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June 2019 Archives

Racketeering in Georgia is a felony tricky to define

Until about 50 years ago, it was harder to prosecute people for running criminal organizations, which often involve many people committing a variety of crimes for reasons sometimes difficult to connect to one another. Remembering that Al Capone was eventually imprisoned for tax evasion, U.S. law enforcement pressed to create, in essence, a law against being a mob boss.

How child support payments vary between states

Georgia parents may pay more in child support than parents in comparable income brackets one state away in Florida, and parents in both states may pay more than those in Tennessee. The company Custody X Change used hypothetical divorced parents of two children with an income of $55,000 for the noncustodial parent and $45,000 for the custodial parent to arrive at what it called "typical" child support amounts for each state.

Supreme court upholds certain double jeopardy cases

In a major decision by the Supreme Court in June, the justices declined to protect defendants from being prosecuted for the same underlying crime in both state and federal courts. The decision, which will impact defendants in Georgia and every other state, involved a defendant who was charged with crimes related to firearms. According to the appeal, the federal charges violated double jeopardy protections described in the Fifth Amendment to the constitution. The lower appellate court denied the appeal, and the Supreme Court affirmed their decision.

Avoiding estate planning mistakes

One of the many estate planning mistakes that Georgia residents should avoid is designating minors as direct beneficiaries. People under the age of 18 cannot receive assets from an estate directly. It will be necessary to appoint a guardian who can hold and maintain the assets on behalf of the minor. A custodian or trustee for minor beneficiaries can be named in a will in order to avoid time and costs of a guardianship.

The importance of information sharing in estate planning

Despite having a will or trust and other important estate planning documents in place, some people in Georgia may neglect to leave behind the passwords that allow loved ones to access online accounts and such hardware as phones and tablets. If the spouse who dies is the one who has primarily dealt with the finances and other practical issues, such as repairs, this can create additional difficulties for people at a vulnerable time.

A trust is a valuable estate planning tool

When many people consider getting their end-of-life affairs in order, the issue of whether their will is up to date or it's finally time to make a will come to the forefront. While in some instances, the term 'will" is generically used for all of one's estate planning documents, many Georgia residents have a will and nothing else. Although a will may be legally effective at accomplishing a number of its maker's intentions, a trust can often provide broader and more expansive protections.

Juvenile justice system differs from adult system

The juvenile criminal justice system is run differently than it is for adults who have committed crimes. Though laws vary by state, most juveniles over the age of seven and under the age of 18 who are accused of committing a crime will go through the juvenile justice system. Children under the age of seven are generally not penalized, though the parents may be held accountable for the crime. Juveniles who commit serious crimes may be tried as an adult.

Smartphone apps may promote unnecessary fear

Apps like Citizen and Nextdoor are widely promoted to Georgia residents hoping to protect themselves from crime. While violent crime statistics have dropped significantly across the country in the past 25 years, many people are more concerned about crime than ever before. Crime statistics may do little to ease the concerns of people who simply feel unsafe. There are several factors that may contribute to this perception of crime, including dramatic nationwide media reporting that often focuses on the most violent incidents. While these apps may seem to provide people with greater control over their crime knowledge, critics say that they stoke fears and don't protect people from danger.

Concerns for business owners during divorce

The financial effects of divorce can last long after most of the emotional and practical issues surrounding the end of a marriage have been resolved. This is especially true for business owners in Georgia, who often have unique concerns about how to protect their companies. In many cases, the family business is the marital asset with the highest value, even outstripping other items like the marital home, investment accounts or retirement funds. Therefore, negotiating a solution on property division is often based on resolving key questions about the business and its future.

Validity of fingerprint evidence dependent on technician skill

Juries in Georgia tend to place great value on fingerprint evidence. Although everyone appears to have unique fingerprint patterns, mistakes in the processing of fingerprint samples could place blame for crimes on the wrong people. The accurate identification of a fingerprint depends on criminal evidence technicians never making any mistakes. Criminal defense attorneys contend that no one can avoid mistakes 100% of the time, especially when technicians often work with partial or smudged prints.

Tips for dealing with challenging former partners

It can be difficult for anyone to deal with a narcissist or those who display other challenging personality traits. However, even narcissists may be entitled to visitation or other rights to their children. Ideally, parents in Georgia and elsewhere can adapt to their situation and do what is best for their sons or daughters. For instance, it may be best to limit how much contact a controlling or abusive parent has with a child.

Georgia's changing views on marijuana: Could it become legal?

There are widespread movements across the nation to legalize marijuana. So far, only 11 states have fully legalized its recreational use. The other 39 states cover a wide range, from completely illegal to only legalized medical marijuana.

Divorced parents might face challenges during summer break

With summer drawing nearer every day, kids are itching to get out of school. And parents are busy planning for how they will take care of their children after school is out. They might even be looking forward to some time off with their family as well.

The problem with signing more than one copy of a will

One of the most important aspects of estate planning in Georgia is ensuring that a will is completed and signed by all the necessary parties. Signing more than one copy of a will is possible. This may seem like a good idea if the creator wants multiple loved ones to have access to the will. However, estate planning professionals generally argue against this practice.

Choosing a successor for your family business

For many business owners, preparing their business for a future without them can be distressing. However, your succession plan is an important part of your estate plan. For family businesses, the important task of choosing a successor can become especially complicated.

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