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Gainesville Georgia Legal Blog

Revocable trusts and contingent beneficiary rights

Revocable trusts are often an important part of estate plans in Georgia because, among other advantages, they avoid the cost, publicity and delay of the probate process. During the life of the person who makes the trust, called the settlor, it allows for the estate to be managed with or without a third party. When the settlor dies, a revocable trust can act as a substitute for a will by providing direction as to the disposition of property.

Some legal decisions and developments have had an impact on the rules for third-party trustees with regard to contingent beneficiaries. The trustee of a revocable trust should use caution before heeding the instructions of the settlor if those instructions could be seen as contrary to trust terms. In cases where the settlor has diminished capacity, the trustee should determine what rights, if any, the contingent beneficiaries have. It is possible that the trust itself eliminates the rights of contingent remainder beneficiaries in the event of incapacity of the settlor.

Tips for dealing with family conflict in estate planning

People in Georgia should consider family dynamics carefully during the estate planning process. This includes thinking ahead as to what they would prefer to happen if a child divorces and remarries. For example, if this occurs, assets left to the child could end up going to that child's stepchildren. A trust could prevent this from happening.

An estate owner may be concerned about an adult child who has substance abuse problems or is irresponsible with money. In other situations, there may be conflict between siblings who have been named co-trustees. A trust might need to be changed if siblings have had an acrimonious falling out.

Georgia ranks fourth for senior-involved car crashes

Georgia comes in at No. 4 when it comes to the number of auto accidents involving drivers 65 and older (per 100,000 people). This is according to a report from The Senior List, a senior care website. The three states worse than Georgia are Florida, Texas and California. As for the safest states, they include New Hampshire, South Dakota, Delaware and Hawaii.

The number of senior drivers in the U.S. has increased 60% since 1999. There are now roughly 42 million licensed drivers who are at least 65 years old. That comes to almost one in five drivers. Despite the overall decrease in traffic deaths among vehicle occupants, bikers and pedestrians, there has been a steady increase in senior traffic fatalities. In 2017, nearly 7,000 seniors died in traffic accidents, making up 18% of crash fatalities for that year.

How to approach co-parenting when children are under 3 years old

Children have different needs at different ages, and this is especially true when it comes to divorce, separation and co-parenting. Many parents seem to think that younger children are able to cope with divorce better because they are unable to understand the changes in family dynamics. However, this is not necessarily the case. Young infants can notice tension in the home, and it can lead them to become increasingly stressed and display signs of separation anxiety.

If you are a parent of a child under the age of 3 and you are trying to co-parent successfully, it's important that you understand how best to approach this. By understanding more about the psychology of young children, it is likely that you will be able to gain some key insights.

Why honesty is critical before getting married

Those who live, work or own a business in Georgia may not think that a prenuptial agreement is for them. However, it is not just the rich that benefit from a custom agreement negotiated and executed before a wedding. During the divorce process, individuals are required to give detailed information about their income, expenses and assets. This information is also disclosed during the process of creating a prenuptial agreement.

Couples can save themselves a lot of time and hassle by being open and honest with each other before getting married. Another benefit to making financial disclosures before a wedding is that they take place when each side is calm and rational. Ultimately, it becomes easier to assign labels to debts and assets in a fair and reasonable manner. Once the divorce process starts, couples may feel tempted to argue over everything regardless of how petty they are being.

About financial durable powers of attorney

Georgia residents can use a power of attorney to give a trusted person or entity the authority to make financial decisions on their behalf should become unexpectedly incapacitated. If there is no power of attorney in place, their family will have to involve the courts, which can be costly, time-consuming and burdensome during a time at which they are likely to be emotionally strained.

No matter their age, all adults should complete a power of attorney. This also applies to people who are married, as there are plenty of financial transactions that can only be completed with signatures from both spouses. If there are assets that are in the name of just one spouse and there is no power of attorney in place, the other spouse will not be able to access those assets in order to handle the costs associated with the medical condition of the spouse.

Distracted driving causes more accidents than drugs, alcohol

Distracted driving is becoming a major factor in motor vehicle accidents in Georgia and across the country. According to data from the National Safety Council, an estimated 9 people die every day and 100 are injured because of accidents that were caused by distracted driving. Cellphones, voice commands, dashboard touchscreens and other in-vehicle technologies can easily distract drivers.

Experts say that distracted driving is becoming more of a factor in car accidents than drugs or alcohol. Distracted driving is especially a concern when it comes to commercial drivers. In 2016, almost 180 accidents in Georgia involved a large commercial vehicle. Though hands-free technology can help keep commercial drivers focused on the road, it still requires drivers to look away from the road briefly. Even small periods of distracted driving can cause accidents that may lead to personal injury and death.

Gathering financial documentation in a divorce

People in Georgia need to take steps to protect their investments and other finances if they are getting a divorce. In order to do this, they need to have complete documentation of those finances, including assets, debts, income and expenses.

They will need a number of documents to prepare, including tax returns, credit card statements and bank statements. Tax returns can be used to verify income. People who own shares in a business should get information about that as well, including whether any personal expenses were paid by the business. Along with the financial statements, online tools are available that can help pull information from accounts. People should be as thorough and as accurate as possible in identifying all expenses and projecting them into the future since this will be important in negotiating property division.

Helping a loved one adapt to life with a disability

Car accidents can cause devastating injuries, and many car accident victims sadly will never fully heal. It's common for those involved in car accidents to have life-long disabilities that prevent them from being able to do certain things with independence.

Suffering due to a sudden disability can be very difficult to cope with, especially for those who enjoy living life independently and actively. If you have a loved one who has recently become disabled due to a serious car accident in Gainesville, you may be wondering what support you can offer them to help them to adapt to their new life. The following are some tips to help you be better equipped to do this.

Benefiary decisions can have planning and tax consequences

It sometimes seems like a minor point to name the beneficiary when people in Georgia are setting up their individual retirement accounts. While individuals may not think it's important in the moment, failing to name a beneficiary or naming the wrong one is one of the biggest estate planning mistakes a person can make. The reason is that the family of the IRA owner can go through unnecessary stress or face unnecessary costs when there are beneficiary mistakes.

When the owner of an IRA dies without designating a beneficiary, the assets in the IRA are immediately transferred into the person's estate. In cases where a beneficiary has been properly designated, however, the IRA assets pass outside of probate. Most of the time, people list their spouses as designated beneficiaries on retirement accounts. Indeed, this is required for 401(k)s unless the spouse has made an explicit waiver in writing. With IRAs, it's up to the owner to make the designation. Setting the spouse as the beneficiary often makes the most sense because the spouse's tax obligations will be stretched out for a long period.

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