Bankruptcy Saved my Family — Can it Save Yours?

What Happens With Your Will After You Die?

At some point in your life you should have written a will. That will dictates what you want done with your belongings and financial holdings after your death. It may also set up a guardianship for any children you may have. After you die, that will goes into effect.

However, it isn’t an automatic process. There are steps that need to happen before everything can be disbursed. The process to getting that done is called probate:

What Is Probate?

Probate is both a legal document and the process. There is a probate court that the will must be submitted to in order to test the will. A will being tested means that it’s being checked to make sure that all the claims are valid and legal.

If the will is out-of-date and some beneficiaries are no longer around, a probate court can make decisions as to what will happen in that case. The probate court also handles any counterclaims or suits against the will. If a person dies intestate, or without a will, the probate court will also help to decide where the estate is to go.

Once the court has made their decision, they will issue the probate document, which lays out their decision and what should be done. 

Who Handles Probate?

The executor of your will needs to get legal assistance in order to get the probate finished. There are probate attorneys who can get through the entire process. The probate attorney doesn’t need to be the lawyer who helped you draft your will, however, it really is a good idea to have someone who is familiar with your estate handle to process.

The attorney will also defend the will against anyone who is trying to overturn it or who has objections to it. After the will has gone through the entire probate process, the attorney will help the executor handle the disbursement of the will, especially if there are any legal trusts or guardianships that were laid out in the will.

If there is no executor appointed in the will, the probate attorney can also help set someone up as the executor or representative to handle everything. 

A will makes sure that what you want to happen is followed after you are dead. But it needs a little help to make sure that happens. Dealing with a probate attorney will make that process happen, and make sure that your heirs get what you wanted them to. To learn more, contact a company such as O’Connor, Mikita & Davidson with any questions or concerns you have.

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Filing For Divorce: 3 Facts That You Should Know

If you are planning to file for divorce, there are a few facts that you should know before heading to the courthouse. Taking the time to review these facts outlined below can help you to avoid potential delays in the processing of your divorce petition and will allow you to seek out the legal services that are best suited to your needs.

Fact #1: Divorce Paralegals Cannot Represent You In Court

Nowadays, many paralegals offer their services to individuals who are looking to get divorced but are looking for a more affordable way to complete the necessary documents. While these services will be beneficial for some people, it is important to understand that these services cannot replace the services of a qualified divorce attorney. This is because a divorce paralegal will be legally limited in the services that they can provide. For instance, while a paralegal can help you to complete your divorce petition, they will be unable to provide you with legal advice or represent you in court if your spouse chooses to contest your divorce.

Fact #2: An Uncontested Divorce Is Not The Same As A Simplified Divorce

Individuals often assume that they can file a simplified divorce petition due to the fact that both spouses agree upon the need for a divorce. However, the truth is, being uncontested is just one of the requirements that a divorce must meet in order to qualify for the simplified process.

In order to file a simplified divorce petition, your divorce case will need to meet all of the following criteria.

  • You and your spouse agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken
  • You and your spouse share no children in common
  • You and your spouse agree on the division of all marital property and debts

If your case meets all of these criteria, you may be able to finalize your divorce faster by choosing to file a simplified divorce petition rather than a traditional petition. In the end, this simplified process can save you both time and money.

Fact #3: You Cannot Personally Serve Your Spouse With Divorce Papers

On television, you routinely see individuals serving their spouse with divorce papers after a big argument. This is not the way things work in real life. In order for delivery of your divorce papers to be legally binding, your spouse must be served by another legal adult that is able to testify to the fact that your spouse was served. This is often done by an attorney, like those at Hart Law Offices, PC, or legal service that specializes in serving legal notices.

In order to ensure that the processing of your divorce petition is not delayed due to improper procedure, you will need to ensure that you have made arrangements for your spouse to be served in a timely manner after filing this petition with the court.

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3 Reasons Why Every Person Should Have a Trust in Their Estate Plan

Many people are wondering how they can protect their estate. You have worked hard your entire life to save money, acquire assets and take care of your family. But if you don’t take the necessary precautions your estate, and all that you worked for, could be withheld, put on public record and not go to the people that you want it to. A trust is one of the best ways to care for your estate. Here are three reasons why every person should have an estate plan that includes a trust.

1. A Trust Bypasses Probate

One of the most frustrating things is probate. This is a process that a will must go through before it can be executed to your heirs and family. If you leave everything that you have in a will then your estate will have to be mandated by the state when they divide it. This means that it could take months, even years if it the will is contested.

A trust is different. A trust does not have to go through probate. The courts do not oversee the execution of a trust. Instead, the trustees that you have named in your trust get their inheritance immediately. This speeds up the process for your loved ones and keeps the courts out of it.

2. A Trust Doesn’t Go on Public Record

When an estate goes through probate it becomes public record. This means that anyone can look up what your net worth was, what kind of assets you had and what you gave to whom. This is very uncomfortable for many people. Luckily, a trust is not put on public record. Because the trust is not overseen by the court no one will know about the execution of your trust except for your family and your lawyer. This provides you and your family the most privacy.

3. A Trust Is Designed by You

Trusts have a lot of flexibility. You can go through and decide how you want everything to be executed. You get to name the trustees, if there are restrictions on the estate, and how the money will be divided. This is perfect if you have special needs in your family. For example, if you have one child who has special needs you can put specific provisions in the trust to accommodate them. This allows you to maintain control over the estate.

These are just three of the many reasons why you should do your estate planning with a trust. Consult with estate planning attorneys to learn more.

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3 Types Of Compensation To Aim For In A Personal Injury Case

There are many different types of compensation that you can attempt to achieve if you are pursuing a personal injury case. However, some of these are easier to achieve than others because they rely on hard numbers, rather than estimated costs. Talk to your personal injury lawyer about strategies for obtaining the following three types of compensation.

1. Medical Expenses

If you were in a car accident, slipped and fell in a store, or suffered any injury that cost you a great deal in medical bills that was not your fault, then you should aim for compensation for these medical expenses. The reason why it is relatively easy to get medical expenses is because you can simply bring your medical bills into court and add them together in front of the judge. Because many medical bills are online, you may even be able to access them if you threw the hard copies away. Your personal injury lawyer will also be able to prove that the treatments you received were directly related to the injuries you sustained at the hands or negligence of another party.

2. Lost Wages

If you were injured in a car accident to the point where you were unable to go to work, you can attempt to get compensation for these lost wages. This is also a fairly easy and common compensation claim to pursue because it also relies on hard numbers. To calculate the amount of money that you would have received from wages during this time, you need to simply calculate the number of hours you work per day, the amount that you are paid after taxes for each hour, and the number of days you were unable to work. Multiply all of these numbers together and you will have the amount you are owed in lost wages.

Calculating future lost wages is more difficult and should only be done if you will be unable to work for the rest of your life due to this injury.

3. Personal Losses

If you lost any computer equipment that you were transporting in a car crash, then you can attempt to get compensation to cover these losses. Simply add up the values of all of the items that were irreparably damaged in a car accident and present your findings to the judge. Make sure that you have receipts to back up your claims.

For more information, contact a firm such as Dreyer & Dreyer Attorneys At Law.

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Is Your Family Pressuring You To Get A Prenuptial Agreement? Talk With A Lawyer

If your family has expressed they want you to get a prenuptial agreement, you’ll want to meet with a lawyer to talk about your options. If you make more money than the person you will be marrying, and you have more to risk when you walk down the aisle, you need a prenuptial agreement.

Preserve Retirement Accounts and Investments

Have you been packing money away in retirement accounts, and making big financial investments throughout the years? Do you have a lot of money in savings, and money that you could lose if you got divorced and your spouse wanted half of all of it? If so, you want to protect these things.

You can have all of the funds protected when you get married, and you can include in the prenuptial agreement that you have saved, and you can make sure your spouse doesn’t get to take any of the interest you make off your protected investments in the future.

Protect Wages and Assets

It’s very important that you protect the wages that you earn, and the assets you’ve already accumulated. In the prenuptial agreement you can make sure you don’t lose your house or cars, and that you don’t have to share the wages you earned during the marriage. You can make it so everyone leaves the marriage with the same things you entered with.

Avoid Alimony

If your spouse doesn’t work while the two of you are married, or if they make significantly less money, they may go for alimony if you get divorced. They’ll say that they are accustomed to the lifestyle you provided them with, and they will want you to support them. The amount that you pay, and how long you have to pay will be determined by the amount of time you’re married and your income. You can make sure your spouse knows there won’t be alimony if it’s in the document.

If your family is putting a lot of pressure on you to get a prenuptial agreement so you can enter your marriage without any fear, it’s worth taking the time to meet with a lawyer, like those at Kane Funk Poch & Van Massenhove PC. They can work with both you and your future spouse to make sure the document seems fair for both of you, and you can include them so they aren’t offended. You never know what can happen or what will change in the next few years, so it’s always best to be prepared.

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3 Things You Should Know About Military Divorces

Divorces take time and can be complicated, but they can be even worse when one spouse is a member of the military. If you are in the military and receive divorce papers in the mail, you may not have a clue what you should do, or what your legal rights are. In this situation, here are three things you need to know.

Court Will Give You Time

Because military workers are often stationed in different states and countries, the court will give them time to respond to the divorce papers and to physically go to court. This is very different than a non-military divorce because the dates are scheduled in, and both spouses must show up to court on these dates.

This extra time is given because of the Service Members’ Relief Civil Act (SCRA). This act will allow you to put a stay (also called a hold) on your divorce hearings if you are located in a place that is far away from the state where your spouse filed the proceedings.

Military Offers Legal Assistance

The second thing you should know is that the military may give you legal assistance for this event. Most branches of military offer attorney services to members for all types of legal issues, including divorces.

This can be extremely helpful because you can have an attorney that will answer your questions, negotiate for you, and handle any issues that you need help with. This can all be completed while you are deployed, and this could help the divorce go through faster.

You May Have To Share Your Pension

Military workers are given pensions, which are designed for retirement purposes. While this is money you have earned for retirement, your spouse may also be entitled to some of this money. In most cases, a court will automatically give a spouse a share of the pension if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years; however, there are times when spouses will still have rights to the money even if the marriage did not last this long.You can talk to an attorney, such as Karen Robins Carnegie PLC,  about this issue to learn more about your rights.

Divorces are never pleasant, but they are easier when both spouses live near each other. If you need help going through your divorce, make sure you look for an attorney that has experience with military divorces, or choose an attorney through your branch of military.

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3 Important Things To Know Before You File A Suit Against A Government Agency

Were you recently injured in a car accident that involved a government vehicle or a government employee acting in a professional capacity? If so, you may want to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and expenses. There used to be a time when it was difficult to sue any government agency because they were generally immune from civil suits. In recent years, though, that protection has begun to fade. In many cases, you can pursue compensation from a government agency for a car accident. However, the process may be slightly different from a civil suit. Here are three things you need to know:

Is a suit even an option? There are still some situations in which government immunity exists. For example, if the accident was caused by an emergency vehicle that was responding to a call for help, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to file a suit. This is especially true if the vehicle had its lights and sirens on at the time of the accident. Vehicles that are operating because of a weather emergency, like snow plows, can also be immune.

In some states and municipalities, there can be a whole list of officials and types of vehicles that are immune from civil suit. It all depends on your local laws. Your car accident attorney can help you determine whether a suit is an option.

Do you need to file a claim before the suit? Many municipalities prefer to handle claims internally rather than in the courts. For this reason, they require that you file a claim with the agency office first. If that claim is denied, then you can file a lawsuit. Also, some agencies and municipalities have short time periods in which the claim must be filed. If you miss that deadline, then you miss the opportunity to file the claim. 

Your area may not require an initial claim. You may be able to file a suit directly. Again, your auto accident attorney can help you understand the process.

Is there a cap on damages? Some states have a cap on the amount of damages that a government agency or official can pay. This is meant to protect taxpayer money. However, it could be a big problem for you, especially if your expenses far exceed the cap. If there is a cap, you’ll want to know in advance. That could impact how you budget, how much time you take off of work, and any number of other financial matters.

For more information, visit an accident attorney from a firm like Pawlowski Mastrilli Law Group. He or she can help you understand the process and develop a plan for pursuing compensation.

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