Estate planning will effect almost everyone at some point in their lives, whether it’s through creating their own estate plan, or through being a party to someone else’s estate. Despite its far-reaching effects, most of us are still in the dark about what estate planning entails. This results in a lot of problems that arise by the time it’s too late to fix them, as there is no revising your estate plan once you pass away. Fortunately, the most common estate planning mistakes are easy to avoid.
No one likes to think about death or being alone; perhaps these innate fears are the reason many of us fail to plan for the inevitable. But plan you must. Couples especially should place estate and financial planning at the top of their lists of priorities, and here’s why:
In a child custody battle, the judge is primarily concerned with making decisions that are in the best interest of the child. The judge will ask several questions to determine whether sole or joint custody is appropriate, what the child’s living arrangements will be, what the parents’ access schedule will be, and how the parents will support their child financially. If the circumstances allow, the judge will try her best to ensure that the child will be able to maintain a relationship with both parents.
Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, passed away on August 16th, leaving behind four adult sons and a considerable estate—Franklin’s estimated worth was approximately $80 million. But with such a large estate and the means to plan for the inevitable, Aretha Franklin nonetheless did not leave a will.
Federal tax law has a longstanding history of providing tax deductions for alimony, or spousal maintenance – a trend that was recently broken by the Trump administration. For court decrees and alimony agreements entered into after December 31, 2018, alimony payments are no longer deductible. Divorce agreements entered into on or before December 31, 2018 remain unaffected. However, the new tax legislation does not specifically refer to prenuptial agreements, so how the law affects such agreements remains unclear; there has been some growing concern that the new tax code will confound existing prenuptial agreements.