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Livonia Family Legal Blog

How asset ownership affects your estate

Let's talk about your assets.

Part of the purpose of estate planning is to make sure that your property gets transferred to the right people upon your death. After all, you worked hard to build up your wealth over the years. You want to know that the money will be used to the best benefit of your heirs after you're gone.

Is cryptocurrency the new “offshore account” in divorce?

Years ago, well-to-do couples going through a divorce might have hidden their money from each other in offshore accounts. Today, the same people might try hiding money someplace even more exotic: their cryptocurrency accounts.

Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, is still not in common use -- but it has made some people extraordinarily wealthy through relatively small investments. It is also rapidly becoming a way for more financially sophisticated husbands and wives to hide their assets from their spouses during a divorce. Some invest without their spouses knowing, while others just squirrel away money in accounts that they keep secret.

Make communication easier during divorce

If you and your spouse are like most couples, you probably aren't communicating at your best by the time you decide to divorce. So, how on earth are you supposed to handle all of the delicate negotiations that are necessary now?

Well, technology may come to your rescue if you're willing to give it a shot.

Are you ready for a child custody hearing?

There's a lot riding on your child custody hearing. You naturally hope that the judge will see things your way and put an end to all of the conflict you've been going through over the last few months (or years).

To put your best foot forward, here's what you need to do to prepare:

Mediation is the modern solution to private, affordable divorce

If there were only two words that the average person would likely choose to describe divorce, they could very well be "messy" and "expensive." "Messy" would describe the emotional fallout of divorce, as well as the process of splitting up. Couples who are otherwise perfectly rational and considerate people can become very contentious during divorce, fighting over every single decision.

"Expensive" refers both to the effect of splitting what you own with your spouse and the price you pay for the divorce itself. By the end of the court proceedings, you could find yourself having spent an average of $15,000 in the litigation of the divorce. More and more couples are looking for ways to minimize the headache of modern divorce by keeping the cost and the contention as low as possible. Filing an uncontested divorce is an ideal way to streamline the process.

Can you spot a greedy heir?

Unfortunately, older people are often seen as "easy targets" for financial abuse -- even by their own relatives. If you're an older adult, it's important to recognize the self-serving actions of others when you see them.

Here are some of the most common things you need to guard against:

How can you collect past due child support?

At times, getting a child support case settled is only half the battle. Sometimes the parent who's ordered to pay support doesn't do so in full and on time.

So, what do you do if your child's other parent is reluctant to meet their financial obligation?

What do you do with your estate documents?

You've been smart and you're prepared -- you've been to an attorney and have your estate plans drawn up, including a will and powers of attorney for financial matters and health care.

Now, what do you do with all the paperwork? You want to keep things secure -- but you also want to make sure that your heirs have access to whatever they need to handle your final affairs.

Know what to do if you suspect 'undue influence' on an estate

Here's the sort of shocker that many people experience after a loved one dies: The will, which once divided everything fairly among the heirs, somehow became slanted to heavily favor just one relative. Maybe everyone else is even completely cut out of the new will. Perhaps all the relatives are cut out and suddenly a "dear friend" now stands to inherit the deceased's entire estate.

It happens more often than people realize. Quite often, it has to do with something called "undue influence" over the deceased prior to their death.

Divorce on friendly terms: Keeping things civil

When you and your spouse began to discuss divorce, you were past the stage of being angry with one another. You simply grew apart, and over the last several months, you've been living your own lives. Yes, you lived in the same home and had a routine that showed you as a combined force for your kids, but neither of you was invested in your relationship romantically.

Now that you're preparing to divorce, you want to continue to keep things civil. It is your hope that doing so will make your divorce easier on your children, since you both already feel that it will make your lives easier. How can you get through disputes that might arise and keep the situation peaceful for your children?

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Creighton McLean & Shea PLC
14881 Farmington Road
Livonia, MI 48154

Phone: 734-245-9289
Fax: 734-422-0461
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