Estate planning for a couple who are parents of the same children is often simple and straight-forward. When a couple has stepchildren, the planning for this blended family requires more thought. The plan needs to be documented. Creating wills is critical. Just as important is establishing beneficiary designations for assets not covered by the wills. But these steps alone may not be enough to assure that one party does not make unilateral changes to the joint plan in the future. Important estate planning tools for this family situation also include a written estate plannin agreement between the spouses and maybe a trust.
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Estate planning does not necessarily need to be complicated. The vast majority of people can have an effective estate plan without creating complex documents. But everyone does need to understand the legal interplay between a will, jointly owned assets and assets governed by designated beneficiary provisions outside the will.
Posted in: Elder & Disability Planning Articles
When it’s time to find a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, how you start? A good first step is Medicare’s website, www.medicare.gov. On its homepage you will find a tab labeled “Find a Nursing Home.” Following that link will take you to the Nursing Home Compare page. That page will help you evaluate nursing homes in your area. It features ratings of nursing homes in every state based on federal inspection and data collection.
A power of attorney allows you (the principal) to appoint another (your agent) to handle your legal and financial affairs, if necessary.Deciding what authority to give to your agent is very important. To understand your options you should speak with an attorney. Equally important is the person you choose as your agent. Many people automatically choose close family members for this job. But you and your potential agent should be aware of the legal duties your agent will be accepting. The law in Pennsylvania sets out a number of legal duties of an agent. Some are mandatory and some are optional.
There are both mandatory and optional legal duties of an agent under a financial power of attorney. The optional duties can be waived by the principal in the power of attorney. Before waiving any legal duties of the agent, the principal should consult with an attorney and consider the possible consequences.
A trustee should seek legal advice before taking on his duties so he knows how to legally and properly establish the trust accounts. The trustee needs to be sure the attorney is knowledgeable in estate and trust laws. A trustee should seek sound legal and financial advice at the beginning and annually to comply with the Uniform Trust Code or risk personal liability.
Posted in: Business Law Articles
In addition to estate planning, business owners must make arrangements for succession planning if they want to protect heirs and employees. Creating a business succession plan allows for the orderly and lawful transfer of control of your business, avoids disrupting business operations and negatively impacting the business’s value.
Posted in: Contract Law Articles
A contract must have three essential parts: an offer, an acceptance and consideraton. The offer has two parts: a promise to do something and a statement of what the person making the promise wants in return. The acceptance occurs when the party to whom the offer was made agrees to give the other person what she asked for in return. The consideration is what each party gets and gives.
Posted in: Contract Law Articles
Summary: If you are in the market for expensive products or services offered by multiple sellers, use this effective strategy: research what you need and want, who offers it and each seller’s reputation; write out your specifications and establish the rules for how the sellers are to give you their best price. This will give you your best alternative deals (B.A.D.).