone to handle their affairs if there's some reason they can't manage them. A POA document can do this.

Elder financial abuse: what is it and what to do about it

You may not realize that many individuals in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are susceptible to financial exploitation.

Financial exploitation and abuse is much more common than people realize. One in 20 elders have experienced financial exploitation, but only one in 44 cases get reported.

Don't assume an estate must go through probate

Probate courts oversee the administration of a deceased individual's estate as assets are passed on to that person's heirs -- but it isn't always a necessary process.

Whether probate is necessary often depends on the estate itself. Generally speaking, small estates and estates where arrangements have been made to pass the assets on by other means don't have to go through probate.

Estate battle involves multiple courts, allegations of murder

Most estate battles don't attract a great deal of attention, but there are exceptions. A dispute involving the spendthrift trust fund of a millionaire's grandson has spawned lawsuits in three states. Its dramatic background and complexity have drawn national interest.

At issue in a Connecticut courtroom is whether or not the 25-year-old beneficiary can have the trustees, his maternal aunts, removed for failing to fulfill their fiduciary duty on his behalf. They refuse to release additional funds to him from the existing trust for his alleged legal needs while seeking in another court to end his entitlement to the funds altogether.

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