Palmer Rodak & Associates
Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal SpecializationServing your Community for 19 Years
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Oceanside California Divorce and Estate Planning Blog

How can I guide my inheritance?

One reason Californians work hard is the desire to give their children a better life. For those with children who haven’t learned to manage their own money well, it may be a concern that their hard-earned money will not last long after they die. One solution is to establish a revocable living trust.

Investopedia explains that this type of trust can replace a will in distributing your assets following your death. An RLT lets you move holdings over throughout your life and also enables you to bypass probate in a process that is a quicker, less expensive transfer of assets. When you put property into a trust, whether it is real estate, savings or another type of investment, you no longer own it. Therefore, it does not need to go through probate. There are a variety of additional advantages to establishing an RLT, including the following.

  • Privacy: Documents in a will become public when they go through probate. If you have sensitive information or family records that you prefer to remain private, a trust allows that.
  • Asset management: Engaging a professional to manage and grow your assets as a trustee can help ensure you leave heirs with a financial cushion, as you are hoping.
  • Flexibility: You are still able to control assets in the trust while you are alive and change the document.
  • Separate assets: For couples with property acquired individually before marriage, an RLT can help keep those assets separate from community property and therefore, not subject to the same inheritance rules.
  • No disputes: Surviving family members can challenge a will or portions of it. A trust allows you to distribute your wealth as you see fit.
  • Control guardian spending: If you have minor children, a trust can limit what the guardian of it spends. You can also use it to give the trustee control of your finances, as well as the trust, should you become incapacitated without having to obtain a durable power of attorney.

Divorce when spouses share a business

Many married couples co-own and operate businesses together in California. While this can be a fruitful endeavor for many, it can pose unique challenges when those business partners and spouses embark on a divorce. If you are in this situation, you understand the complexities all too well. For some people, the decision to simply sell the business to a third party and move on is almost a no-brainer but that is far from your only option.

MarketWatch suggests that couples who want to work together in a joint business consider developing a buy-sell agreement before they ever start their venture. This is something that business partners who are not married might even do as it provides an exit strategy for a variety of reasons including death, the choice to pursue other opportunities, divorce and more. Another option for couples not yet married is a prenuptial agreement that can outline what will happen to the business if the marriage fails.

The important differences between physical and legal custody

Child custody is an important issue that could impact your California family for years to come. It is beneficial to consider how the choices you make will impact your loved ones moving forward, and an important part of this is understanding the types of child custody. There are two main types of custody, legal custody and physical custody.

The terms of your custody order will affect both you and your kids, lay the groundwork for the type of relationship you can have with your kids and determine the authority you will have in their lives. As you pursue a beneficial custody order in court or through negotiations and discussions with the other parent, it is important to know your rights and how you can shield your interests.

Military divorce jurisdiction considerations

If you or your spouse is a member of one of the branches of the United States armed forces and you currently live in California, you have no doubt lived in more than one state and possibly more than one country. While the need to move multiple times can be part and parcel of life in the military and it can expose you and your family to many new cultures and ways of life, it can actually pose an interesting dilemma for you if you are going to get a divorce.

The dilemma surrounds the issue of where you will file for your divorce. As explained by Military.com, different states have different divorce laws that may alter the outcome of your ultimate divorce settlement. The laws might also influence how long it might take you to complete your divorce if, for example, the state in which you file has a designated wait period after filing for divorce before allowing it to be final.

Beware of charitable donation scams

As planned giving grows in popularity, it becomes more and more important for people to be able to distinguish between legitimate charitable organizations and scams that masquerade as charities only to get fraudulent hands on well-meaning people's money. While charity scams might be enabled by modern society and the internet, these same things provide people with the ability to do their own research and ideally avoid falling prey to a scam.

As explained by Forbes, there are websites designed to give people insight into what organizations are actually legitimate charities. Two of these are Charity Navigator and Charity Watch. On the Internal Revenue Service website people can even conduct searches to see a list of organizations identified as exempt. People considering making donations to a particular entity can also look for online reviews as a means of finding potential problems.

Planned giving in estate planning

If you are like many people in California, when you hear references to a will, a trust or other estate planning terms your mind might automatically think about people leaving money or other belongings to their children and grandchildren. While certainly this is a relatively common thing for people to do, it is by far not the only means of estate planning. For starters, there are many people who do not have children or grandchildren and they may not even be married. This is just one scenario that begins to open up new ideas for how to structure an estate after you die.

Planned giving is a term that refers to making plans to leave money to a charitable organization. As explained by The New York Times, planned giving has grown in popularity in recent years. In fact, some people who even have family members still choose to engage in some form of planned giving. In fact, this might be in honor of a family member. For example, if a particular charity provided help to a family in need, the choice to leave money to that organization later on can be seen as a way of giving back and allowing others to benefit as well.

Nip custody trouble in the bud before it ruins your summer

Since the court finalized your divorce, you and your kids have been spending lots of quality time together, talking about your feelings, the future and plans you have for making new memories together. You've also been discussing the logistics of the situation, such as where they will live, how often they will see their other parent and other pertinent details. Like many California parents, you may now be looking forward to spending a fun, relaxing summer with your kids. 

You have to work a lot of the time, but you'll have time off as well and hope to take a few trips and also kick back at home and enjoy your kids' company. If your ex isn't easy to get along with and tries to thwart your summer plans, you may need the court's help to resolve a particular problem.  

Plan ahead for your single financial life

If you and your spouse in California have developed a trust or a will, you likely feel comfortable that you have taken care of your estate planning needs. While certainly developing these documents and outlining your wishes in them is a big step, it is not the only thing you should do in order to truly prepare you to take over your financial life after your spouse dies. Given that in most marriages, one person outlives the other, being prepared is critical especially if the person who dies first is the one that manages the money.

As explained by Next Avenue, one thing that many people might not even consider is ensuring they have access to all online accounts. You and your spouse should have a place where you record all user names and passwords so that you will be able to get into every account needed without issue. This will help you be able to pay any debts, access assets and more.

Tribal court and state court at odds in custody case

Child custody cases in Oceanside may quickly become ugly thanks to the many complexities involved. Often, jurisdictional matters are what hold up custody disputes. Parents (or guardians) who have moved away with children will often want to claim that jurisdiction should be granted to the court for the county in which they currently reside (since the kids are living there). At the same time, the counties that the kids were taken from (while the other parent remained) may assert their jurisdictional right, claiming that the other party simply fled because he or she did not get the ruling he or she was hoping for. 

That is the inference being made in an ongoing custody case between a Montana woman the father of her grandsons (who is a Minnesota resident). A Minnesota court awarded him custody of his boys in 2014 after their mother had been declared unfit to care for them due to addiction issues. The grandmother claims that they boys' father also had his struggles with alcohol, and that he has threatened violence toward her and the boys in the past. However, Minnesota court officials state that he completed mandatory treatment and that he is capable of caring for his sons. 

Issues with long-term care insurance costs

If you are one of the many residents in California who has faced the need to provide care and a safe place to live for an aging relative, you know that there are many issues associated with this. Certainly there are concens when it comes to finding an appropriate level of care with staff you trust so you know your loved one is being well cared for and not neglected or abused. Then there are the financial worries that may be present as this type of care can be very expensive.

For some time, people have struggled to find the best way to prepare for these needs. Because one may never really know if they will or will not need long-term care, paying out for this when they are young can be a hard decision to make. Long-term care insurance policies have offered one type of option but, as Kiplinger indicates, there are issues with these policies for several people and especially for women.

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Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

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