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A pour-over will can be an effective estate planning tool

Estate planning isn't a one-time event. Instead, individuals should be sure to revisit their estate plan periodically to ensure that it conform to their wishes. This is particularly true because major life events may change the way one's assets will be distributed, or it may change the way they want their assets to be divided upon their death.

One effective way to manage an estate plan is to utilize a pour-over will. This type of will specifies that all of an individual's assets will transfer to an already established trust upon their death. One of the biggest benefits of this type of arrangement is that it allows assets to be dealt with despite the fact that they were not specifically addressed in an estate plan. Therefore, if an individual forgets to add newly acquired assets to their estate plan, then these assets will still be subject to the terms of the will and the corresponding trust rather than passing in accordance with the state's intestate laws.

A hostile ex can create divorce and child custody issues

Like many other Florida residents, it may have taken you a considerable amount of time to decide to move forward with ending your marriage. You may have weighed the pros and cons over and over to ensure that you would not make matters worse or make the wrong decision either way. Still, you know you will have a long road ahead of you as you work to dissolve the marriage.

Divorce takes time. Depending on the specific details of your case, you could face more complications than other people. For instance, if you have kids, you will need to go through child custody proceedings, and if your soon-to-be ex is particularly hostile about the divorce, you may have to contend with considerable conflict.

Child custody and the importance of the parenting plan

Although just about every aspect of a divorce can be challenging, many Floridians find negotiating and litigating child custody issues to be the most emotionally charged, and for good reason. The outcome of a child custody dispute will dictate how much time each parent spends with a child, which, in turn, can affect a parent's relationship with their child. To protect this relationship as fully as possible, Floridians embroiled in a divorce need to understand how to present compelling legal arguments that support their position and their child's best interests.

Under Florida law, parents are expected to attempt to come to an agreement on a parenting plan. This plan will dictate how time will be shared with the child, including holidays and school breaks. The parenting plan even addresses how extracurricular activities will be handled as well as how children will be transported to each parent's house for their parenting time and where drop offs and pickups will occur. Even types of communication between parent and child can be spelled out in this plan.

Charitable trust can play important role in estate planning

Most Floridians who engage in estate planning do so to protect their loved ones. Usually this means creating a will and trust to dictate how assets are to be left to a surviving spouse and children. Yet, estate planning isn't limited to these circumstances. In fact, many utilize trusts to further endeavors that they support, whether it be a business, an educational institution, or a nonprofit organization. Those who are interested in leaving a legacy of goodwill may, therefore, want to consider utilizing a charitable trust.

Generally speaking, a trust is a legal vehicle that allows an individual to pass assets on to another party, while often retaining a certain amount of control over those assets through the implementation of conditions. So, for example, an individual can create a trust that releases assets only upon a child enrolling in college or reaching a certain age. But, of course, giving to charity is about much more than simply persuading them to take certain actions.

Property division includes marital debts

As we have discussed multiple times on this blog, divorce can have much more than just an emotional toll. In fact, it may be the biggest financial transaction of an individual's life. While the focus of property division is usually on determining marital assets and divvying them up in a way that is fair, Floridians considering marriage dissolution shouldn't overlook the fact that they will also need to deal with marital debts.

These debts can take many forms. Mortgages, auto loans, and credit card debt may all be subjected to division during divorce, which means that those who fail to adequately argue their position may wind up saddled with debt they never expected to be responsible for. But, how does an individual know which debts might be a part of this process?

Orlando firm ready to help address child custody issues

Marriage dissolution can present a number of issues that must be sorted through before the parties can move on with their lives. Although many people who are facing divorce simply want to get the matter over with as quickly as possible, they need to take the time needed to ensure a fair and appropriate outcome that protects not only their best interests, but also the best interests of their children.

Recently, we discussed how a parenting plan can help provide post-divorce unity when raising children. These agreements can provide children with much needed consistency, and it can help alleviate parents' concerns about how their children are being raised when they are with their other parent. When properly negotiated and executed in writing, these agreements can be extremely beneficial.

Divorce rates spike in summer

For many, summer brings thoughts of relaxation, outdoor gatherings, and more time together with family and friends. Summer holidays, kids home from school and family vacations often conjure thoughts of laughter, fun and togetherness.

If your marriage is struggling, however, spending more time with your spouse may instead result in anxiety, stress and frustration. In fact, the summer months are often a time for making difficult choices about whether to remain in the marriage. Family law professionals suggest taking some time over the summer to obtain information about the process, which could help you make a wise decision.

Aretha Franklin's handwritten wills may pose problems

Many Floridians may think that it's obvious how they want their assets to be divided upon their death. Even if this is the case, poor estate planning can fail to bring those wishes into reality. Instead, the absence of an estate plan or the presence of a confusing or inadequate estate plan can set families up for internal strife and litigation. This is why competent estate planning is critical from the get-go, and modifications to a plan need to be clear and easily understood.

One can look at the estate of famed singer Aretha Franklin as an example of how estate planning can go wrong. At first, everyone thought that Franklin passed away without a will. Recently, however, three handwritten wills were discovered in her home. Since certain requirements must be met before a will can be deemed legally valid, questions immediately arose as to whether these wills were enforceable.

Paternity: fathers play a critical role in children's development

Across Florida there are many children that are born out of wedlock. This can and often does present a number of issues. For example, a custodial parent, which in this case would be the child's mother, may struggle to carry the financial burden of raising that child to the age of majority. On the other hand, fathers may have trouble developing a relationship with their child, especially considering the fact that they are not automatically bestowed with legal rights to the child.

Yet, studies have shown the importance of father participation in the raising of a child. To start, children who have fathers involved in their lives tend to develop higher IQs compared to those children whose fathers are uninvolved in their lives. Additionally, toddlers who have playful and communicative fathers usually develop better cognitive abilities and language skills. When fathers are supportive and caring of their children, then their children are typically better equipped to handle the stresses of school. In fact, studies show that these children are more likely to receive A's on their schoolwork compared to those children whose fathers are uninvolved.

What counts as income for child support purposes?

The cost of raising a child to the age of majority is staggering. While parents who live together through marriage or partnership can share the expenses associated with bringing a kid to age, those parents who don't live together can find themselves amidst a dispute about who should pay for what with regard to child rearing. In Florida, raising a child is the legal responsibility of both parents, which is why child support orders are issued and are legally enforceable.

Of course, the exact amount of child support owed depends on a number of factors. Although the state looks to child support guidelines as a starting point, court-ordered support may deviate from those recommendations if the facts warrant it. Therefore, it behooves Floridians to familiarize themselves with the child support calculation process so that they can create legal arrangements that are in the child's best interests.

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