Newark Family And Estate Law Blog

Double check your estate plan documents periodically

When you make your estate plan, you need to consider the best way to get assets to your loved ones. You have three primary options. Some assets have a designation known as "payable on death."` This enables you to decide now who they will go to when you pass away. These accounts, which include bank and investment accounts, can't be included in other estate plan documents, such as the will or trusts.

Handing down assets in the will is another option that you have. Remember, wills are almost always public record, so using this method could allow anyone to know what your loved ones received. This might not be the best option if you are concerned about their privacy or safety.

Tips for telling your children about the end of your marriage

Going through a divorce when you have children with your soon-to-be ex is a challenging situation for everyone involved. One thing that you have to remember is that your children need to be a priority in the situation. They are going to have questions, and you are going to want them to make some pretty big changes. You can't think that they are going to handle things in the same way that you would, so be prepared to try to find ways that you can help them.

For parents who can still get along, one of the best things that you can do is to have a meeting together with the children. This ensures that everyone is on the same page about what's going to happen. Your children can ask you questions while you are both around to answer them. You can tell them what plan you have to make them continue to have an environment where they can thrive.

California has very strict laws for wills

The will is the backbone of the estate plan for many people. For those who live in California, the will must meet specific requirements. Any will that doesn't meet these will be considered invalid by the court. This means that the estate will be handled in accordance with the state's intestate laws, so you won't have any say in who gets what from your estate.

One of the basic points of creating a will is that you must be an adult who is of sound mind. In California, an adult is a person who is at least 18 years old. You must be able to understand the implications of the terms of the will and what the provisions mean for your beneficiaries.

Divorce is a time to reset your life and find your happiness

Trying to reset your life when you go through a divorce can be challenging, so you have to sit down and make a plan for your future. You shouldn't think of a divorce as a negative event. Instead, look at it as a time to reinvent yourself and take charge of the direction you want to follow now.

One of the first things that you need to do is to set aside time to reflect on what's going on. This can be as little as 10 minutes a day. Use this time to re-center and decide if you are still on the path toward success. This is your time to de-stress and find your happiness. You can even do this while you are walking or doing other physical activity as long as you can think.

Help your children adjust on transition days

Moving from one home to another is a big transition for some people. When you have children, they will have to make this transition often as they move from one parent's home to the other parent's home. This can be difficult, especially when they aren't quite sure about what is going on.

You will have to find ways that you can help them to transition as well as possible. Trying to make these times easier can help them to feel less stress and to adjust to the situation better. Some children might begin to settle into the adjustment period better as time goes on so be sure to encourage them to keep the right attitude as they learn how to live with this new way of life.

Estate planning gives you peace of mind

Your estate plan is the key to making sure that your loved ones know what to do with your belongings when you pass away. There are many facets to these plans that you have to think about when you are creating the plan for the first time. We know this might seem like a huge undertaking, but we are here to help you along the way.

The cornerstone of the estate plan is the will. This document distributes your assets that aren't covered under other provisions. This means that if you set up trusts, the assets held in those won't be included in the will. Trusts are useful because they can help you address specific situations, such as providing support to someone who has special needs and receives needs-based assistance.

Probating an estate here in California

If you are the administrator of a friend or relative's estate, you will need to familiarize yourself with the probate process. If the decedent had a trust in place at the time of their death, you may be able to sidestep the probate process. Otherwise, you will have to deal with the California probate courts to settle their affairs.

Probate deals with transferring the decedent's property to their designated beneficiaries and heirs. You will need to handle the final affairs of the decedent and pay off any valid outstanding debts. Should there be a will challenge involved, the courts will determine whether the decedent's will was indeed valid.

How are assets divided in divorce?

When a couple parts ways, they must divide their property and debts. However, each state has its own guidelines on how a couple should do this. California is a community property state, which means that community property will most likely be divided equally.

Most of the property you and your spouse acquired throughout your marriage is considered community property because when you got married, you and your spouse became one legal community. However, you or your spouse probably also have separate property that is not subject to division in divorce.

Preparing your kids for supervised visits with your co-parent

Family court judges generally want children of divorced parents to spend time and build their relationship with both parents. Unfortunately, sometimes there are concerns that it's not safe -- physically and/or psychologically -- for children to be alone in the care of a parent.

A mom or dad may have a history of substance abuse, for example, which made them neglectful of their kids or even endangered them. In some cases, visitation must be supervised while allegations of substance abuse, neglect or other problematic behavior are investigated.

Dick Wolf's ex-wife loses her case in a California appeals court

It's been over 15 years since the creator of the Law & Order franchise, Dick Wolf, and his wife divorced. However, Christine Wolf has continued to fight for money she believes she was cheated out of because of information that wasn't shared with her when the two reached their divorce settlement.

Mrs. Wolf received a settlement that included $17.5 million in cash, $2 million a year in spousal support for eight years and a home in Maine. That was based in part on a $4 million valuation of Law & Order.

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