Atkins and Atkins Attorneys at Law, LLC

Divorce, taxes and claiming dependents

When completing their tax returns, Ohio residents can claim qualifying dependents and encounter almost no issues. However, in situations in which multiple taxpayers are claiming the same dependents, such as when separated or divorce parents both claim their children, the process can quickly become complicated, forcing the Internal Revenue Service to examine the returns and decide which claim to allow.

Being able to claim dependents can be beneficial: Parents may be able to claim the Head of Household filing status. They may also claim related tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.

Estate planning can be important for everyone

Some Ohio millennials may think estate planning is only an important topic for older, wealthy people with multiple heirs. Even many older adults who are single or do not have kids might feel that they do not need a will or other estate documents. However, making a plan can provide benefits to people at all levels of wealth or stages of life. In addition, it can provide peace of mind.

Estate plans do more than just encompass documents that direct the disposition of goods like wills and trusts. They can also lay out who is responsible for making decisions when a person is incapacitated. One of the most important documents for every adult to have is a health care advance directive. In some cases, this may be more important for single people. This kind of document can lay out a person's expectations for lifesaving measures in case they are incapacitated after a severe accident or injury. It can also name another trusted person responsible for making medical decisions during incapacity.

Staying calm during a divorce has long-term gains

A divorce proceeding can be one of the most emotionally taxing legal events a person can experience. Many divorced individuals in Columbus, Ohio, can attest to this fact. However, becoming lost in one's emotions can have a detrimental effect on the divorce, including the property settlement and parenting plan. Techniques are available that can assist in minimizing the turmoil and making the most of a turbulent situation.

Many experts recommend recollecting on the marriage and identifying stressors that may have led to the divorce. There may be financial, child rearing or other issues that often were the trigger point for hostility and the cause of a communication breakdown. While reexamining the trigger points, individuals should consider other ways to approach the subjects.

Including an art collection in an estate plan

For art collectors in Ohio, paintings and sculptures are often their most precious possessions. Accumulated over years and at significant cost, art collections reflect not simply financial investments but also aesthetic passions. At the same time, they can be valuable assets. Despite that fact, many people hesitate to make a plan for how a collection will be handled after death. However, failing to include artwork in an estate plan can come with significant costs for heirs.

By including artwork in a comprehensive estate plan, collectors can help to protect their loved ones from excessive tax burdens and other expenses. For example, disputes over the disposition of artwork can lead to ongoing battles and even legal disputes, the cost of which can eat up the value of a person's estate as well as divide family members from one another. Collectors can utilize trusts or charitable donations to pass on their pieces of art. Another option is to create corporate vehicles to hold the works, enabling them to pass outside the probate system.

Divorce could mean splitting with professional partners too

Once an Ohio couple decides to end their marriage, there's often a lengthy process of transition as two households are established from one. Even when the parties know the split is the right path, anxiety can accompany the new beginning. It can be difficult seeing social friends having to choose between former partners. When it comes to business relationships that have been established during the marriage, it is advisable to think twice before continuing on.

Personal finance experts suggest it may be smart to consider a complete financial break from one's ex. For starters, a new divorcee should establish separate bank accounts, credit cards and retirement and investment accounts. The same goes for financial partners. It is prudent to seek a different accountant, financial adviser and estate planning lawyer. While a couple may have shared these professionals in the past, it's not wise to do so during a split.

Life insurance as an estate planning tool for Ohio baby boomers

Baby boomers in Ohio and other parts of the United States can take comfort in knowing they are part of the wealthiest generation in American history. Because of this fact, many boomers also wish to pass along certain assets to preferred beneficiaries. However, unexpected estate-related expenses may make this task difficult. One possible way boomers in The Buckeye State with significant assets can make things easier for heirs is by making life insurance part of an estate plan.

The main benefit of using life insurance for estate planning purposes is that it provides faster access to liquidity, or cash. For survivors, this extra cash can help with final expenses and probate-related costs that might include fees for accountants, attorneys, and appraisers. Additionally, a boomer's beneficiaries may be able to use life insurance payouts to take care of estate taxes, which often need to be paid several months after death. State inheritance and estate taxes may also be due.

Creating legacies by purchasing estate plans

There is a significant difference in how Ohio residents over 50 approach estate planning compared to how their children and grandchildren approach the subject. For the most part, older Americans have spent their lives managing their money in an organized and focused manner. Conversely, younger Americans tend to be more worried about paying off debt or meeting other challenges as opposed to thinking about the future. This lack of planning is something that many parents and grandparents find hard to understand.

However, those who are thinking about their legacies may want to purchase an estate plan for their children or grandchildren. This means actually spending money on an estate attorney or to create documents needed for an organized and thorough plan. It is important for individuals who want to give this gift to do so in an appropriate manner. For instance, it may be wise to bring it up when a child is born or when a family member passes.

Why you should update your estate planning during a divorce

When going through a divorce, there will be a lot on your mind. You will most likely be focused on child custody, property division and getting your life re-established. It may not be the easiest time to add one more legal process to your plate, but it will be important to revisit your estate planning during your divorce.

If you delay or fail to update your estate planning once you file for divorce, you may be facing unintended consequences if something happens to you. Once your divorce is finalized, your ex-spouse will be removed from your estate planning automatically, however, nothing will change in your estate plan during the divorce process. Since a divorce in some cases can take a considerable amount of time to be finalized, here are a few items you should look at.

Providing children of divorce with a quality holiday season

Divorce can be difficult for parents in Ohio and in any other state. It can also add more stress for parents during the holiday season. Ideally, they will realize that the goal is to provide for the needs of their children and ensure they have a quality experience. This will generally involve adults communicating with each other as well as with their kids prior to the holiday season.

Kids generally do better when they have some idea of what is happening during a hectic time. Ideally, they will be kept informed about who they are staying with and when any transitions between family members will take place. To make things easier for the children, the parents will need to remain on civil terms throughout the season. They will also need to make sure that they know where their children are and how they will get there.

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Atkins and Atkins Attorneys at Law, LLC

490 City Park Ave.
Columbus, OH 43215-5780

Phone: 614-398-3277
Phone: 614-485-8248
Fax: 614-591-4667
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