Trust and Estates Newsletters

Co-Ownership Myths – III

One of the most confusing aspects of estate planning is the numerous myths about co-ownership of property. Many people do not understand the differences between a tenancy in common and a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Many people do not understand what a tenancy by the entirety is or was. Many people do not understand the differences between the common law forms of co-ownership and community property.


In Latin, the word “codicil” means “little will. A codicil is a formal document that amends the provisions of a will. The amendments may change, modify, or supplement the provisions of a will.

Inheritance Without Planning Means No Provisions Beyond the Default Plan

When a person dies intestate (without making and leaving a will), each state provides a default plan (usually known as the statute of descent and distribution) under which his or her net estate is disposed. When a person dies intestate, there is no adding of provisions beyond the default plan. The default plan is only the default plan and nothing more. This article discusses the disadvantages of descent and distribution related to the inability to add provisions beyond the default plan.

Revocation of Healthcare Directives and Alternatives

If you execute a healthcare power of attorney document and a living will, you can revoke or cancel them at any time. Most states do not require you to revoke the documents in writing. Be aware that if you have told your healthcare provider about your documents, many states require that you inform the healthcare provider of the revocation.

The Natural Objects of One’s Bounty – I

One advantage of making and leaving a will is that you can specify to whom you want your property to go after you die. Whether or not you make and leave will, it is useful to know the traditional names for the various members of one’s family.