Monday, December 08, 2008

ABA's Estate & Trust Primers (Updated Links)

The American Bar Association, through its Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section, posts excellent general explanations regarding estate planning principles and the planning process that eventually will materialize into surrogate decision-making or a fiduciary administration when needed.

As reliable general information, long-posted online, these lawyer-authored, publicly-posted legal resources can be referenced to clients who inquire about such topics before state-specific laws are applied to their specific situations.

Just over a year ago, I reviewed some of the ABA's online resources about estate planning topics. See: PA EE&F Law Blog posting "ABA's Estate Planning Primers Online" (11/28/07).

Recently I noticed rearrangement of the ABA's information on the RPTE Section's web page. At the risk of repetition, I again emphasize the value of those resources, both to the professional and to the consumer; and I copy the updated links.

These are the topics and articles, presented in outline form, in the ABA-RPTE's "Frequently Asked Questions -- Estate Planning" as excerpted from its website:

I) Estate Planning Overview:
  1. What is Estate Planning?
  2. Glossary of Estate Planning Terms
II) An Introduction to Wills:

Frequently Asked Questions about Wills
  1. What Happens if You Die Without A Will?
  2. What A Will Does
  3. What A Will Does Not Do
  4. How To Execute a Will
Types of Non-probate Property
  1. Jointly Owned Property
  2. Trusts
  3. Annuities and Retirement Benefits
  4. Life Insurance
III) Revocable Trusts:

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

IV) Power of Attorney:

Questions Regarding Power-of-Attorney
  1. Introduction
  2. Who Should Be Your Agent?
  3. How The Agent Should Sign?
  4. Beyond Signing Checks
State Laws Vary
  1. What if I move?
  2. Will my Power of Attorney expire?
V) Living Wills, Health Care Proxies, and Advance Health Care Directives:

Questions Regarding Living Wills
  1. Introduction
  2. Living Wills
  3. Health Care Proxy
  4. Why Have Health Directives?
  5. Obtaining and Maintaining Living Wills and Health Care Proxies
  6. Organ and Tissue Donation
  7. Communication is the Key
Other Resources on Living Wills

VI) The Probate Process:
VII) Planning With Retirement Benefits:
VIII) Guidelines for Individual Executors and Trustees:
IX) The Lawyer's Role:

What is the Lawyer's Role?

X) Who We Are:

About the Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law

XI) Tax Changes From 2001

Changes to Federal Estate Taxes 2004-2010
On its RPTE Resources web page, a few important external online references are linked, including one that I had not encountered before -- U.S. Tax Code Online, which presents the United States Internal Revenue Code, Title 26 of the U.S. Code (26 USC), as a structured and searchable document.
You can access the Code through its own hierarchical table of contents, a comprehensive (flat) table of contents (Note: this file is almost 300K and takes a while to retrieve), or an index by section number, handy when you're looking up a citation in another document.

Each section of the Code contains navigation buttons which provide immediate access to the next and previous section, the table of contents, the section index, the text search request form, and this document. * * *
Two other expansive, reliable Internet legal resources stand out among the other links listed on that web page:
In providing such information, the American Bar Association continues to provide a laudable public service to consumers.

* * *

"Information is not knowledge."
-- Albert Einstein

"Lack of knowledge... that is the problem."
-- W. Edwards Deming

"All my knowledge comes from research."
-- Stan Sakai

"Knowledge is power."
-- Francis Bacon