Healy & McCann, PC

Albany Legal Issues Blog

How a divorce financial specialist may be helpful

A divorce financial specialist may be able to help some Oregon estranged couples understand how ending their marriage will affect their finances and the implications of various settlement options. Alongside an attorney and other professionals, a divorce financial specialist may be particularly helpful when the financial situation is complex or for a person who has had little involvement in the marital finances.

Other financial professionals may take different roles, such as providing information on past and present taxes and investments. However, a divorce financial specialist can provide advice specifically in the context of the divorce itself. Divorce financial specialists may work with individuals, but they can also work with couples going through mediation. Another role they may play in a divorce is offering expert testimony about the tax implications of settlements, business valuation and other complicated financial issues.

The most common reasons for contesting a will

When a loved one in the family passes away, emotions are usually running high and disputes between family members can easily occur. These disputes could be about many things, but they often become concerned with financial topics, especially when dealing with their loved one's estate.

If you want to learn how to better deal with estate disputes or you want to plan for or prevent them, it is a good idea to take the time to understand the most common reasons why people contest wills.

Pediastrian, cyclist deaths increased in 2018

Though more people are registered to drive in Oregon and across the United States than ever before, driver and passenger fatalities decreased slightly in 2018. Unfortunately, pedestrian and cyclist deaths due to motor vehicle accidents increased to their highest rate since 1990.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that though more than 268 million vehicles were registered in 2017, driver and passenger fatalities were down to 1.1 per 100 million miles. In 1975, this number was 3.4. Experts believe that advances in vehicle safety features, such as airbags, automatic braking systems, active rollover protection and lane departure warnings, helped reduce this number.

Experts warn about signs of an impending divorce

Divorce is life-changing, and this means that the decision to move ahead with it can be difficult for some people in Oregon. However, some experts say there are certain signs that can suggest that a marriage is at its end. For example, people who find they would rather stay late at work than go home to their spouse might be ready to divorce.

Some couples may say they are staying together for their children, but a relationship cannot thrive with only the children as the connection. In other cases, the relationship might have fallen into patterns that indicate a larger problem. For example, when couples stop having fun together, stop having sex or no longer eat dinner together, this could mean their connection to one another has weakened. Some couples may realize that they are leading entirely separate lives, and it can be difficult to repair a marriage at this point.

Incorporating beneficiary designations into an estate plan

Oregon residents and others who use beneficiary designations should take steps to ensure that they don't derail other parts of an estate plan. While taking assets out of an estate might avoid the need to go through probate, it may also leave insufficient funds to pay taxes or make gifts. If a trust is being used to save money on taxes, it is important for the trust to be named the beneficiary of an asset as opposed to an individual.

It is also generally better to name a trust as a primary beneficiary as opposed to a spouse. This is because the trust may already have a provision that provides resources for that spouse. If an asset goes directly to that person, he or she may exert more control over it than an individual envisioned. It is even more important that any change to a beneficiary designation not be made at the last minute.

Younger people choosing prenups more frequently

When younger people in Oregon decide to marry, they are more likely to opt for a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot. One survey of matrimonial lawyers found that over 60% had seen a growing number of clients seeking assistance in drafting or negotiating a prenup. Once considered to be the domain of celebrities or the ultra-wealthy, prenuptial agreements can be helpful to people from a wide range of financial backgrounds who want to protect themselves even as they plan for a future together. In the first place, many millennials are marrying later in life. As a result, they may already have solid careers and investment funds before marrying.

Many millennials are very likely to marry other people with similar career goals and assets, meaning that both people may want to keep what they have without fully blending their finances. Prenups can allow people to do this more easily. In addition, millennials may have more assets because they are marrying later. Over 70% of millennial adults have some kind of investment account, so many people have been making considered decisions about their finances for years before they decide to marry.

Planning your estate when you don't have children

If you don't have children and you don't intend to have children in the future, it's particularly important to plan your estate. This is because if you do not create an estate plan, your estate may be distributed to unintended beneficiaries. Potentially, your estate could be inherited by distant relatives that you do not even know.

You should take the time to consider the legacy that you want to leave through your estate. You may want to leave your estate to a charity that is close to your heart, or you may have specific relatives in mind, such as nieces and nephews, whom you wish to benefit from your estate.

A comparison of wills and trusts

It isn't uncommon for Oregon residents to have both a will and a trust as part of their estate plan. Typically, the majority of assets will be controlled by either a will or a trust. By putting assets in a trust, it may be possible for an estate to avoid going through probate. This can be beneficial for those who want to protect their privacy or minimize the chances of someone challenging some or all of an estate plan.

In some cases, probate can be both costly and time-consuming regardless of how large an estate is. Of course, some believe that the public nature of a probate proceeding helps to ensure that the estate is settled properly. Generally speaking, creating a will costs less than creating a trust, and individuals who create a will own their assets until the day that they die.

Type of income stream can impact financial status after split

Oregon residents who are going through a divorce will need to understand how their different income streams can impact their financial status after the split. While property division negotiations over income might be straightforward if a person's income comes from a straight salary, there are other methods of compensation that can affect the result and make the negotiations more complex.

Understanding the different types of compensation is the first step towards successful negotiations that result in fair settlements. Bonuses, commissions, stock options, perks and compensation provided by a new employer, when and if these take place, are important when deciding on a negotiation strategy. Perks, for example, can be considered income, when they benefit the entire family, such as when a college professor receives housing from the university at which he or she teaches.

Now is the best time to make an estate plan

Most people in Oregon don't like to think about their mortality, which is why they may procrastinate when it comes to making an estate plan. In other cases, individuals might put off creating such a plan because they don't think that they are going to die or get sick anytime soon. However, it is generally in a person's best interest to do so as soon as possible as it could help protect them and their heirs.

For instance, say that a son or daughter gets married to someone who already has children. An estate plan can determine how much of a person's estate those children could be entitled to. A trust may spell out how property is to be divided between any biological children a person has. For instance, a parent could decide that one child will get a larger share of the estate than another child will.

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