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August 2019 Archives

Spouses may hide assets in divorce cases

A common occurrence in divorce cases is one spouse hiding assets from the other in an attempt to keep the assets for himself or herself once the divorce is finalized. People in Georgia who are approaching or going through a divorce should be aware of some of the tactics a spouse might use to conceal marital assets. He or she might move money around by overpaying creditors or the IRS, purchasing antiques or art, investing in cryptocurrencies or redirecting account statements.

Georgia ministry files lawsuit over zoning dispute

A Georgia addiction ministry has filed a lawsuit against the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners individually and as a group. The 30-page compliant, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, alleges that the board violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, the Fair Housing Act and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when it denied the ministry zoning approval to operate a transitional housing facility in Woodstock.

Dogs and divorce: The basics

It’s difficult to plan for divorce. There are a number of things you need to consider—home relocating, budget changes, drawing up a plan for the children, considering alternatives to court, singlehood. One thing you might not be considering in the unfortunate event of marriage dissolution is your dog. Divorce is tough on everybody involved—family dogs included.

Why to have both a trust and a will

Many people in Georgia know just how valuable trusts can be when planning for the future. They are a particularly flexible estate planning tool that can at times provide tax benefits as well as a higher level of control and privacy in determining how assets are to be handled. They also provide specific measures that can help the creator provide for minor children, people with special needs or other individuals who might require higher levels of protection when handling money. However, this does not mean that trusts should be the only estate planning document a person has in place.

Study says courts side with fathers when abuse is alleged

Although some people in Georgia may have heard that mothers are usually favored in custody battles, research indicates that this may not be the case. According to a study conducted by a professor at George Washington University Law School, when a mother says that sexual abuse is occurring while a father says that the mother is engaging in parental alienation, only one claim out of every 51 of sexual abuse is substantiated.

Trustees must balance many interests when making decisions

Generally speaking, a revocable trust is one that its creator can modify or revoke at will. The revocable trust is popular because it generally prevents a person's estate from going through probate after he or she dies. Furthermore, the terms of the trust go into effect as soon as the document is created. Therefore, an individual may have assets transferred or other decisions made on his or her behalf if that person becomes incapacitated.

Popular technologies may provide easy access to police

Video doorbell technologies are becoming more popular in Georgia and across the country. When people install a Ring doorbell, they can see who is at their door by checking the video feed provided by the accompanying mobile phone app. However, people may not fully realize that they are also providing this information to law enforcement agencies. Ring was purchased in 2018 by Amazon for $1 billion, indicating the popularity of the technology. Under Ring partnership agreements, police have access to a special portal that allows them to request video material from community members. Few might object to police asking for the information.

Protecting finances after a divorce

When people in Georgia decide to divorce, they may be concerned about how to protect their financial future when doing so. After all, the financial consequences can linger for a long time after the other emotional and practical issues have been sorted out. For most people, divorce can lead to major financial changes, especially when the couple involved has been married for a long time. However, there are ways that people can prepare to end their marriage and protect their finances as well.

Concerns raised about excessive plea bargains

For many people in Georgia accused of a crime, a plea bargain may seem an almost inevitable way to resolve the charges. After all, a full 97% of federal criminal convictions are garnered through the use of agreed-upon guilty pleas, rather than a conviction in court. The same is true of 94% of state criminal convictions. In 2018 alone, federal prosecutors initiated 80,000 cases, and only 2% went to trial. These numbers may come as a surprise; after all, it would seem that many people have a better chance to argue their cases before a jury of their peers where prosecutors are forced to prove allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.

Change in law for IRA distributions may change estate plans

Georgia residents who have an IRA or another retirement account, such as a 401(k), might want to review their estate plan if the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act passes the Senate as it is expected to do. The SECURE Act will change the rules around bequeathing IRAs and other retirement accounts to people who are not spouses.

Guilty pleas may remain on background checks indefinitely

Individuals who take part in diversion programs in Georgia or any other state likely need to plead guilty in their cases. This is true in spite of the fact that a charge may be dismissed if an individual successfully completes the program. Although the case may be considered dropped at the state level, a guilty plea could still be considered a conviction at the federal level.

A home doesn't have to be sold when a marriage ends

A couple that gets divorced in Georgia will likely need to decide what to do with the marital home. In some cases, it will be sold and the proceeds split in an equitable manner. However, an individual does have the right to pursue sole ownership of the property. This assumes that the other spouse is willing to be bought out and live somewhere else. There are several ways in which a person may obtain the funds to buyout a spouse.

Celebrity deaths show the importance of estate planning

The have been many prominent celebrities who have died without a clear estate plan. For example, the estates of Prince and Aretha Franklin, who died in 2016 and 2018, respectively, are still tied up in legal battles. Georgia residents may want to take note and learn from the estate planning woes of these celebrities.

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