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Posts Tagged ‘Divorce’

One of the most common estate planning mistakes that people make is joint ownership.

 Estate planning can be daunting. Once you get past the fact that your very mortality (and morbidity) is the triggering event, estate planning means taking stock of all you own and, what is often more important, how you own it. Yes, there are many degrees of ownership and each can make for some difficult wrinkles. One common phenomenon is joint ownership between generations. Not only is it common, but it can make for some unintended problems. Forbes recently ran a piece on some of these problems and the five reasons to avoid such ownership form. Let’s review some of the…

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As more and more people marry more than once, prenuptial agreements have become an important estate planning tool.

Marriage is a tricky institution, enough so to feed a thriving business for therapists and prime-time sitcoms alike. Re-marriage can be even trickier, especially when it comes to your estate planning. If you are considering re-marriage, you may be well advised to also consider a prenuptial agreement. Though it may not seem the most romantic gesture, a prenuptial agreement is simply an honest disclosure of both parties’ assets and agreement as to their distribution should the union dissolve, or at the death of either spouse. Enter re-marriage without one at your own risk – or that of your estate. Without…

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“Our pre-nuptial agreement shows that everything belongs to my husband so I can qualify for benefits.”

Unfortunately, the State of Maryland does not take pre-nuptial agreements into consideration when determining Medicaid eligibility. All assets owned by either spouse are considered jointly owned and must be divided and spent-down exactly as they would if there was no pre-nuptial agreement in place. The only way a pre-nuptial agreement is effective is if the couple actually divorces.

What is a Special (Supplemental) Needs Trust and Why is it Advisable?

In the State of Maryland, and Federal Law parents of a special needs child can set up a Supplemental (or a Special Needs) trust for their children which will not disqualify them from government benefits, such as Social Security and Medicaid. Unfortunately, prior to this protection, parents would simply disinherit their disabled children rather than see their hard earned savings be squandered to the state. Now, the child receives money from the trust for their extra needs i.e. what the state does not supply, such as vacations; special equipment; medical help that the state does not provide or supply, glasses,…

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Divorce Over 50: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

An article discussing the complexities of late-in-life divorces (noting that divorce is increasingly common in these age groups) by centering on three mistakes that must be avoided. The article is tax and social security sensitive, discussing 401(k)’s and advising trusts and other estate planning techniques. The three mistakes they relate, by their titles, are “ignoring taxes on retirement funds”, “overvaluing alimony, undervaluing Social Security”, and “forgetting about the kids” states SmartMoney.

Divorce can Complicate Social Security Claims – Knowing the rules involving spousal and survivor benefits can prevent costly errors.

 If yours was among the roughly 50 percent of marriages that ended in divorce, you may want to brush up on the Social Security rules involving spousal and survivor benefits. Why? Because mistakes can be quite costly. The LA Times recently offered a brief primer, highlighting the primary issues that could affect divorced people in their retirement years. The Basics. If you were married for at least 10 years to someone who paid into the Social Security system, you are entitled to a spousal benefit, even if you are divorced from that person. Spousal benefits, if claimed at your full…

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Avoiding Conflicts Involving the House with a Premarital Agreement

One area where it is crucial to make sure the premarital agreement is integrated with the estate plan is with regard to the residence. For example, while many premarital agreements provide that the surviving spouse may remain in the residence, the house may be in a revocable living trust that goes directly to the children. To avoid such conflicts, Ganderson tries to have the estate plan completed before the marriage. One option for clients who want to allow a surviving spouse to continue to reside in the home is for the wealthy spouse to set up a trust to provide…

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Premarital Agrrement

A client who is considering a second (or third or more) marriage often has more complicated estate planning needs than a single client or a client who has been married only once. A premarital agreement can be key to protecting a client's assets, but the attorney must make sure the agreement is integrated with the client's estate plan. At the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys' 2010 Elder and Special Needs Law Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, earlier this year, Virginia estate planning attorney Martin J. Ganderson discussed how to plan for a second marriage and outlined the various estate…

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The number of opposite-sex couples living together jumped 13% this year to 7.5 million

The number of opposite-sex couples living together jumped 13% this year to 7.5 million, according to an article I read this week in USA Today. In fact, researchers estimate that half of all married couples now live together before they get married. Why? Some blame the sluggish job market, but others suggest that couples who choose to live together frequently do so to avoid what they consider “legal hassles,” especially those associated with a potential break-up. However, the truth is that for unmarried couples who break-up, the fall-out can be worse than a messy divorce. USA Today suggests that unmarried…

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