Below are some questions often asked by clients. If you have a question not answered here, or if you need to know how your specific situation relates to the information here, feel free to contact The Lilly Law firm by phone or email today.
At the end of the most recent legislative session, a new bill was passed adopting a new system for powers of attorney. The new law goes into effect July 1, 2017. There are two major implications to the change.
There are two issues surrounding where a case will be filed - jurisdiction and venue. There is a course in law school dedicated almost entirely to these issues (civil procedure), so unfortunately I can't give a comprehensive answer to the question that suits every situation. The general rule is that cases must be filed in the state and county where the person you're filing against lives, but divorce and family law have more exceptions to that rule than probably any other area of law.
While attorneys do our best to draft wills that are durable, and will reflect your wishes in a variety of scenarios (related to who may or may not survive you, who will serve as executor, etc.), your will may need to be updated when 1) your wishes change, 2) your situation changes, or 3) the law changes.
Often a house may be in only one person's name instead of both. If so, know that how the house is titled is not controlling in a divorce. Regardless of how the house is titled, it will be handled the same way in the divorce, and just like everything else - as a division of marital property.
This is where you have to take a step back and assess your goals. You can hold out for the best financial terms possible, or you can reach an agreement sooner than later, but it's not usually possible to do both.
Living wills have been around for a long time, but most people were very careless about creating or maintaining these essential documents. That changed in 2005 due to the highly publicized Terry Schiavo case. Since that time, many people have created living wills - often through forms they've been given by friends, their church, or that they've found online. If you have a living will made through any of these forms, and something happens to you, the hospital caring for you (and if necessary, the courts) WILL try to honor the wishes expressed in those documents.
One issue that comes up frequently regarding custody issues from unwed parents - whether a father asking what his rights are, or a mother asking about her responsibilities to the father - is that, though the father hasn't legitimated the child, "his name is on the birth certificate." People often - mistakenly - believe that this means the father is the father for all purposes in the eyes of the law.
I understand this confusion - you've got one of the most official documents in a person's life, issued by the state, naming the father of the child. It seems like this would be the state's recognition that the father is in fact the father. But it's not.
Alimony is only awarded in a divorce or legal separation. Most often, alimony awards are part of a divorce decree. Whether a person will be awarded alimony or not depends on a long list of factors, but most importantly:
The length of the marriage
How much income each person will or should be able to earn after the divorce
What assets each party will have after the divorce.
In short - yes. Some people think an estate plan means an intricate series of intricate trusts and closely held corporations used for tax avoidance. While that can be part of an estate plan, that's not what most people need - if you and your spouse's total assets are worth less than $10.9 (2016) million, you won't need anything like that to avoid paying estate taxes.
For most people, an estate plan consists of 3 documents - a will, a financial power of attorney, and an advance directive.