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Money, Property & Divorce

Money, Property & Divorce

Going through a divorce is a very strenuous and stressful time for a divorcing couple. While most people are thinking about child custody issues, financial matters, dividing their assets and debts, canceling credit cards and closing bank accounts, it also creates a significant need to update your estate plan. Because of the upcoming change in personal finances, assets and planning objectives, a revision of an estate plan is necessary for both spouses. Of course, there’s the fact that most spouses no longer want their ex-spouse to remain as beneficiary of his or her estate plan. Estate plans are typically comprised of wills, powers of attorney, insurance contracts, beneficiary designations, trusts, and healthcare directives, all of which you may want to revise after a divorce. It is generally a good idea to update your estate planning documents after any major life events, such as a divorce or a death in the family. Doing so ensures that information within those documents reflects any changes in the circumstances of your life or in the lives of your family members. If a married person fails to change his or her estate plan after a divorce and then dies, the possibility exists that the ex-spouse may take a share of the decedent’s estate, or may take under the terms of a beneficiary designation. While a divorce automatically terminates some of the ex-spouse’s rights, in many cases it does not. Understandably, divorce and death are not fun things to think about; however, divorce is one of the most important times to update an estate plan – or create one. Working with a qualified attorney, estate...
What is the difference between a marriage license and a marriage certificate?

What is the difference between a marriage license and a marriage certificate?

Are you thinking about tying the knot in the near future? Have you looked into the marriage license requirement yet? A marriage license is a legal document that allows a couple to marry and must be obtained before the wedding, while the marriage certificate is an official document proving you are legally married and issued after the marriage has taken place. With a little planning, it might only take you and your fiancé and hour or so to get your marriage license. If your county clerk recommends setting an appointment, do so. Make sure you take all needed documentation with you and be very careful that you are obtaining the license in a timeframe allowing you to use it on your big day. To obtain the marriage license, the couple must appear together at a local government office, usually the County Clerk’s Office, approximately one month before the ceremony. The license is valid for a set period of time; usually about two months so don’t wait too long. The cost for a marriage license in California varies from county to county – between $35 and $100. After you have been married, your wedding officiant will sign and verify the marriage license and submit back to the county. The county will then take several weeks to issue your marriage certificate. A certified copy of the marriage certificate is $14. Good luck to you and your special someone. Hopefully you will have no trouble with the marriage license requirements and you will live together happily ever after. If you have questions, concerns or issues now or down the road, contact the...
Will you have enough money to live the retirement life you want?

Will you have enough money to live the retirement life you want?

Anyone who has any assets, including money, insurance policies, or possessions, has an estate. If you want to make sure these things go to the people you want and in the proper amounts, it is important to have an estate plan in place. What about money for retirement? Many families can better organize their financial affairs when they know about the many solutions that are available to them. However, when is the best time to start saving for retirement? The answer is simple: as soon as you can. Ideally, the best time to begin is when you begin earning a paycheck. The sooner you begin saving, the more time your money has to grow. Tax-favored retirement accounts, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)’s are the best places to save for your retirement. Most plans allow you to defer taxes on the money you save and the returns you earn within the account. Tax deferral means that the amount you contribute escapes income taxes until you start withdrawing the money years later. Another advantage is that many employers will match part of your contributions, especially in 401(k) plans. How much money should you save? The answer is: as much as you can. If you begin saving in your 20s, you should try to save between 10% and 15% of your income for your retirement. It’s a good idea to speak to a financial advisor or an experienced estate planning attorney who will help you establish a savings target – one that tells you about how much you should set aside over time to meet your retirement goals. Creating...
What is an advance healthcare directive?

What is an advance healthcare directive?

Although death is an inevitable part of life, many of us are reluctant to face the fact that we are not going to live forever and plan for our end-of-life care. By making end-of-life choices early on, you can improve the quality of your life in the future and ease the burden on your family later on. Discussing and preparing an Advance Health Care Directive with your loved ones offers the best assurance that decisions regarding your future medical care will reflect your own values and wishes. It is difficult for an individual to think about the care and treatment they will want in the event they are incapable of making their own health care decisions one day. However, completing an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) is important because you may unexpectedly find yourself in a position where you cannot speak for yourself, such as an accident or severe illness. An Advance Health Care Directive gives you the following options: You can appoint someone (your agent) who has power of attorney to make care and treatment decisions on your behalf and give instructions about your health care wishes, such as a trusted friend or family member You can give detailed instructions about your health care wishes You can do both – appoint someone to make your decisions and give detailed instructions Once you have completed the required form and have your signature notarized or witnessed, take a copy to your primary care physician so that it can be placed in your medical records file. In addition, give your agent a copy and keep one for your own personal records....