Berman & Asbel, LLP

April 2013 Archives

Supreme Court to weigh in on Indian child custody case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in an unusual case involving parental rights. The outcome of the child custody case could change the way that a federal law is applied to cases in Pennsylvania and across the nation. At the heart of the matter are the rights of parents of Native American children, as well as rights afforded to adoptive parents.

Even 'permanent' estate tax exemptions aren't permanent

Taxes are a very common discussion where estate plans are concerned. Creating an estate plan that maximizes the legacy one can give to their heirs and beneficiaries is something that is surely sought after on a regular basis. After the American Taxpayer Relief Act was passed, the hype over the tax exemption seemed to die down quite a bit. Why; the act set the estate tax exemption at a permanent level of $5 million indexed for inflation. But how permanent is permanent?

NFL broadcaster's death good time to discuss ancillary probate

Pat Summerall may be best remembered by younger sports fans as the voice that broadcasted football games involving teams like the Philadelphia Eagles opposite John Madden in the NFL booth across the nation, but his career started well before that. He was born in Florida where he played a wide variety of sports but eventually went to Arkansas as football player.

Property division eased by proper financial planning

When a Pennsylvania couple divorces, one of the most difficult aspects of the process involves the division of marital assets. The property division portion of a divorce can increase one's litigation costs exponentially, leaving all parties with less in the end. The best means of preventing lengthy and involved property division debate is to clearly outline the ownership of assets while the marriage is still intact.

Property division more complex for older spouses

Pennsylvania readers will recognize the current trend in divorce statistics involving older Americans. Changes in the way that we enter into and end our marriages leave older adults with unique property division needs. If these needs are not properly addressed during a divorce, serious financial difficulties can result.

Trusts and bankruptcy: some important things to know

Financial problems are something that a lot of Pennsylvania individuals and families worry about. Trusts are a common tool to help individuals or families avoid financial struggle, but some are forced to consider bankruptcy even when one is in place. Some common questions arise, including whether a trust could affect the ability to file, whether assets held in trust could be included in the bankruptcy estate or how to draft a trust that would avoid issues in the future.

Issues facing same-sex couples and divorce

The decision to file for divorce can be a difficult landmark in an individual's life. However, when it comes to same-sex couples and divorce, the process can become extremely complicated due to differences in how various states handle gay divorce. Many Pennsylvania couples are uncertain how to proceed, and how to best protect their interests amid shifting social norms.

The actions of beneficiaries can affect their inheritance

Estate administration during probate is about determining what goes where. It is about calculating taxes, determining what is included in the taxable estate, what liabilities may need to be addressed and of course who the beneficiaries of the estate will be. Determining the beneficiaries is not simply about reading a name. In fact, the actions of the beneficiary could even affect his or her inheritance.

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