Berman & Asbel, LLP

October 2016 Archives

Life insurance policies in estate plans

Many Pennsylvania residents draft a last will and testament because they have very clear wishes about how they would like their estates to be distributed after they pass away. Financial assets like life insurance policies and retirement plans often account for a significant portion of their estates, but they are generally dealt with according to the provisions of the documents themselves rather than the terms of a will when their owners die.

Inmates and child support modifications

Pennsylvania non-custodial parents who are incarcerated and who have been ordered to pay child support usually can seek a modification of the order. However, 14 states do not allow parents who are in jail or prison to lower their child support obligations or make it very hard to do so. The Obama administration is moving to put regulations in place by Jan. 20 that will change this. These regulations will require states to set amounts that take a prisoner's income into account.

Splitting time between two states

Pennsylvania residents who like to spend part of the year at home and winter months in warmer climes may consider extending this lifestyle into their retirement years. They should mindful of which state they claim as their legal residence, as it can have an effect on how which strategies they should employ for their estate planning. This may be particularly important for individuals with substantial assets.

How to use trusts to pass on profits from angel investments

Angel investors in Pennsylvania might have their attention on helping a start-up company succeed, but the profits of that future success should also be considered during estate planning. Financial planners suggest setting up trusts where gifts of company stock could be placed. If the investment proves fruitful and the stock value rises, then the proceeds could be available to heirs and not be included in the investor's estate for federal estate tax purposes.

Moving out of the marital home during a divorce

When Pennsylvania couples decide to get a divorce, one spouse usually leaves the house. However, divorcing spouses may remain in the same house before the divorce is finalized if they choose. Unless there is a court order to vacate, one spouse cannot force the other spouse to move out while a divorce is ongoing.

Options to resolve custody disputes

During and after a divorce, issues of child custody are often one of the most important and divisive factors. Pennsylvania parents are often likely to litigate even the smallest issues related to child custody. This can greatly drag out a divorce process and easily cost thousands of extra dollars. Children are often harmed the most by an extensively litigated divorce. Parents may wish to consider alternatives to litigation in order to resolve their custody disputes.

Including a home in a living trust

The Pennsylvania probate system might be one of the best reasons to consider creating a living trust for assets such as the family home. Probate court can cause the management of an estate to drag on for many months after an individual dies. A trust, on the other hand, could provide for a prompt disposition of assets, requiring only a few weeks to wrap up a decedent's affairs. However, there are some important issues to consider in creating a living trust and including properties in it.

Estate planning: More than just distributing assets

Some people in Pennsylvania might think they do not need an estate plan because they are wealthy. However, an estate plan is not just about distributing wealth, and most adults could benefit from one. One important aspect of an estate plan is preparing for incapacity or for having to go to a nursing home.

Divorce strategies for women

Pennsylvania women often struggle with the decision to end a marriage. The decision to divorce is typically a heartrending one, often triggered by long-standing disputes that cannot be resolved. Women often have unique considerations in such an event, which means that specific legal and financial strategies may be in order.

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