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Avoiding Oregon Probate Mistakes

For most people, probate is a confusing process. Misunderstandings can lead to headaches, delays and even extra costs that reduce a person’s estate. Here’s how to avoid common Oregon probate mistakes. The Oregon Probate Process Probate is a legal process in which a...

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What Happens to My Facebook Page if I Die?

As social media has become engrained in our everyday lives, the question of what happens to these accounts after the accountholder dies has taken on importance. Here’s what happens to your Facebook page is you die – and why you might want to take action now. Two...

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What’s the Difference Between Estate Tax and Gift Tax?

If you want to give a large amount of money to someone, there’s a good chance it will result in a tax burden. This is true whether you decide to transfer the money while you’re alive or after your death as part of your estate. However, estate tax and gift tax differ...

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The Oregon Small Estate Probate Shortcut

It’s not always possible to avoid probate. Although many people want to skip the long court process, some estates simply require. However, for some smaller estates in Oregon, a probate shortcut is possible. What Is Probate? Probate is a legal process in which a court...

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Oregon Advance Directives: Questions & Answers

Have you considered what would happen if you fell into a coma and couldn’t tell people what care you wanted to receive? Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. It often rips families apart as they fight over what their loved one would want. Oregon advance...

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Will You Have to Pay Death Taxes in Oregon?

When an estate passes from a decedent to heirs, Uncle Sam may take a piece. Taxes are not always owed on estates, but they can be substantial when they are. To avoid an unpleasant surprise, be prepared for death taxes in Oregon. The Two Types of Death Taxes As we...

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Can You Decline an Inheritance? Understanding the Process

You’ve just found out you’re going to receive an inheritance. There’s just one problem: you don’t want it. Can you decline an inheritance? It is possible, but, before you do anything, you should make sure you understand all your options and the possible consequences....

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When and How Should You Contest a Will?

People create a last will and testament (often simply called a will) because they want their wishes to be known after they pass. However, a person’s will is not always the final word on the matter. In some cases, it is possible to contest a will. Reasons for...

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Hollywood Estate Planning Gone Wrong

Estate planning is NOT just for the rich and famous. Everyone should have an estate plan in place to ensure that their wishes for their assets and their healthcare decisions are followed. That being said, when the rich and famous make estate planning mistakes, the...

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How to Protect Your Loved Ones from Financial Elder Abuse

Financial elder abuse is unfortunately common, meaning your loved ones may be at risk. Learn the warning signs and be proactive with your financial planning to protect your parents and other loved ones from these schemes. What Is Financial Elder Abuse? Investopedia...

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Estate Planning for Family Heirlooms

Since family heirlooms can hold both sentimental and financial value, making sure the right person inherits them is an important aspect of estate planning. However, common mistakes and oversights can lead to family squabbles and may result in heirlooms falling into...

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Estate Planning and Charitable Giving

If you want to leave a legacy and make a difference, consider making charitable giving part of your estate plan. With the right estate planning and charitable giving strategies, you can maximize your donation while minimizing the tax burden. Many Americans Are Making...

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How Vehicles Are Handled in Probate

After a house, a car is often the most valuable piece of property a person owns. Cars can also have practical value as well as sentimental value. When you put this all together, it’s clear that how vehicles are handled in probate can be a key issue for an executor or...

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Oregon Probate Law Without a Will: What Happens to an Estate?

A will lets the courts know how decedents want their assets distributed – but what happens when someone dies without a will? Unfortunately, this does occur – a situation known as dying intestate. When this happens, state intestate succession laws determine the...

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How to Find the Right Oregon Estate Planning Attorney

You’ve decided to tackle your estate plan, or you’re dealing with probate or a trust, and now you need to find an Oregon estate planning attorney. Estate planning is an important matter that will impact not only your future but also the future of your loved ones, so...

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Do You Need A Will or A Trust?

When people think about estate planning, they often think about wills. The will – or more formally, the last will and testament – is a fundamental estate planning tool. However, it’s not the only estate planning tool, and depending on your situation, it may not be...

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Estate Planning for Childless Adults: Key Issues to Tackle

More Americans are deciding not to have children. According to Pew Research Center, 44% of adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who don’t have children say it is not too likely or not likely at all that they will have children someday. This is an increase of 7% from...

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Estate Planning Lessons from the Rich and Famous

It might seem like the rich and famous live in a different world sometimes, but they actually have a lot in common with average Joes. This is especially true when it comes to estate planning. The estate values of celebrities and business moguls might be larger, but...

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What Are the Building Blocks of Estate Planning?

Of the two “certainties” Mark Twain described in life (death and taxes), regular check-ups for ‘health’ should include your estate planning. Estate planning strategies can have real benefits of decreasing taxes while extending your quality of life. How often to have...

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Digital Estate Planning: How to Manage Your Posthumous Profile

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, digital estate management has become the forefront of a family’s financial and social portfolio. Knowing how to prepare these accounts for an inevitable death and how to access and manage them after death is crucial towards...

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Is There An Oregon Inheritance Tax? What You Need to Know

It’s said that nothing can be certain except death and taxes. Sometimes, the two coincide. After a person dies, their estate may be subject to taxes. However, despite the common saying, death taxes are not always certain. Whether or not an estate is subject to taxes...

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NFT and Cryptocurrency Estate Planning

More Americans are investing in cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). If these people lose their passwords, they may lose access to their accounts – possibly forever. As more people buy crypto, this is becoming a significant concern in estate planning....

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Same-Sex Estate Planning Issues

Same-sex couples have to deal with all of the estate planning issues that straight couples face, but they may also encounter a few extra issues. This makes solid estate planning especially important. Marriage and Children Since 2015, same-sex marriage has been legally...

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Ginger Skinner of Skinner Law Named to 2022 Best Lawyers® List

If you’re looking for legal excellence, look no further than The Best Lawyers in America® list. This guide has established a reputation as the go-to source for reliable and unbiased legal referrals. Ginger Skinner is delighted to be included in the 2022 edition. "Best...

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Probate Mistakes: Three Scenarios You Want to Avoid

During probate, a court oversees the distribution of a person’s estate. It can be a complicated process, but proper estate planning can help it go smoothly. Unfortunately, many people don’t take advantage of the estate planning options available to them. According to...

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Personal Property Probate: Paying the Creditors of an Estate

If you’re the beneficiary of an estate, you might be expecting a nice inheritance – but don’t go spending that money quite yet. Before heirs can receive their inheritance, the estate’s creditors must be paid. This typically occurs during the probate process, and it...

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What Long-Term Care Costs Mean for Estate Planning and Probate

Long-term care costs can devastate an estate. When a person dies owing money for long-term care, an lien may be put on any property the deceased owns, and a claim may be made against the estate. Here’s what you need to know about long-term care costs and personal...

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Do You Need a Probate Bond?

If you’re serving as the personal representative of an estate, you’re taking on a big responsibility. As the personal representative, you’re tasked with making an inventory of the estate’s assets, paying debts and distributing the remaining assets to heirs. A court...

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Do I Need a Probate Court Attorney?

After a person dies, the estate typically has to go through probate, a legal process in which a court oversees the distribution of assets and payment of debts according to the terms of the will. Although probate can sometimes be avoided through estate planning, it is...

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How Handwritten Wills Can Cause Headaches

The concept of a will is fairly simple. You want to tell others how your estate should be distributed after your death, so you state your wishes in a document. In reality, however, wills can get complicated. This is especially true when handwritten wills are involved....

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Legal Guardianship for Children: Key Considerations

Estate planning is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for parents with minor children. In addition to deciding how to distribute your assets, you must also make decisions to ensure that your children will be properly cared for. This includes making...

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How to Talk to Your Family About Estate Planning Now

Your estate plan shouldn’t be a secret. According to CNBC, a poll found that 32% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 got a will because of COVID-19. It’s good that the pandemic is prompting people to tackle their estate plans, but if the pandemic is also...

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What Happens When You Die in Debt?

What happens when you die in debt? It’s a question that more and more Americans are probably asking themselves. According to Experian, U.S. consumer debt reached a record high of $14.1 trillion in 2019. This total includes $9.6 trillion in mortgage loans, $1.4...

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Do You Really Know What Will Happen to Your Estate?

If you’re like many Americans, you don’t have an estate plan. Perhaps it’s because you don’t think you need one. You might assume that your assets are modest and your situation is simple, so you don’t need to bother with formal estate planning documents. This could be...

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Total Failure Clauses: How to Prepare for Worst-Case Scenarios

Estate planning is all about preparing for the worst-case scenarios. You’re making plans for what you want to happen after you’re gone, and those plans include how you want your assets to be distributed. But what happens if your original wishes can’t be carried out...

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Watch Out for These Fraudulent Estate Planning Scams

You create an estate plan to protect your assets and your heirs – but what if you end up being scammed in the process? Unfortunately, there are some bad actors out there, and many of them would love to get their hands on a person’s life savings. Watch out for these...

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How to Disinherit a Family Member and Why You May Want To

When someone dies, that person’s estate typically passes to any surviving spouse, children, or other close relatives. If a person dies intestate – without a will – the estate will likely be distributed this way under state law. But what if you don’t want one of your...

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Estate Planning is a Crucial Step in Your Emergency Preparedness

Recent events have shown Oregonians the importance of emergency planning. If you’re healthy and safe now, that’s good – but it doesn’t mean it’s time to relax. Another emergency will come, and you should take steps now to prepare for it. Develop an Emergency Plan Do...

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How Oregon Estate Planning Laws Deal with Deathbed Marriages

Wedding vows are often meant to last “till death do us part” – but what if death comes immediately after the wedding? Deathbed marriages, in which one spouse is terminally ill, can cause an estate planning nightmare. Here’s how they’re handled in Oregon. Why Do...

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The Slayer Statute in Oregon Estate Planning

When it comes to Oregon estate law, crime really doesn’t pay. Killing someone for the inheritance money may sound like something out of a mystery movie, but it’s common enough that there are estate laws that deal with the issue. Slayer Statutes, as they’re commonly...

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Elective Share: Spousal Rights in Oregon

What happens if one spouse disinherits the other? The answer, as with many complex legal questions, is that it depends. In Oregon, however, surviving spouses have the right to what is known as the spousal elective share. Key Terms to Know Before diving into the Oregon...

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Basic Estate Planning

Do you think that estate planning is important – for other people? You may be in for a surprise. Estate planning isn’t just for the rich or elderly. It’s for anyone with assets, whether they’re retirement plans, bank accounts, life insurance policies, property or...

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Wills and Trusts – What Are the Differences?

When you work on your estate plan, you’ll likely hear a lot about wills and trusts. These are two very important tools in estate planning, and although some people might get them confused, they serve different roles. What is a Will? The will, or the last will and...

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Estate Planning for Blended Families: Proactive Strategies

Love can blind us. When it comes to your estate plan, you need to make sure you’re seeing clearly. This is true for all people, but it’s especially important when dealing with the complications that come with blended families. With the right estate planning...

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If You Become Critically Ill: Urgent Estate Planning Measures

Life can change in the blink of an eye. One day, you might be healthy and happy. The next day, you could be facing a serious diagnosis. If you become critically ill, there are several urgent estate planning measures that you need to take. Create or Update Your Will...

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Probate Gone Wrong: When Good People Have Bad Estate Plans

You’ve probably heard that you need an estate plan. It’s true. Estate planning is important for every adult. But when it comes to estate plans, it’s not just a matter of whether you have one, yes or no. It’s also a matter of whether you have a good estate plan. After...

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What is Probate and How Long Does Probate Take?

Probate is a common process that many estates need to go through, but for anyone who has never encountered it before, it can be confusing. If you're dealing with probate for the first time, you probably have many basic questions about what probate is and how long it...

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Estate Planning Implications of COVID-19

Sometimes people are forced to face their own mortality. The COVID-19 pandemic has become one of those times. The current pandemic has shown how important estate planning and incapacity planning are. Get Your Estate Plan in Order If you’ve been putting off estate...

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Oregon Probate: What Does an Estate Executor Do?

After someone dies, the person’s estate needs to pay off any debts before the remaining assets can be distributed to the heirs. Often, this requires probate, a legal process overseen by a court. The personal representative, also called the executor of the estate, will...

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Oregon Probate FAQ

Dealing with probate? You probably have lots of questions. Don’t worry. We’ve got answers. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Oregon probate. Q: What exactly is probate? A: Probate is a legal process in which a court authenticates any...

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When Is Probate Required in Oregon? Six Scenarios

After a person dies, the estate may go into probate. Probate is a legal process in which a court oversees the payment of any debt and the distribution of the estate, according to the terms of the will, if there is one. Although probate is not always required, it is...

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Why Does Oregon Probate Take So Long?

If you’ve ever been involved in Oregon probate, you know that it can be a long and complicated process. The time needed can vary significantly – a simple case might require a few months, while a more difficult case might drag on for years. This can be frustrating for...

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How to Broach Estate Planning Topics During the Holidays

When you get together with your relatives this holiday season, you may decide to avoid topics like politics and religion. To keep the peace, this is probably a good idea. But there’s one difficult topic that you might not want to avoid: estate planning. Although...

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Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples: Why It’s Essential

Estate planning is essential for all couples, and this includes same sex couples. Now that same sex marriage is recognized throughout the U.S., some estate planning aspects have been simplified. However, there are still issues that must be considered. Same Sex Couples...

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Digital Estate Planning: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Your digital estate might be bigger than you realize. As computers and the internet have become an increasingly important part of everyday life, digital estate planning has also become more important. If you haven’t given any thought to your digital estate planning,...

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What Is Estate Planning and Why Does It Matter to Me?

Estate planning is essential for all adults. Regardless of the size of your estate, estate planning lets you decide what will happen to your property. It gives you the tools needed to avoid problems down the line and to provide for your loved ones. Here’s why estate...

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The Estate Planning Checklist: What Your Plans Should Include

You know you need an estate plan. You’re a little fuzzier on the details. You’re not sure what needs to go in your estate plan, only that it’s vital not to forget anything. To help, here’s an estate planning checklist that outlines the most considerations that may...

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Choosing an Estate Planning Law Firm? Ask These Eight Questions

You’re ready to start your estate planning. Great. That’s a smart decision that will help protect you, your legacy and your family. Now you need to find an estate planning law firm. You don’t want to go with just any law firm, however. You need one with the right...

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Estate Planning for Alzheimer’s Patients: Key Considerations

Alzheimer’s disease causes cognitive impairment, difficulty caring for oneself and, ultimately, death. It’s also very common. According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s disease likely impacts more than 5.5 million Americans. The symptoms and outcomes of...

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Infographic: 5 Things to Do if you Haven’t Filed your Taxes

It's not the end of the world if you're still scrambling to get your taxes done. Stay calm and keep in mind that this happens to millions of Americans every April. As long as you remain proactive, it's unlikely the tax man will come banging down your door. Follow the...

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Estate Planning for Blended Families – Five Tips for Success

Estate planning for blended families can be quite challenging and can make spouses wish they had signed a premarital agreement to address these concerns prior to getting married. For example, if a woman with two children marries a wealthy man with two children of his...

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Are You Making These Four Common Estate Planning Mistakes?

Most estate planning mistakes tend to fall into one of several categories. Every estate plan has unique features, but the same problems and mistakes recur. Each of the classic mistakes is avoidable. With an awareness of some of the potential pitfalls, you can save...

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Legal Documents to Consider When Your Child Turns 18

A child’s 18th birthday is momentous. Your child can register to vote, serve on a jury, marry without parental consent, and own property without a named conservator. At 18, your child may also apply for a credit card and decide to spend spring break in Florida with...

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Gifts of Art to Museums and Other Nonprofits

The Portland Art Museum (“PAM”) has received about 90% of its art from individuals seeking to make a meaningful donation and to give back to their community. It’s impossible to walk through PAM without seeing contributions from many local families, starting with the...

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Four Things to Know if an Executor isn’t Doing Their Job

An executor of an estate is responsible for carrying out the wishes of a decedent, paying the bills, filing taxes, and distributing assets appropriately. The executor has a responsibility to do so in a timely manner and to act in the best interest of the...

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Estate Tax and Gift Tax Developments

The IRS recently announced the 2018 estate tax exemption and annual gift exclusion amounts, and both are rising due to inflation. As a background, the federal government imposes a tax at death of any US person who has at least $5,000,000, as adjusted for inflation. To...

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Beware of Unintended Consequences of Beneficiary Designations

A beneficiary designation is when you name a specific person to receive your assets when you pass away. Retirement accounts, annuities, life insurance, pay on death accounts, all require beneficiary designations. You make these designations outside of traditional...

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Oregon Estate Planning: The Basics

Basic Estate Planning Are you considering creating or updating your estate plan?  Here is some helpful information to help you understand the basics about estate plans. What is an Estate Plan? An estate plan is a set of documents that provide instructions regarding...

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Conservatorships vs. Guardianships: Learn the Basics

Who can serve as the guardian or conservator? A court will honor the protected person’s express wishes for who he or she would like to serve as guardian or conservator, if possible. Usually a family member will serve as guardian or conservator, but he or she must be...

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Care and Estate Planning for Alzheimer’s Patients

Originally published in the Portland Business Journal on March 14, 2016. Co-written with Tracy Morgan, executive director at the Alzheimer's Association's Oregon Chapter.  Since 1982, the Alzheimer's Association has invested more than $350 million in more than 2,300...

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Tax Law Lessons: The Drawbacks of GoFundMe Accounts

Originally published in the Portland Business Journal on August 24, 2016 On Oct. 1, 2015, Chris Mintz was shot seven times while trying to protect others from the gunman at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg The day after the shooting, his cousin set up a GoFundMe...

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Tax Law Lessons: Mark Zuckerberg’s Charitable Pledge

Originally published in the Portland Business Journal on March 11, 2016 Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has pledged to put 99 percent of his stock in Facebook toward advancing human potential and promoting equality. The value of his stock currently stands at...

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Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples: What You Need to Know

More Americans are not marrying, although some couples choose to live their lives together and remain unmarried. The decision to not marry can have some surprising, unexpected outcomes with regard to estate planning and inheritance considerations. Here are a few...

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Portland Estate Planning: Beneficiary Designations

People often will believe that their intent as expressed in their estate planning documents will govern all distributions made at their death. This is simply not true. As do-it-yourself estate planning becomes more common due to online forms, it is expected that...

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International Wills

This article is co-authored by Marisol Cordero-Goodman The validity of an international will has been the subject of much discussion and debate among Estate Planning Practitioners.  So much so that practitioners at several international conventions have discussed...

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