Berman & Asbel, LLP

January 2017 Archives

Actor files for divorce from wife of 20 years

Pennsylvania residents may have heard that actor Cuba Gooding Jr. recently put in the paperwork to divorce his wife of 20 years. While news of the divorce came out on Jan. 20, his wife filed for separation in 2014, citing irreconcilable differences. The couple has three children together, and Gooding Jr. is requesting joint legal as well as physical custody of their 10-year-old child.

Estate planning and simultaneous deaths

When making estate plans, Pennsylvania residents might want to consider naming additional beneficiaries in the event that their first choice dies at the same time or shortly after they do. Sometimes it's impossible to determine who died first. A simultaneous death clause appoints one person in a couple or others whose estates are entwined to be named as the one who died first if this is the case. Couples might also want to consider changing property owned to "tenants in common" instead of "joint tenancy with rights of survivorship" to clarify how property is passed on if both individuals die at the same time.

Creating a parenting agreement

Most Pennsylvania parents who are ending their marriages understand that they must put their young children first. However, this is often easier said than done as parents' egos can intervene. If the parents can work together, however, the kids are more likely to be happy and well-adjusted.

Avoiding federal estate tax with an AB trust

Married couples in Pennsylvania may be able to pass on more of their assets to their children and grandchildren if they use an AB trust. An AB trust is specifically designed for married couples who want to maximize their estate tax exemptions. With a well-planned AB trust, a married couple that would otherwise owe federal estate taxes may be able to pass a tax-free inheritance to their beneficiaries.

The estate planning mistakes of celebrities

Many Pennsylvania residents were shocked and saddened when media outlets reported in April 2016 that Prince had died at the age of 57. The iconic performer was renowned for both his groundbreaking music and business acumen, so it came as a surprise to many when it was revealed that he had failed to write a will or put any kind of estate plan into place. This oversight likely means that millions of dollars will go to attorneys, bankers and the U.S. government instead of to his heirs or charitable endeavors.

Online information is part of estate planning

Life in a high-tech age can be complicated. It can have ramifications that may not pop up until after a person's death. Savvy Pennsylvania residents know it's important to provide their heirs or attorney with access to online accounts. With so much personal business being conducted through the Internet, having access to online accounts can be crucial to settling an estate.

Making smart choices about divorce in Pennsylvania

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the start of a new year also tends to bring with it a number of new divorce filings. This is likely due to the fact that people tend to want a fresh start and look for major ways of changing their lives. Additionally, the holidays tend to be very stressful for couples who are already having problems, and money matters, which are a common cause of divorce, may be more likely to crop up.

Electronic communications in Pennsylvania divorces

Social media and other electronic communications are increasingly playing a role in divorces. Along with certain communications causing some spouses to decide to end their marriages, what individuals say on sites like Facebook or in online conversations may also affect the outcome of a divorce.

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