Nightingale, Liles, Dennard & Carmical

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Firm partners Thomas E. Dennard, Jr. and Lee A. Carmical continue the level of service and commitment to client care established by the firm's founders in 1940.

Trust and Estates Newsletters

Co-Ownership Myths - I

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. Moreover, people may define their own forms of co-ownership by contract. This article discusses some of the many myths about the co-ownership of property.

Descent and Distribution, Generally

Traditionally, a state statute of descent and distribution provides the order of preference for disposal of an intestate's net estate. As a general rule, the person or persons with the highest rank in the order of preference who survive the intestate take all of the intestate's net estate.

Distribution Provisions

A very common and valuable provision seen in most family trusts and invariably in dynasty trusts is the spray or sprinkle provision. Where there is more than one beneficiary, this provision allows the trustee to distribute (spray) the income and/or principal among the beneficiaries in varying proportions as the trustee feels appropriate, having in mind their individual needs and circumstances from time to time. In other words, the trustee need not make equal distributions among the beneficiaries, but instead can vary the distributions according to their particular needs, which undoubtedly is exactly what the grantors would do were they alive.

Limited Inheritance in Unusual Circumstances

State statutes of descent and distribution are usually supplemented by other statutes or court rulings that limit or prohibit inheritance in unusual circumstances. This article discusses some of those unusual circumstances.

What is a Trust?

A trust is related to "trust" in the ordinary sense of relying on another. A trust is a formal arrangement for property management, in the manner of an owner, by another. The management of the property is according to the original owner's directions.

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