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estate planning after divorce

Updating Your Will and Estate Plan After a Divorce

After a divorce, your will and estate plan are probably not the first things on your to-do list. Making the appropriate changes to the plan can be an essential action that provides the peace of mind in knowing your future wishes will be carried out to the letter.

 

How a Divorce Impacts Your Estate Plan

Married people typically tend to leave their property, assets, and other valuables to their spouse and children from the marriage. But after a divorce, many individuals no longer want that pre-established plan to remain unchanged. Some may wish to merely reduce their ex-partner’s inheritance. Others choose to unname their exes as beneficiaries and direct more assets to the children. 

If you do not alter your plan, your ex could receive some of your assets in a way that you did not originally intend. Even if laws dictate that a divorce voids gifts to an ex-spouse made in a will signed before the marriage dissolution, other estate planning devices may still apply. For instance, you might have named your ex as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or a trust. The only way your ex is by changing the beneficiary designation.

 

Updating and Changing Your Estate Plan

Once you’ve decided that changes to your estate plan due to divorce are in order, seek out the legal advice of an experienced attorney. An estate planning lawyer can review your plan and point out which parts need to be modified. Generally, putting these changes in effect means signing a new will and other documents. If you have any retirement accounts, powers of attorney, or other structures in place, those documents may need changes as well.

As you consider enacting the new estate plan, you will need to think about how to redistribute money that might have gone to your spouse if the marriage hadn’t ended in divorce. Perhaps you would instead give funds to a charity or save more of them for your children’s’ college tuition. Through estate planning devices such as life insurance, 529 plans, and trusts, your estate planning attorney can help you accomplish your new goals.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that many changes occur in the course of your life. You should update your estate plan after any significant life changes that impact where your hard-earned assets will go once you’ve passed on. For example, you might remarry, relocate to a different state or country, have additional children, inherit money, or lose a family member. All of these are good reasons to review your plan for potential updates and changes.

 

Get Help Updating Your Estate Plan After a Divorce

Dealing with a divorce can be an emotional and overwhelming time. While there is much to consider and decide, taking action regarding your estate plan before and during your divorce can give you and your heirs financial protection while eliminating unexpected complications.

An estate planning attorney can point out what options are right for you, helping to secure everything you’ve worked for and accomplished in your life. To begin your estate planning today, contact an estate planning attorney at Yee Law Group to set up your free estate plan evaluation. 

New Parents? Here’s Why You Need a Will

Will Lawyer Sacramento

Why New Parents Should Have a Will

Why New Parents Should Have a WillIf you are new parents, there’s a good chance that your baby has overwhelmed you with pleasant things such as your love for them or any time they do something new for the first time or each little developmental milestone thereafter. If you are a new parent, you are probably just as overwhelmed with difficult things such as being overwhelmed by a lack of sleep,  lack of time for self-care, and not knowing yet what is causing your baby to be upset and how you can soothe them and make them feel better. There’s a very good chance that making a will is very far down on your list of things that need to be done as soon as possible, if it’s even there at all.

Reasons a Will is Important

There are many reasons why new parents should have a will but less than half of all Americans have one and surprisingly, the number drops even more for moms and dads even though it’s an important legal document that every parent should have. It’s not just financial costs that can be high if you do not have one but even more compelling, is to be able to nominate a guardian for your child or children in case you are no longer here to take care of them. Courts typically award custody of children to their surviving parent  but if you are a single parent, or in the event both you and the child’s other parent unexpectedly lose your lives, it’s important to consider in advance what will happen if your children are orphaned.

Naming a Guardian Even though it can be beyond daunting to think about the possibility of you not being here for your child, even more so, it can be agonizing to try to figure out who you would want to raise them if this had to be the case. For many people, choosing who they want to raise their child proves much more difficult than figuring out who they know they don’t want to do this, such as an ex and their new partner, in-laws, or a sibling they do not get along well with, etc. It should be noted that while it’s important to make your preference known by naming a guardian for your child or children, most states take it as a suggestion but it is not binding.

Property & Asset Distribution If you die without a will, intestate, state laws will determine how your property will be distributed. If a spouse dies without a will, many states automatically distribute part of the estate to the surviving spouse and other parts among the children of the deceased. While this means that your children will receive their part of your estate when they turn 18 or 21 (depending on the state) it does not make provisions for their care and upbringing. A spouse may need those assets to maintain your children and their lifestyles but they would need to petition the court to be allowed to use a child’s inherited money to support them. 

The above are just two key reasons why all parents, including new parents, should have a will. If you are interested in legal advice and/or help with writing or revising a will, contact a will lawyer Sacramento residents trust. Contact the highly rated team at Yee Law Group today.

When Preparing a Will, What Is a Guardian?

Estate Planning Lawyer

If you’ve been thinking about the end of your life, chances are you’re making a will. While this can be done at any stage of life, it’s often important to do so when you are a young adult. Be sure you make changes to the will as your life changes. For example, if you get a new job and begin making a lot more money, you might want to distribute your funds differently. If you get married, you’ll probably want to include your spouse in the will. When you have children, you’ll typically include them as well.

Speaking of children, when they are minors, you’ll need to name a guardian for them in your will. What is a guardian? How do you choose someone? The following should give you some additional guidance.

The Definition of a Guardian

A guardian is someone the court appoints to care for your children. If you make a will, you get to decide who that individual is. There are different types of guardians, however, and you should be aware of that when you go to make your will.

First, there are physical guardians. These individuals are responsible to take care of the physical and emotional needs of your children. These are the individuals your children would live with, who would feed them and clothe them, take them to school and extracurricular activities, and provide love and care for them overall.

Next, there are estate guardians. These individuals are responsible to handle your estate as it applies to your children. Financial decisions will be made for the children by the estate guardian. This means if you want your children to attend a private school, the estate guardian would make the payment each year. If you have a trust set up for the child’s future college or marriage expenses, the estate guardian would handle that as well.

Finally, there are personal and estate guardians. These are individuals who make all the decision for the child, including medical, physical, financial and more. This gives authority to the guardian to do everything a parent would typically do.

How to Choose a Guardian

There should be a lot of thought put into who you should choose as guardians for your child. For a physical guardian, choose someone with similar values to your own. Choose someone who you trust to love and care for your child as their own. Ask someone who you know will raise the child the same way you would.

For a financial guardian, choose someone you trust with money, as well as someone you trust with your child. This person may become a big part of your child’s life, so you may want there to be a personal connection. It’s not essential the physical guardian and financial guardian get along well, but it does make the situation much easier.

Getting Started Today

When you’ve decided on guardians for your kids, it’s time to start your will. Contact an estate planning lawyer, like from Klenk Law, to get started today.

Your Will Gives Your Family Peace of Mind

Estate Planning Lawyer

Benjamin Franklin is often credited with the saying that there are only two things certain in life, death and taxes. At least with taxes, you have a precise date to pay them. With death, it could happen tomorrow or twenty years down the road. There’s no way to know when it will happen. Preparing for death doesn’t mean that it’s imminent. It just means that you want to make things easier for your family when your death does happen. Here’s what happens when you die without a will.

Dying Intestate Can Be Time-Consuming and Expensive

Dying without a will is called dying “intestate.” It just means that your estate must be handled through the probate process without any of your potential heirs having a say. A will is the document that tells the state how you want your assets distributed upon your death. Your will usually names someone who deals with all the paperwork and details and taxes. For the record, taxes are certain after death, too. If you have minor children, your will names a guardian and maybe a trustee to oversee the assets that were left to the children.

Probate is the legal process that transfers assets and makes sure all the details of your estate are handled properly. If you have a will, the executor manages your estate according to the details in the will. Depending on how you set up your estate, it will likely have to go through probate. The biggest difference is that without a will, state laws determine how your estate is divided.

State laws, called intestate succession laws, determine who inherits your estate. Generally speaking, your spouse is the first person in line to inherit. If you’re single, it would be your children. If you don’t have children, then it would fall to your parents. If no relatives are found, the estate would default to the state. In most cases, unmarried partners or friends cannot inherit anything if you die without a will.

If you die without a will, the legal fees for the executor are paid out of the will. This can be expensive. You, nor your heirs, have any consideration over who is appointed by the probate court to be the executor.  Probate may take longer because the state needs to ensure that all protocols are covered before finalizing the estate.

Talk to a Lawyer About a Will 

Dying without a will does not inconvenience you, but it will certainly be more difficult for your family. Discuss your estate plan with an estate planning lawyer, like from Kamper & Estrada, PLLC, to give your heirs peace of mind.

What to Do As the Victim of an Accidental Shooting

Serious injury and death can occur as the result of an accidental shooting. If you or a loved one was injured after being shot, you are probably entitled to compensation. The following are some things you should do after being involved in an accidental shooting.

Seek Medical Assistance Immediately

Some shooting injuries could be minor, but many are more serious. If you are injured in an accidental shooting, seek medical assistance immediately. Most shooting injuries will require a call to 911 because they can get serious quite quickly. If you are able to drive the injured individual to the emergency room, you can seek assistance in that way. Regardless of the way you do it, medical care is essential after a shooting.

Contact the Authorities

A police report should be made, even if the shooting was accidental. The police officer who responds to the incident can take a look around to ensure it truly was an accident. If he or she suspects something sinister went down, criminal charges may be brought against the individual who shot the gun, or perhaps another individual.

For example, a child may accidentally shoot another child during a joint investigation of a recently discovered gun. After a police officer has a chance to look the scene over, it may be discovered that the gun was obtained illegally. It could also be determined that proper care was not taken to keep the gun locked up. Those two acts may have resulted in the child getting shot, and the individual in possession of the firearm could get charged with criminal activity.

Gather Information from Witnesses

If anyone was there to witness the accidental shooting, you should gather their contact information. You don’t need to get a statement or start trying to pit people against each other. Your lawyer can send an investigator to speak with the witnesses at a later time so you can figure out exactly what happened and who is at fault for the injuries.

Contact Your Lawyer

When a situation is accidental, many individuals assume they can’t seek compensation or can’t file a lawsuit, but that’s not necessarily true. Many accidental shootings result in lawsuits, criminal charges and other legal actions. If you or a loved one was shot in an accidental situation, immediately get medical assistance, contact the authorities and gather witness information for the best chance at proper compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer, like from Darrell Castle & Associates, today for help getting it done.

Second Wave Seconds the Need for Estate Planning

elderly man looking at laptopIn this uncertain COVID ridden world, planning for what you want to happen to your possessions and assets as well as for other future needs, may be one of the few things that can bring you peace of mind, knowing that you have done what you can to make the future a more secure place. 

Planning for the Second Wave

Even though for a while it looked like the United States was flattening the curve on the spread of the dangerous coronavirus, this trend reversed its course in mid-June. This reversal resulted in record numbers of new infections. While the media, politicians and health experts around the globe are talking about preparing for the second wave of infections, the reality is we are not out of the first wave. This wave may get worse before it really gets better and if predictions are right, it’s not a question of “if” the second wave hits but “when” it will hit.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to be as prepared as possible for an uncertain future and it’s a good idea to be prepared for the second wave.

The Future & Your Estate

With a scary future ahead, where the coronavirus will be around for a longer time than many people ever imagined it would, comes a greater importance to plan your estate or to make sure it is still up to date if you have one that you planned more than a year or two ago. Different peoples’ situations will create different needs for what they need to do to make sure that their estate is planned to their satisfaction. It is recommended that you enlist the help of a licensed estate planning attorney when you plan your estate or when you need to update an existing one.

Estate Planning

While many people do not enjoy the thought of planning for a time when they will no longer be here or when they might no longer be able to care for themselves and/or to make decisions about their finances and healthcare, the sense of relief they feel when they have finally done this gives them little to no regrets for having done so.

Estate planning is not only a way to ensure that your wishes are met after your passing but having a sound estate plan may also help to minimize the estate taxes that your heir or heirs will have to pay. The very basics of estate planning include the following:

  • Choosing who you want to be responsible for managing your assets in the event you become unable to manage them yourself; and defining what circumstances you want to be considered unable to manage them on your own
  • Choosing who will manage your health care if you are unable to take care of yourself; defining what health care decisions should be made on your behalf
  • Choosing who and/or what organizations should receive your assets after you pass, as well as who will be your executor, the person designated to distribute your assets when you are no longer here.

If you are looking for a highly rated estate planning lawyer in the Sacramento area who knows how to help people prepare for the second wave and more, contact the Yee Law Group today.

What May Happen if You Die Without a Will

Estate Law Lawyer

No one wants to think about their death. Unfortunately, no one knows that tomorrow is guaranteed. If you were to die tomorrow, without a will, what would happen to your assets? How would your family pay their bills? There’s a lot to understand about dying intestate, or without a will. Here are some things to consider.

State Laws Determine Who Your Beneficiaries Are

In most cases, state law outlines who receives your property. If you are married, your spouse inherits. If you were single and had children, it would be the children who are your heirs. If you don’t have kids, your parents would like be next in line. If you don’t have parents who are living, the siblings would be next to inherit. In most cases, domestic partners would not have any say in how property is distributed, but again, it depends on the state. Most states don’t recognize domestic partnerships, which means your unmarried partner will lose out.

Probate Court Nominates the Executor

If you die without a will, your assets and debts will be handled in probate court. The judge appoints an executor over your estate to make sure all the details are handled. If you had a will, you could have named the executor yourself. Without a will, the executor uses laws of intestate succession to determine who gets your estate.

Who Takes Care of Your Children?

Generally speaking, when you die and have minor children, their care is determined by the other parent. If you’re married, this isn’t a big deal. If you’ve been divorced, you may not want your ex-spouse to manage your children’s funds. If you die intestate, the court will appoint someone to manage your estate for the children. If you had made time to create a will, you could have outlined this yourself.

Estate Planning Benefits Your Love Ones

Dying intestate places a huge burden on your family. Probate court does take time. Even if you have a will, your estate still needs to go through probate, but the difference is that someone you know and care about is dealing with your estate. An executor that you name is probably going to care more about handling the details for your family. A court-appointed executor may be very good but won’t have the same concern. You may even find ways to avoid probate with your lawyer by placing assets in a trust.

Make an appointment today with a lawyer, like an estate lawyer from Klenk Law, to handle the details now.

What Roles Do Fiduciaries Play?

Estate Lawyer

A fiduciary is an institution or person who can act on your behalf. When you choose a fiduciary, it has to be someone that you trust. He or she will have a legal obligation to be honest and to act on your behalf.

Fiduciaries can have a role in your estate before and after your death. This person can be an attorney, banker, financial advisor, real estate agent and more. If you’re unsure about the role a fiduciary carries, it’s important to remember that you can have multiple fiduciaries and they can fulfill different roles. Here are three of those roles.

Your Child’s Guardian

In the unfortunate event that you die while your children are still minors, there must be someone that can take care of them. To choose someone who cares for your kids and to make choices on their behalf, you have to have a lot of trust for the person. Normally, you would add the name of the person you want to take care of your children in your will.

Even if you are married, the two of you must have someone named for your children. In the unfortunate event that both of you pass away, you need to know that your children have an advocate and someone to care for them.

Your Health Care Agent

Your healthcare fiduciary is someone that can make medical decisions on your behalf. This is especially important if you are incapacitated for any reason. A power of attorney or durable power of attorney can make all healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. In some instances, you can have an institution as your fiduciary, but not in the case of medical care. This person can also not be a healthcare provider.

Your Financial Advisor

Your fiduciary must be someone that you trust. When you die, most of the fiduciary responsibility is on your executor or trustee. You may want your executor or trustee to have some financial background. At the beginning of your estate plan, you may use a financial firm or a bank to provide you with financial assistance.

Fiduciaries are a crucial part of your estate plan. They are anyone who you can count on to make decisions on your behalf after you die. To find out more about fiduciaries and how to choose someone that you trust, consult with an estate planning lawyer, such as from Citadel Law Firm, as soon as possible.

4 Medical Conditions That May Cause a Car Accident

Driver inattention, speeding and drunk driving are all likely to cause serious car accidents, but what happens when a medical condition or sudden emergency is the cause of a wreck? While some states may restrict driver’s licenses for those with medical issues, these incidents might still occur without warning. There are several common medical problems that may affect your driving ability, and knowing how they might affect you could help you prevent a serious accident.

  1. Type 2 Diabetes 

While most instances of Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with medication, a nutritious low-sugar diet and proper exercise, a sudden drop in blood sugar could cause you to feel faint, dizzy or disoriented. Even a moment’s inattention due to these problems could cause you to rear-end the driver in front of you or drift from your lane and into another car. Controlling and checking your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel could help you avoid an accident.

  1. Limited Eyesight

If you wear corrective lenses or contacts, driving without them in place could increase the odds of you causing an accident. This can be especially dangerous if you cannot read road signs that announce construction areas or other areas where road conditions may change. If your license lists your need for corrective lenses, you may be fined if you are found driving without them.

  1. Heart Disease 

Some types of heart disease can be controlled with medication, but sudden problems may occur without warning while you are behind the wheel, such as a heart attack or sudden arrhythmia. These events could lead to severe pain and even loss of consciousness, which may lead to a serious car accident. You may want to drive with a companion if you have heart trouble or limit your driving time by taking cabs or public transportation instead.

  1. Seizure Disorders 

Because seizures can be difficult to predict when you have epilepsy or a history of seizures, you may want to consult your physician before you decide to drive. Suffering a seizure while driving could pose a serious risk of injury to you, your passengers and those who share the road with you. Even if your disorder is under control, predicting when a seizure may happen can be almost impossible, so you may want to take extreme caution if you decide to get behind the wheel.

Certain medical conditions could hamper your ability to drive and may even cause an accident, but you do not have to face the consequences alone. Contact Wiseman Bray PLLC, for further information and assistance about a car accident case.

Functions and Limitations of Basic Estate Planning Documents

Estate Lawyer

Even if you do not have a lot of assets, you should still have an estate plan in place. It doesn’t have to be complex; you can limit it to simple, basic documents if that is appropriate for your situation. There is some overlap between the functions that estate planning documents perform. At the same time, each has its limitations. Financial advisors often recommend a comprehensive estate plan that contains multiple documents. Here is an overview of a few of the most common estate planning documents, including their functions and limitations.

Will

Also referred to as a last will and testament, the will is an estate planning document that most people are familiar with even if they do not know about the others. The two main functions of a will are to give instructions for the distribution of your property after you die and to name a guardian for your minor children, if you have any. The will only takes effect when you die. Assets contained in a will must go through the probate process, which means it can take time before your beneficiaries receive their inheritance. A will is not the place to give funeral instructions as the ceremony usually takes place before it is read. It is also not a good idea to leave money to a person with special needs in a will because bequeathing a lump sum could hurt the person’s eligibility for government benefits.

Trusts

A trust allows you to set aside assets for distribution to the beneficiaries you designate according to a schedule you establish. There are different kinds of trusts, which means you can choose one that fits your specific needs. People who have to provide for the care of a person with special needs often choose a trust to do it since they can set up the trust so that it does not hurt the person’s benefit eligibility. Trusts also allow your heirs to receive their inheritance without going through probate. However, some people find that they still need a will for any assets not in a trust or for designating a guardian, which requires a will in many states.

Advance Directive and Power of Attorney

Also called a living will, an advance directive outlines the type of medical treatment you do and do not want to receive if you are no longer able to make your own health care decisions. Incapacitation can occur for many reasons, such as dementia or coma. An advance directive does not give someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf. For that, you need a health care power of attorney.

Attorneys, like an estate planning lawyer from Klenk Law, can help you create an estate plan that works for you. Contact a law office for a consultation.