January 2020 Archives

Keeping beneficiary designations current in an estate plan

When people in Georgia prepare an estate plan, they may have some assets that are passed by beneficiary designation or another method does not involve a will or the probate process. Retirement accounts, life insurance policies and trusts all pass by beneficiary designation. Other types of property, such as a home or a bank account, might be held by two individuals. This could mean that each person has joint ownership with rights of survivorship, meaning that the asset passes to the surviving person when the other person dies.

What a successor trustee does for an estate

It isn't uncommon for Georgia residents to name successor trustees. When an individual either dies or becomes incapacitated, the successor trustee may be called upon to administer the trust. A successor trustee may need to obtain a letter from a physician that proves a living person is no longer able to manage his or her affairs. If the settlor has died, the new trustee will need to obtain a death certificate before assuming authority over the trust.

DNA could be used to exonerate a person

Those who have been convicted of a crime in Georgia may be able to use DNA evidence to help overturn their convictions. It is not uncommon for a person who is charged with rape or murder to be found guilty of a charge based on witness testimony instead of physical evidence. Often, these individuals already have criminal records, which may make it easier to accept witness testimony.

Dividing IRA accounts in a divorce can be complex

Married couples over the age of 50 in Georgia and around the country are divorcing in far higher numbers today than they did in years past. Property division negotiations in a gray divorce are often difficult because older couples usually have significant marital estates that have been built diligently over several decades, and deciding how to deal with retirement assets like 401(k) and IRA accounts can be especially challenging. This is because the tax laws have been written to discourage people under the age of 59 1/2 from accessing these funds.

Miranda rights protect against self-criminalization

People detained by police in Georgia and across the United States must be read a set of their rights guaranteed by the Constitution regarding those placed in police custody. These rights are commonly referred to as Miranda rights and come from the rights contained in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

Adding clarity to finances with a postnuptial agreement

Couples who have been married for a while in Georgia may consider using a postnuptial agreement as a way to reset their finances. This is a contract that exists between a person and their spouse. Since assets often accumulate during the time a person is married, the agreement will protect the assets if the couple decides to separate or divorce.

What to know about wills and trusts

There are many key differences between a will and a trust that a Georgia resident should know about. A will allows for assets to be transferred after a person passes away. It may also stipulate that other events take place after an individual passes. Wills are generally subject to probate, which is a public process in which they are verified and accepted by a judge. As the language of the document is available to the public, any interested party can learn more about a deceased person's financial situation.

Kanye West dispute with EMI looks set for court

Georgia residents who follow developments in the music business will likely know that disputes between recording artists and record labels often become contentious. During a bitter legal battle with Warner Bros., Prince appeared on stage with the word 'slave" written on one of his cheeks and then changed his name. He also compared recording contracts to modern slavery in a 2015 interview with the music magazine Rolling Stone. The latest such dispute involves superstar hip-hop artist Kanye West and the recording giant EMI.

DNA testing is accurate, but it is not infallible

Juries in Georgia and around the country tend to find the results of deoxyribonucleic acid analysis extremely compelling, but DNA evidence can be used to free people from prison as well as send them there. DNA can be found in the cells of all animals, and it determines how organisms develop and function. When DNA tests are conducted correctly using tissue samples that have been collected and handled properly, the results are extremely accurate.

Why a calendar is a useful tool in a divorce

People in Georgia who are getting a divorce may find a calendar a useful piece of evidence and memory prompter, especially if they are parents. During the divorce process, it can be hard for people to remember details about the time they spent with their children and certain expenses, but a calendar can help bring clarity.

There are two ways to fund a living trust

Living trusts can be effective as estate planning instruments and as property management or tax reduction tools. In order to have value, though, a Georgia living trust must be funded with assets. It can be somewhat complicated to transfer assets into a living trust. Generally speaking, there are two ways to do it: via a title transfer during life or via a pour-over will after death.

Strip clubs operating during zoning litigation

A Georgia zoning dispute is continuing, but two Augusta strip clubs are continuing to do business while the issue winds its way through the federal courts. Local newspapers reported that an agreement between the clubs and the city government was filed in the pending case to allow business as usual to proceed until the issue is decided. The lawsuit was filed in May 2019 by the heirs of a man who owned two strip clubs located in an area of the city zoned for heavy industrial use. In 1997, the city passed an ordinance that companies located in these types of zones could either host nude dancing or alcohol sales but would not be permitted to offer both.

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