September 2019 Archives

Details can make the difference in estate planning

People in Georgia may want to pay close attention to beneficiary designations when they think about estate planning. People may feel that when they have written a will or established a trust, they have everything in order for the future. However, a wide array of assets are not generally distributed through a will or the probate process. Instead, they pass directly to another person by naming a payable on death beneficiary. Life insurance, investment accounts and retirement funds are some of the accounts that most frequently pass by naming a beneficiary, as are regular bank accounts.

Key activities to relieve stress during divorce

Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult things Georgia couples experience in their lives. According to statistics published by the American Psychological Association, roughly half of all first marriages across the country end in divorce. The divorce process does not only mean losing a partner and co-parent; it can also mean giving up on long-standing plans and the hope of a continued loving relationship with a particular person. There are things people can do to help them make the transition less stressful and taxing.

Communication can be important when preparing an estate plan

There are some tactics that Georgia residents could use to reduce their future estate tax bill. The first strategy is to transfer up to $11.4 million in assets to their beneficiaries either in gifts or through their will. Married couples can choose to combine their estate tax exemption, which means that they could give up to $22.8 million tax-free. Giving money to charities can also help to reduce an estate's overall worth, which can reduce the amount of money paid to the government.

Jailhouse informants linked to almost 20% of wrongful convictions

A growing criminal justice reform movement across the country has placed greater scrutiny upon the use of jailhouse informants. According to the Innocence Project, which works to free people from prison who suffered wrongful convictions, nearly 20% of wrongful convictions arise from false testimony provided by jailhouse informants. As a result, criminal defendants in Georgia could be vulnerable to misleading statements gathered by prosecutors from their cellmates.

Not all felons are necessarily bad people

Georgia residents could be charged with a felony for calling in sick when they aren't actually ill. They could also be charged with a felony for other seemingly absurd reasons such as improperly importing primates or getting lost in the woods. However, the consequences of being a felon are nothing to laugh about. Those who are convicted of a felony could lose their right to vote in an election or carry a weapon.

Why a post-nuptial agreement may be beneficial for new parents

Expecting parents in Georgia may want to think about a potential divorce. Negotiating the terms of a divorce while the marriage is still strong can make it easier to create reasonable terms that each party can feel content with. A prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement can cover topics such as property division and spousal support. However, they generally cannot be used to create a child support or child custody arrangement.

Why all legal adults should have an estate plan

Millennials in Georgia and throughout the nation may not have homes or large retirement accounts. However, it is still a good idea for this generation to take estate planning seriously. This is because they may have kids or pets that will need to be looked after if they pass on or become incapacitated. They may also have student loan or other types of debt that may need to be resolved after they pass on.

Around 6% of convicts are likely innocent

Approximately 6% of state prisoners across the U.S., many of whom are presumably in Georgia, have been wrongfully convicted, according to a study by researchers at Penn State University. The findings were published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology in April 2018.

Marital satisfaction may not steadily decline

When couples in Georgia get married, they often have hearts full of happiness, hope and excitement. Prevailing wisdom says that these feelings will soon wear off and that marital happiness will decline as the years go by. New research, though, is calling this idea into question.

Three situations when divorce is justified

First off, divorce is not a decision to make on a whim, especially if children or a high amount of assets are involved. Divorce is an investigation into the life of both partners. Your past, present and future personal and financial lives are examined for defense and attack strategies for and against you.

Challenges in the administration of a loved one's estate

Clearing up the financial aspect after a loved one's death can be more complicated than some Georgia residents think. First of all, someone must be designated as the executor of that person's estate. The will may have one already designated, or if the assets are in a trust, the trust document will have designated a trustee.

Tips for deciding whether to use a will or a trust

When people in Georgia prepare an estate plan, they might use a trust or a will as the main vehicle. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. A trust costs more to prepare, but it does not have to go through probate. The probate process that a will must go through is not private, and it can be costly and time-consuming.

Common divorce assumptions to avoid

Commonly believed myths about divorce could cause some people in Georgia to make mistakes during the divorce process. For example, some fathers may think there is no chance that they will be awarded custody, but this is not true. The court will make a decision based on the best interests of the child. If the father has been the child's main caregiver, he might get custody.

Are field drug tests trustworthy?

No one likes someone accusing them of doing something that they didn’t do. However, someone falsely accusing you of wrongdoing based on faulty evidence is arguably worse. Yet, that’s exactly what happened to Georgia Southern University’s starting quarterback this past August.

Combining a life insurance policy with a trust

Georgia residents who incorporate trusts in their estate plans often do so because they worry about heirs who are young or have been irresponsible with money in the past being left large lump sums. Trusts allow assets to be distributed to beneficiaries at designated times or when certain milestones, such as graduating from college, are reached, which can help to ensure that money is spent or invested wisely and assets that have taken a lifetime to accumulate are not squandered.

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