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    Q: As a common law couple, is there anything special that my spouse and I should do to make sure that we don’t have any issues upon one of our deaths?

      Q: While clearing out our parents' house we found statements for some stock in an insurance company. None of us knew that they had bought stock and we can’t find the stock certificates. How do we get them replaced and how do we sell them?

      Q: When my grandmother passed away, the attorney published notice in a newspaper. The whole family became involved when they found out that the estate information was online. How can I avoid this? It seems like this sort of thing should be private and not open to everyone in the family.

      Q: Over the years, I have gifted money to my son and didn’t make similar gifts to my other children. He was in need and I helped him out. I don’t expect him to pay me back but I feel like those gifts should somehow be accounted for in my estate plan. What can I do to even things out with the…

      Q: My husband and I each have children from previous marriages and one child together. Are stepchildren treated the same as other children in estate planning? Does it make any difference if they are adopted?

      Q: I’m not close to my family and I don’t want them to get any of my estate. I thought that if I didn’t leave a will, they wouldn’t get anything, but your column says they might. How do I make sure none of my family gets my property?


      Q: We recently attended a seminar on estate planning and trusts. One thing that we kept hearing was that you had to fund the trust for it to work. I’m not clear on what that even means. What do you have to do to fund the trust?

      Q: We have a sibling that has battled a drug problem for many years. He’s doing better now but our parents still have concerns. What can they do to plan around his problems? They don’t want to disinherit him but worry what will happen to him if he inherits money.

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