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Estate planning and the irrevocable trust

The great thing about executing an estate plan in Florida is that it can be custom-tailored to fit your needs. If you want to evenly distribute your estate amongst your loved ones, then you can utilize a will to do so. You can also use this document if you want to disinherit someone. If you want to place conditions on the distribution of your estate, then you can utilize a number of trusts to meet your needs. To create a successful estate plan, though, you need to make sure that you fully understand your options and how each one may be beneficial to you.

One trust option is the irrevocable trust. As its name implies, this trust cannot be reneged once created. All assets placed in the trust remain in the trust for the benefit of a named beneficiary until such time as the property is released from the trust to the beneficiary. Once property is placed in the trust it cannot be removed, which may give some individuals pause. However, there are significant advantages to utilizing this trust type.

Collaborative divorce: A better way to dissolve a marriage

Every year, numerous couples in Florida decide to call it quits on their marriages. Every year, some of those couples spend time looking for ways to make the divorce process as painless and easy as possible. If you are ending your marriage and you want to avoid court and have a real say in what you will walk away with, a collaborative divorce may be for you.

How does collaborative divorce work? Do I have to use an attorney who specializes in this type of dissolution process? What if collaboration does not work out? These are some common questions people need answers to before diving into the collaborative divorce process.

Jeff Bezos and wife seeking multi-billion dollar divorce

The financial ramifications of the end of a marriage can be immense. This is especially true for those seeking a divorce in Florida or elsewhere in the United States who have a high net worth. These individuals can find the property division process to be painstakingly meticulous, and discussions about alimony can set the stage for one's post-divorce financial well-being. In other words, there is a lot at stake during marriage dissolution proceedings. Perhaps no one knows this more than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Bezos recently took to the Internet to announce that he and his wife of 25 years are parting ways. Bezos' estimated wealth is somewhere near $137 billion. Since Amazon was founded prior to the Bezos' marriage, the property division process may be complex and potentially costly. In fact, Bezos' wife may be entitled to half of that $137 billion.

Florida's requirements for a legally valid will

Many Floridians think that a will is enough to satisfy their estate planning needs. This is because wills and the issues that sometimes accompany them are easy to portray in the media, including film and television. Yet, the truth of the matter is that there are many other aspects of estate planning that can ensure that an estate plan is holistic in nature. Everyone who creates a will needs to ensure that it is executed in a clear and legally valid manner. Otherwise an entire estate plan, regardless of how thorough it is, can be placed in jeopardy.

Under Florida law, certain legal elements must be met before a will is considered valid. To start, every will must be reduced to writing and signed by the testator at the end of the document. If the testator is unable to physically sign the document, then it must be subscribed by another individual at the testator's direction and in the testator's presence.

Substance abuse can affect child custody and visitation

Child custody and visitation issues are sometimes amongst the most highly contested family law matters. Splitting couples may feud over these arrangements, with each believing it knows what is best for the child in question. When these matters cannot be settled outside of court, they must be determined by a judge after the presentation of evidence. This decision will be based on the best interests of the child, which takes several factors into consideration.

One factor that can have a major impact on the outcome of a child custody or visitation issue is the presence of parental substance abuse. This is because substance abuse on a parent's part can have a tremendous impact on a child. It can lead to a child's decreased performance in school, low self-esteem, behavioral issues, emotional problems and an increased risk of developing depression and/or anxiety.

Law firm competently handles paternity issues

Last month on the blog we discussed how paternity can be established. Taking the necessary steps to establish paternity is no small thing. After all, men who establish paternity bring to life a number of parental rights. They suddenly have the right to seek visitation and custody, and if they obtain custody they can then seek child support.Paternity issues can arise, though, that threaten an individuals rights. The law creates certain presumptions that a man is a child's father that can only be overcome if certain steps and specific pieces of evidence are presented to a court. Failing to take these steps and present this evidence can leave a man unable to develop the relationship and the bond he desires with his child. Looking at paternity from a mother's perspective, it can be just as important, as it can allow her to seek child support from an absent father, and in some instances it may allow her to give her child the relationship he or she deserves with his or her father.Paternity issues, like most family law matters, can be very challenging to successfully address. Oftentimes, people find paternity issues confusing, especially in instances where more than one man has been alleged to be a child's father. This is why it is often critical to have a skilled legal ally on your side when addressing paternity issues. Competent family law attorneys, like those found that our law firm, have experience dealing with these issues and know what must be done in order to achieve desired results. Therefore, it is in an individual's best interest to sit down with an attorney of his or her choosing to figure out how best to address the problem at hand.There is a lot at stake in paternity cases. Of course there's money in the form of child support, but there is also the deep and long-lasting relationship between a parent and a child. With so much at stake it doesn't make sense to let these issues play out as they will or to try to handle them on one's own. Instead, consider reaching out to a skilled legal professional who can provide you with the assistance that you and your child deserve.

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?

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