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Cincinnati Family Law Blog

How a living trust can help you achieve your financial goals

At King Koligian & Associates, LLC, in Ohio, we help people achieve their financial goals and objectives through sound estate planning. One of the most popular estate planning tools available to you is a living trust, also called an inter vivos trust or revocable trust.

RBC Wealth Management explains that a living trust is one that you set up during your lifetime and into which you place whatever assets you desire. You can name yourself and anyone else as the trust’s beneficiaries and you likewise can name yourself or anyone else as the trust’s trustee. The trust terminates when you die or whenever else you specify. If your trust terminates at your death, at that point its assets go to your other designated beneficiaries.

3 things to know about alimony in Ohio

If you are considering divorce, you may be concerned about how you will support yourself once you and your husband separate. Perhaps you have only worked part-time while your husband was the main breadwinner during your marriage. Or, maybe you gave up your career to raise the kids and now that they are all adults, you know it will be a struggle to reenter the workforce after twenty years.

If you have found yourself in a similar situation, your concerns about your ability to support yourself and maintain a reasonable standard of living are very valid. Fortunately, you might be able to receive alimony as part of your divorce settlement. In general, alimony, or spousal support, are payments that one spouse makes to a former spouse so that the former spouse does not suffer a great economic disadvantage due to the divorce or separation. If you live in the Cincinnati area, an Ohio divorce court will make a ruling on whether or not your spouse must provide you with alimony based on various factors.

Is all property divisible in a divorce?

If you file for legal separation or divorce in Ohio, you and your spouse have a host of factors to discuss when creating a divorce settlement. One of the common issues you may come up against is that of property division. It can be extremely difficult for couples to separate all of the items they accumulated during the course of the marriage. Property that is eligible for division, otherwise known as marital property, includes items such as gifts given to one another during the marriage, expensive antique collections, tax refunds, former employer benefits, copyright royalties, stocks, 401K plans and many more. However, not all items are able to be divided in the divorce settlement.

Separate property, when taken care of correctly, may stay in the possession of the original owner even after the divorce is finalized. Separate property includes items, such as gifts given to either spouse by a third-party, inheritance money, property owned by a spouse prior to the marriage and personal injury settlement money. There are some situations where separate property may become intermingled with marital property, and in these cases, the property becomes eligible for division. For example, if inheritance money is deposited into a joint back account, shared with the other spouse’s name, the money becomes marital. Similarly, if the title to a property is renewed to add the spouse’s name, the property may be considered marital. It is important that separate property is kept away from any other property and assets.

An insider's view of collaborative law

It may seem like the words "divorce" and "collaboration" do not belong in the same sentence, and for good reason. When couples decide to end their marriages, the aftermath is not always pretty and, in fact, the whole process can be downright nasty. Ohio couples can choose a different route, though. They do not have to play the blame game and throw one another under the proverbial bus when they go to court. 

Collaborative law is a relatively new approach to matters that once required an appearance before a judge. The American Bar Association points out that court costs, in terms of emotions and finances, are often expensive. Collaborative practice can help clients save both. 

Estate planning - objectively speaking

It is really easy to think of estate planning as something that is either far in the future or far from your economic status. Wealthy Ohio residents may easily see their need for a plan, but those who have few assets or are far from retirement may not. It is never too early to think about planning for it, however, no matter your life stage or financial status.

Ohio State University Extension gives a number of explanations for the importance of your estate plan. Its leaders suggest that everyone shares common objectives when thinking about the future, and these objectives exemplify the purpose of estate planning.

Joint custody and children's best interest

Children's needs often take top priority for parents. The moment a little one enters a family, he or she may become a central focus, gaining unlimited attention and care. If Ohio couples start having conflict, though, children's needs may lose their central place in family life. When families split, however, it is important for parents to keep the kids' best interests at the forefront when making future plans.

In Ohio, how courts decide what is best for children, including child custody arrangements, depends on several factors. The Child Welfare Information Gateway outlines those factors, explaining other criteria may play into decisions as well. 

Deciding whether to keep the house in a divorce

When couples divorce, often the largest asset to be divided is the family home. There are typically two ways to halve this asset — one spouse can buy out the other or the house can be sold and the profits split.

But should you battle it out with your spouse to keep the house? That depends on many factors, not the least of which is at which stage of your life you choose to get divorced. Read on for some tips to help you decide whether to fight your ex-spouse for the house.

Understanding collaborative divorce

At King, Koligian & Associates, LLC, in Ohio, we realize that divorce is never easy. Your dreams of marital bliss have crashed, you face an uncertain future and you feel highly stressed and upset. You do not want to fight with your spouse, and in all likelihood (s)he feels the same way. You both fear, however, that divorce is not only a fight, but also a long and expensive fight.

Divorce does not have to be this way. As FindLaw explains, a collaborative divorce is different from a traditional litigated divorce in that you and your spouse do not fight each other through your respective attorneys. Instead, the four of you meet together so that you and your spouse can make your own decisions rather than leaving it up to a judge to make them for you. Your respective attorneys do not see themselves as adversaries, but rather as legal professionals who can work with each other collaboratively while still protecting their respective client’s rights and interests.

Consider a power of attorney to protect you from financial abuse

Like many Ohio residents, you have stayed up to date on your estate planning and you feel secure knowing that your wishes will be carried out upon your death. However, as we at King, Koligian & Associates, LLC, are aware, a portion of your estate planning should include managing your affairs during your golden years. Your mind may be sharp now, but nothing will guarantee that you don’t develop an age-related cognitive disorder or suffer from an accident or illness that leaves you incapacitated. Any of these situations may result in you being taken advantage of financially.

This scenario occurs more often than you would like to think. As the National Adult Protective Services Association explains, about one in 20 senior citizens in America become victims of financial scams and abusive practices. What kind of con could be complex enough to trick you, you wonder? After all, you are savvy to many of the common scams going around, such as the IRS phone calls falsely informing you that you face jail time if you do not pay.

Advantages of a special needs trust

Having compassion for a family member with special needs is often easy; knowing how to act on that empathy and take intentional steps to care for the individual can be a lot more complicated. One option Ohio families can consider is setting up a special needs trust.

What is a special needs trust and how can it help? FindLaw answers these questions, explaining a trust as a plan to manage the finances of someone who is unable to oversee his or her own. Trusts can be especially beneficial for those who have disabilities or struggle with mental illness.

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