Berman & Asbel, LLP

October 2013 Archives

Planning to maximize an inheritance for your kids

Every family has a different set of goals when it comes to estate planning. For some, making an estate plan is simply a necessary part of organizing their affairs and it is unnecessary to get too in-depth with complex plans or methods to minimize tax. For others, the goal of estate planning might be to help set up the next generation or grandchildren to aid with a specific cost, such as buying a first home or paying for college.

Child custody battle spans over a decade, teen wants involvement

It is no surprise to many Pennsylvania residents that child custody issues can span for years in some extreme cases of disputes. Parents may vie for certain rights or take desperate measures to see their children, including taking them to different states to keep the other parent away. These child custody situations can be distressing for everyone involved and could potentially prove futile as the situation drags on.

Same-sex couples and divorce: Creating legal documents could help

Gaining the ability to marry someone they love has been a long road for many same-sex couples. As more states are recognizing and legalizing same-sex unions, the statistics and issues concerning same-sex couples and divorce are coming to the forefront. While couples may marry in a state that recognizes their union, if they later decide to separate and live in a state that does not consider their marriage legal, they could face difficulties in gaining the ability to divorce and face hurtles dealing with other separation issues.

Questions of vulnerability arise in undue influence trial

There are a lot of safeguards in the estate planning process to ensure that the plans that go into effect for distributing a person’s estate are their own. This is because our legal system places emphasis on honoring the wishes of the deceased as much as possible, even in situations where it is difficult to figure out what their wishes were. At the same time we also impose some basic standards for executing a valid will and making valid changes as a way to reduce the likelihood of fraud or undue influence. 

How do you value assets with no price tag?

One of the big issues that comes up in estate planning is tax planning. Minimizing tax liability and preserving assets for the next generation is an important goal that many Pennsylvania families take into account when creating a plan. Tax planning means taking deductions at the right time, transferring assets carefully, and having a good idea of the total value of the estate or a prediction of its likely value in the future. Valuing assets is harder than it sounds, especially when it comes to unique items like art, family heirlooms, or real estate, which have fluctuating values based on market conditions.

Property division: Recognizing signs of hidden assets or income

Understanding the financial side of a marriage has a tendency to be delegated to one spouse or the other. While this may seem efficient during a marriage in order for household duties to be divided, one spouse may find him- or herself at a disadvantage should the couple decide to separate. Not understanding where certain money goes or how much specific income each partner generates could lead to a party being taken advantage of when it comes to property division.

High asset divorce may call for complicated protection measures

As many Pennsylvania residents know, divorce can turn into a complicated and stressful situation for the parties involved depending on the circumstances. When the situation is a high asset divorce, certain individuals may want to ensure that their assets are protected and that they will get their fair share when it comes to division. Determining who may be entitled to what when it comes to divorce can be difficult to work through and in many cases, outside assistance may be needed.

Job programs could help parents who are behind on child support

Typically after a divorce that also involves children, custody arrangements must be made. Once the arrangements are settled, one parent usually has the obligation of paying child support to the custodial parent. Though many Pennsylvania residents understand that payments must be sent, some parents are unable to make their payments due to lack of income or other serious issues. Unfortunately, they may still be at risk for severe penalties associated with back child support.

Family, charities, caregivers reach deal in dispute over will

The major stakeholders in a dispute over heiress Huguette Clark's last will and testament have reached a settlement, ending the conflict and leaving a substantial sum to charities that benefit the arts. The conflict originally arose after Ms. Clark passed away and two very different wills executed around the same time were found. The first version left much of her estate to distant relatives with whom she had little or no contact. The second version left gifts to her hospital, caretakers, lawyer, accountant, and established an arts charity. 

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