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February 2020 Archives

Studies find some psychology tests, forensic science unreliable

Some people in Georgia may have higher bails or face harsher sentences because of a court that uses psychology or IQ tests that might not be reliable. According to a study that appeared in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, many of these studies are not widely recognized within the psychological community and thus may not be reliable.

Negative comments in a divorce can damage a family law case

When Georgia couples have reached the point in their marriage when they feel divorce is the only option, it can lead to hurt feelings. Issues like spousal support, property division, child custody and child support will come to the forefront. People might feel tempted to behave poorly toward the other spouse. This, however, can have negative consequences for the divorce process.

How to fairly allocate inherited assets

When an individual in Georgia passes, he or she may decide to leave assets to children, grandchildren or other family members. However, even when armed with a set of instructions, it can still be difficult to allocate tangible assets without causing conflict. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to minimize conflict while respecting the deceased individual's wishes. The first step is to determine if more than one person wants a certain item.

Reducing juror bias by openly discussing race

A recent paper says that talking about race during the course of a trial could lead to a lower level of juror bias. During the jury selection process, attorneys in Georgia and elsewhere should talk about the potential impact an implicit bias could have on a person's ability to evaluate evidence. They should also make opening statements that caution jurors to not make assumptions based on race or other preconceived notions that they may have about a defendant.

The dangers of DIY estate planning

A recent court decision regarding a mistake made in preparing a will has demonstrated the dangers of DIY estate planning for Georgia residents. Those who are tempted to try to handle their own estate planning out of a desire to save money on a lawyer must be prepared to bear the consequences if something goes wrong.

What are differing site conditions?

Whether it’s a large-scale construction project or a private property renovation, you’ve likely hired contractors and subcontractors to carry out your project. And behind your construction project probably lies a contract that spells out both worker and client obligations. But what happens when a worker encounters an unforeseen complication?

Wealthy couple fighting over asset division

When couples in Georgia file for divorce, their marital property is divided on an 'equitable" or 'fair" basis; this does not mean that property is split 50-50. Equitable distribution is also the law in New York, where one wealthy couple is currently going through a contentious divorce.

Reasons why eyewitness testimony may be unreliable

It isn't uncommon for Georgia residents to be convicted of crimes based on mistaken identifications. In some cases, witnesses are pressured to choose a person out of lineup even if they aren't sure if the perpetrator is in that lineup. This is partially because they want to be helpful to a police officer or other authority figure. An officer may also guide a person toward making a choice in an effort to get closer to solving a case.

Asset protection important amid shifting estate tax exemptions

Wealth preservation for families in Georgia often revolves around the problem of limiting estate taxes. When an estate's assets exceed the exemption level, then as much as 40% of the estate's value might be owed to the government in taxes. Historically, the exemption level has fluctuated quite a bit. Years ago, an estate's value beyond $600,000 was exposed to taxation. The exemption has risen dramatically in recent years with tax law now granting individuals an exemption up to $11 million as of 2020. In 2026, however, tax law will drop the exemption to $5 million.

Common mistakes landlords should avoid making

Landlords in Georgia and throughout the country could be making key mistakes that might result in lost rent or costly legal fees. Ideally, landlords will make any repairs that allow a tenant access to clean water, a roof that doesn't leak and an electrical system that functions properly. If a landlord doesn't make a critical repair in a timely manner, a tenant may have the right to move out or pay someone to fix the issue.

Tips to ease children's stress during a divorce

Children tend to have a lot of questions when their parents get divorced. One mistake Georgia parents sometimes make is telling their kids about the divorce before they have the answers. By waiting to have a conversation with the children until after both sides have consulted with attorneys, parents may be able to ease their children's minds.

How estate planning changes throughout the years

Having an estate plan is important for all adults. However, what is needed as part of that plan could vary throughout a person's life. A student or recent college graduate in Georgia might only need durable powers of attorney for health care and finance as well as a simple will. The powers of attorney appoint people to make decisions about an individual's health and manage the person's finances if the estate owner is unable to do so. For a young adult, this might be the parents.

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