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  • How to Find the Best Executor for Your Estate

    If there is truly a job that no one wants, it has to be executor of an estate. Being the executor requires great time and effort, and it is usually a thankless job. Mom and Dad, if you are choosing an executor, here are some suggestions. First, I recommend that you select an executor who is up to the challenge and has your best interests at heart. He or she shouldn't be a procrastinator or too advanced in age. Heirs or your children who will receive benefit from the estate are not usually the best choice.

  • Your Parents Need Protection!

    Occasional news stories sadden and disturb me, as elderly, well-meaning people continue to fall victim to clever scams and schemes. About a year ago, I gave my blog readers the following suggestions about protecting our parents and other elderly relatives. Please review these suggestions, and pass this information along to others, so together we can protect our elderly family and friends.

  • Can an Executor Change the Locks?

    Question: I am the executor for my mother, who just passed away. She is our last parent to die, and now her house and garage are unprotected. She had some caregivers toward the end of her life, so I don’t know who has keys to her house. Is it okay for me to change the locks?

    Answer: If you are the executor of your mother’s estate, you have a responsibility to protect all she owned until decisions can be made about dividing and disposing of her personal property.

  • Places to Find Hidden Treasure

    Many older people have a long-term distrust of banks and often hide their valuables in the strangest places. If your parents are European immigrants, they have an even greater tendency to do this, and if either parent has dementia or Alzheimer’s, they likely have hidden things and forgotten about them.

    Many seniors hide money and valuables that often go unnoticed in the liquidation of their estates. Here are the most common places where these valuables may be found:

  • A Moment to Ponder the Basics, Part 1

    We’ll get back to the rest of the misconceptions of estate planning in a few weeks. First, we need to answer the question, "What is probate, anyway?" Here’s part 1 of the answer.

    Probate is the legal process that transfers your property (your “estate”) to those entitled to it after you die. It’s a simple definition, but with many nuances. Let’s break down that definition:

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