Tag: Estate Lawyer

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.

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.

Can You Kidnap Your Own Child? 

Estate Lawyer

Kidnapping is considered an unlawful act in which a person knowingly holds another individual captive or against their will. At times, kidnappers are strangers, but in some cases a kidnapper can be a family member or even a parent. Often when parents are engaged in unpleasant custody battles, emotions tend to escalate. Rarely, but not completely unheard of, will a parent purposefully move a child from one location to another in an effort to  conceal them from the other parent. While this act may seem harmless as most believe it is in the best interest of their child, this act of kidnapping is a serious allegation and can result in criminal charges. How will a court determine if an act is indeed associated with parent kidnapping? Here are three questions that you may encounter as a result of unlawfully moving your child:

  • Are you a legal guardian or parent of the child?

One of the most important matters in parental kidnapping situations is determining your relation to the child. In order for a court to determine the best interest of your child, the totality of circumstances must be weighed, including your relation to the child.

  • Do you have current court orders prohibiting the movement of your child?

In most cases with child custody orders, courts may elect to enforce parental rights. If there is no custody order in place, the act of moving your child may not constitute parental kidnapping, but your acts may still be seen as an interference with the time that the other parent deserves with your child. 

  • With what intent did you move your child?

In some cases, there may be exceptions to parental kidnapping. If you are escaping domestic violence, you may be able to argue that moving your child was a result of  fleeing a violent situation and the act was committed with the intent of protecting him or her.

Understandably, child custody battles and child custody litigation are difficult situations and may invoke a fervor of emotions that only the engaged parties understand. If you have been accused of unlawfully moving your child with hidden motives, you may risk the chance of retaining or getting child custody in the future. Furthermore, if you are in the midst of a custody battle you should seek the assistance of a qualified child custody lawyer, like a child custody lawyer in Dallas, TX, before commiting the act of concealing your child. 

It is important to note that every child custody case is different. If you or someone you know has been affected by allegations of kidnapping or is embroiled in a custody battle, contact an attorney to schedule a consultation for legal advice that will answer all of your legal questions. 

 


 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into the repercussions of kidnapping your own child. 

Why Permits Are Necessary

Estate Lawyer

Home improvement projects take on a life of their own. Sometimes a person wants to change the paint color in the living room and suddenly they find themselves completely overhauling their bathroom. It is natural to want to make changes in a home but it is important to remember that there are limits to the changes that can be made without city approval. If a home is undergoing major construction, the city must ensure that there is a plan, accountability, and standards to be met.

Planning:

 Architects, plumbers, and electricians are all trained professionals who have studied extensively to do the job they are hired to do. An uncle who does botched construction jobs because “they work anyway” is not a professional. Before a project is started there needs to be a plan drawn out or a blueprint that specifically states the intentions of the renovation. This plan is then submitted to the city with the permit application and the city determines whether the plan is approved or denied. If approved, construction can begin immediately. If denied, the plans must be revised to meet the city’s expectations. This process depends heavily on the extent and complexity of the renovation.

Approval and Accountability: 

Permits are required when the remodeling of a home can put at risk the integrity of that home. Changing the cabinets in the kitchen is not the same as taking out a wall. Creating an opening from the kitchen up to the living room has become the newest trend, but that means that there is a section of support that is no longer there. Every home improvement show on HGTV has a contractor that pulls permits all the time. A permit sets a cohesive set of standards and requirements that everyone must follow. It also alerts the city of any possible issues that may occur.

On October 12,2019 a hotel building under construction in New Orleans collapsed. Although the incident was only a partial collapse, twenty people were injured and two others lost their lives. Upon further investigation, it was uncovered that the metal decking used on the roof for the floors was changed and the city never approved them. This in turn, was the cause of the collapsed infrastructure. The persons held responsible or liable for this event were the engineers.

This is only one of many events that have happened throughout the years, so it is important to remember that it is the safety of the people involved in the projects that really matter.

People are constantly trying to create the next wonder of the world. It is not the city’s intention to limit the engineers or the contractors, it is their duty to ensure that safety is kept on the forefront of every project. The Empire State Building in New York is 86 floors high, creates static electricity between people, and overlooks six states on a clear day. This project was built in a short thirteen months and is a wonder. Properly built, the structure stands tall almost ninety years after its construction was completed.

Permits in Arlington:

Every city has a unique approach for processing permits, but the city of Arlington allows for its residents to apply for permits online. One can apply for a permit but it is important to remember that the person who is applying for the permit is perceived by the city to be the “contractor.” A contractor is the person solely responsible for ensuring that all construction meets the specific city codes. In the event that a person hires an architect, plumber, or electrician, those professionals would be considered the contractors and therefore responsible for meeting city codes.

No matter what kind of home improvement project is around the corner, it is important that a person remains well informed. Every city has their own website with information about individual ordinances, codes, and details about what projects require a permit. Pulling permits may be a hassle and seem tedious at times but it is better than having to tear down half the project for not having a permit. It really is all about safety. Permits for major projects are not optional, they are a requirement that needs to be honored. 

If you’ve been injured from a construction site that did not follow the proper safety guidelines, a personal injury lawyer in Arlington, TX can advise you on your next steps for taking legal action.

 


 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into personal injury claims and why you need building permits.

Am I Required To Leave an Inheritance to My Family?

Estate Lawyer

You may be wondering if you are required to leave your children or spouse property or money upon your death. While consulting an estate planning attorney will help you regarding your specific situation, here are some guidelines regarding your family’s right to inherit from you after your passing.

Are You Required To Leave Anything to Your Spouse?

There are some legal protections for spouses – or registered domestic partners – when it comes to survivorship. States that adopt common law offer protection against being disinherited completely. Additionally, most states enforce the rights of a spouse to receive a sizeable share of the property of a deceased spouse.

In a common-law state, a spouse that has been under-provided for will generally have the option of either taking what is offered by the will or rejecting the gift and taking the minimum share allowed by the state.

In some states, your spouse may have rights to the family home. This can vary from direct ownership to just the right to live there for the rest of his or her life. Additionally, each state will range in the amount of property that is entitled to the surviving spouse depending on their needs and whether there are surviving children.

Are You Required To Leave Anything to Your Children?

Generally speaking, you are not required to leave an inheritance to your children. There are two exceptions to this rule, however. Some laws give certain rights to minor children and laws that protect children who are overlooked in a will by accident.

Depending on the state, a minor may inherit the family home if they are less than 18 years old. Children that have been unintentionally overlooked in a parent’s estate will have different rights according to the state. In general, these laws will apply to offspring that were born after the will was signed and assumes that the parent didn’t intentionally leave the child out. As a result of these protections, the child will be able to claim part of the decedent’s property. If you have a specific idea about what you would like each child to receive, it’s a good idea to name each one of your children in your will to avoid any confusion.

If you have concerns that someone in your family may contest your will, it’s best to get legal advice. Estate planning attorneys, like an estate planning lawyer in Allentown, PA, can help secure your future wishes, even if your family has a different idea of what should happen to your property.

 


 

Thank you to the experts at Klenk Law for their input into estate planning, wills, and probate law.

Should You File for Bankruptcy?

Estate Lawyer

Nobody wants to declare bankruptcy, but when you can’t get out from being under financially, bankruptcy is often the best solution. Once you’ve decided to take this step, the next decision is which type of bankruptcy to file. Each type is designed to offer specific remedies for specific circumstances. Learn more about what type is best for you and walk into your bankruptcy lawyer’s office prepared.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is best described as a legal process in which people who can’t repay debts to creditors can get relief from most or all of their debt. There are many circumstances in which talking to a bankruptcy lawyer and filing makes sense. Some of the top reasons include the following:

  • Your creditors are suing for payment of debts
  • Your home is in danger of foreclosure
  • You routinely use one credit card to pay off another

All of the above are signs that a bankruptcy may be the best choice to prevent further financial ruin, but which type of bankruptcy is right for you? There are two basic types of bankruptcy. Keep reading to learn more about them.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

One of the most common types of filings is a  Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Taking about three or four months to finish, this bankruptcy will discharge most types of unsecured debt. This type usually allows you to keep most or all of your property and can even temporarily halt a foreclosure. Chapter 7 is generally available to people with income that is less than the median of their state. In general, this type of bankruptcy is ideal for debtors with few assets and little or no employment.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

This type of bankruptcy is a little longer-lasting and has some benefits over Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you repay creditors via a repayment plan that can last from three to five years. In exchange, you get to keep all of your property. This type of filing will also completely stop a foreclosure and help you make up missed payments. For this reason, a Chapter 13 is ideal for debtors who are employed, yet face mortgage delinquency.

There are other types of bankruptcies designed for businesses or very specific cases, but these are generally the most common two. Needing to file for bankruptcy can be disappointing, but it can give you the fresh start you deserve. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer, like a bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, TN, to learn more about how to start the bankruptcy filing process.

 


 

Thanks to Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, for their insight into filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.