Atkins and Atkins Attorneys at Law, LLC

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.

Life and death of Stan Lee highlight need for estate planning

Characters from the Marvel Comics universe, like Spider-Man and Captain America, are familiar names among many Ohio residents. The passing of Stan Lee, the company's founder, leaves behind a large estate. Any will or trust established by the former publisher and chairman has not yet been publicly disclosed. If an estate plan is lacking, then a lengthy court process could ensue as possible beneficiaries make their claims.

The many business managers and attorneys who worked with Lee during his life could come forward with documents that supposedly apply to his estate. Media reports about Lee's later years revealed turmoil in his life, especially about money. He reportedly said that $1.4 million had disappeared from his bank accounts. Lee had also been targeted by claims that he was in mental decline. Earlier this year, he signed a document that accused his 68-year-old daughter of verbally abusing him, spending money recklessly and associating with three men who wanted to take advantage of him. After getting the document notarized, he allegedly rescinded his claims.

An in-depth look at probate

Probate has earned a bad reputation over the years. Many people ask how they can avoid it because they worry about how much time and money it will cost them. 

It is true that there are many myths about probate, but it is possible that the negative reputation comes from people going into it unprepared. This is an easy thing to do, because probate is often the last thing a family wants to go through after losing a loved one. However, a comprehensive look at probate might help Ohio families feel less wary about the process.

Divorce and avoiding financial mistakes

Ohio couples who are planning to get divorced should know that the process can be lengthy and have emotional consequences. They should also be particularly aware of how getting divorced can negatively affect their finances in the present and in the future and of what steps to take to mitigate that impact.

For many people, the time during a divorce can be very emotionally challenging. They may attempt to use spending as a way to cope with what they are feeling. Spending may also be used as a way to celebrate no longer being married. Individuals getting divorced or who are already divorced should take care to reign in their spending, as they may not have the financial resources they had when they were married.

Estate planning details that should not be ignored

Ohio residents should make sure to avoid a few common errors when creating estate plans. For example, some people create a trust and then do not fund it properly. Assets might need to be retitled to be placed in a trust, or there may be some other required procedures. Estate owners should also be aware of assets that cannot be passed using a trust, such as property owned jointly with rights of survivorship.

It's important to consider beneficiary designations as well. Life insurance policies and retirement accounts are among the types of assets that are usually passed using beneficiary designations. Failing to correctly prepare these documents could result in income tax consequences later.

4 ways parents can make divorce, custody easier on children

Divorce can be very difficult on children. Even if the divorce is best for everyone, children can still be sad that their parents no longer live together and fearful about what will happen to their relationship with each parent. They might struggle with anxiety, guilt and confusion, as well.

As parents, you can do a number of things to make situations related to divorce and child custody easier on your children. 

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Atkins and Atkins Attorneys at Law, LLC

490 City Park Ave.
Columbus, OH 43215-5780

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