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Estate planning: how to handle hard assets

Planning for one's own passing can be an uncomfortable process. However, this is at the heart of estate planning. The process involves figuring out how to distribute an estate's assets and debts upon an individual's death. On its face, this may seem relatively easy. However, the process can actually be quite complicated. One reason for this difficulty is that many assets are not liquid like cash, bonds and stocks. This means that these assets may be more challenging to equally divide amongst an individual's heirs.This is particularly true when it comes to dealing with what are often referred to as "hard assets." These assets are individual pieces of property that cannot be easily divided. Common examples include family heirlooms such as jewelry and other personal items. Oftentimes, many heirs vie for these valuable pieces of property. So, the difficulty then becomes how to pass them down.The first step in passing down a hard asset is to get it appraised. An appraisal can give the owner an accurate value of the item so that that value can be taken into consideration when devising an estate plan. The appraisal should be conducted by somebody who is knowledgeable and experienced.

Then, once an item's value is known, an individual can better determine how best to distribute it amongst his or her loved ones. It may be wise to leave the item to multiple individuals, giving them the opportunity to buy each other out. Or, it may be best to simply sell the item and divide the proceeds amongst everyone. Another option an individual may want to consider is leaving the item to one particular person, then take that into account when dividing up the other assets.As you can see, there are a number of ways that hard assets can be handled during the estate planning process. The discussion above does not even take into account situations where assets are not divided equally amongst heirs. Therefore, to develop an estate plan that works best for you and deals with all of your assets and debts, please consider working closely with an attorney of your choosing.

Missed out on creating a prenup? You still have options

Getting married may have been one of the best days of your life. You may have spent months finding the perfect dress or tux, venue and cake, and making numerous other choices, or your wedding may have been spur of the moment but no less meaningful. Because you knew that your marriage would last, you skipped over the part about creating a prenuptial agreement.

Now that the haze of post-wedding bliss is subsiding, you may wonder if skipping that agreement was a wise choice. Though you still feel happy in your marriage, you may also have come to realistic conclusions that divorce or other scenarios could put your financial affairs and other aspects of life in jeopardy. Fortunately, you can still take advantage of a postnuptial agreement.

Men often pushed to the side in child custody and support cases

Issues related to child custody and child support can linger until a child reaches the age of majority, which is 18. The outcome of disputes involving these issues can have serious ramifications. Relationships with one's children can be built or destroyed, and financial standing can be solidified or ruined. Therefore, there is a lot at stake when dealing with child custody and support matters, which is why those confronting them should consider seeking help from a qualified family law attorney.

One group of people who are often overlooked and mistreated during the process of addressing child custody and child support issues are fathers. Far too often attorneys and courts view mothers as the only viable option for physical custody, and fathers are often pushed to the side. Their visitation is often restricted, and they are usually ordered to pay child support. This world-view may be unfair, but until it changes it is the reality that Florida men will have to deal with for the time being.

How do you establish the paternity of a baby?

When a child is born in Florida, an important determination that is always made is the determination of the baby's paternity, in other words who the father is. This happens in a straightforward manner. If the baby's parents are married to each other, the husband of the mother is legally presumed to be the baby's father. If the parents are not married to each other, the baby's paternity must be established with a legal process. This blog post will discuss this legal process in a little more detail.

One way to establish the father's paternity is for the father to sign an acknowledgment of paternity. This will guarantee him all the rights, obligations and privileges appertaining to the role of father. Very often men will voluntarily sign such an acknowledgment when they are confident they are the father and want to play an active role in the child's life. Sometimes, however, men do not wish to be subject to these rights, obligations and privileges, so they do not voluntarily sign an acknowledgment. Then what?

Mandy Moore says her divorce led her out of a bad relationship

When Orlando spouses find that they are in a bad marriage, it may be a good idea to get out of it as soon as practicable. Many people have found that divorcing can be the first step to a much better relationship. One show biz personality recently talked about how her divorce turned out to be the gateway to a better life.

Mandy Moore is a singer; she also stars in the hit TV show "This Is Us." She described how years ago, she was stuck in an unhappy marriage with musician Ryan Adams. According to Moore, the marriage was an unhealthy situation and she felt she had chosen the wrong person. She said she didn't feel guilty about getting divorced, as it helped her find her way out of the unhealthy situation.

Complex asset division in a Florida divorce

The state of Florida is not a community property state. Instead, it follows an equitable distribution model, meaning that a court will ultimately decide what is a fair distribution of assets.

While divorcing parties may submit a proposed agreement, there is no guarantee that it will be granted. Further, there is no guarantee that any modifications or orders issued by the court will be considered "fair" by both parties. For this reason, there are a couple of things any divorcing couple in Florida should consider, but especially those in the throes of a high-asset divorce such as where there are businesses involved.

Alternative dispute resolution is not for everyone

The details of your marriage breakup are likely very different from those of other divorcing couples. While many spouses simply drift apart, others go through traumatic conflicts they can't resolve, and still others may experience a series of betrayals. Whatever the cause of your decision to divorce your spouse, you have numerous choices for the path you will take to dissolve the marriage.

Among those choices are mediation and collaboration. More couples are choosing these methods of divorce because they are less contentious and allow spouses to walk away with dignity and the potential for cooperating over common issues in the future. This is important for couples who have children or own businesses together. However, there are also circumstances where these alternative dispute resolution methods may not be appropriate and you need a strong litigator on your side.

My child is being withheld from me. What can I do?

Visitation interference is a serious matter. When parents are granted joint physical custody of a child, they must agree to abide by and respect the visitation time of the other parent. If one chooses not to do so, there are legal remedies available.

When one parent becomes angry or bitter toward the other it is often the child stuck in the middle who suffers the most. Forcibly alienating a child from one parent is not only emotionally damaging to the child, but is strongly frowned upon by courts across the nation. For this reason, a parent who is experiencing custody visitation interference can turn to the court for help.

The disappearing inheritance

Though a person may spend a lot of time in preparing a well thought out Last Will and Testament, things do not always go as planned. If that person does not update their will as ownership of assets change over the years, then those which are deemed to be the inheritance of another person may not always be available. In addition, if a person's financial situation changes, then upon their passing the estate may not hold enough funds to distribute money to a beneficiary. There are rules in place for these situations which determine whether a beneficiary is still entitled to anything.

Ademption is what occurs when property which was identified in a will is no longer owned or available at the time of death. In this scenario, the beneficiary to whom the property or gift was deemed will receive nothing. If the asset no longer exists then, in layman's terms, the gift no longer exists either. There are two exceptions to this rule. First, if insurance proceeds are payable to the estate due to the loss of property which a beneficiary was to receive, then that beneficiary is entitled to those proceeds. Second, ademption does not apply in cases where a person has left a cash inheritance to a beneficiary and specifically named the source or account from which it is to come. Even if that account is closed at the time of death, the beneficiary is still entitled to those funds from the estate.

The basics of alimony

Depending on the financial circumstances of a marriage, a court will sometimes award a former spouse alimony, otherwise known as spousal support. The purpose of this is to make sure both parties leave the marriage with the financial means of at least affording basic necessities to sustain a reasonably comfortable life.

For example, a couple has been married for 10 years. The husband is a physician, making a substantial monthly income. Because he works so much, the wife chose to forego her own career and stay home to take care of the kids. She is 100 percent supported financially by her husband. At the time of divorce, the court may order the husband to pay the wife monthly alimony for a set period of time. This will give her a reasonable period of time to get measures in place to financially support herself. This may include going back to school, conducting a job search or bringing some expired professional credentials up-to-date. It would be quite unfair for a judge to grant a divorce and award everything to one spouse, while leaving the other destitute.

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