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Making The Complex Understandable

Louisiana Legal Blog

Elder abuse: How it may affect an estate

When your loved one aged, you knew that he already had an estate plan in place. You knew what would happen if he fell ill and what to expect after death.

Your loved one was always careful with money and planned to leave it to several of his loved ones. However, when the time came, that money was nowhere to be found. The estate is a shell of what it once was, and there's no obvious explanation.

Abedin and Weiner to settle divorce outside of court

Many Louisiana residents are aware of the troubled marriage between Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner. Abedin worked as a top aide to Hillary Clinton for many years, while Weiner is a former congressman. The couple have made headlines over the past decade based on Wiener's recurring scandals. Few people were shocked when Abedin filed for divorce in 2017. The recent announcement that the couple has withdrawn their divorce petition did leave much of the public in deep shock and disbelief.

Upon closer examination, the decision to withdraw the divorce case makes more sense. Both parties have made efforts to have their divorce conducted in a private manner, including having the ability to file as "anonymous" rather than under their legal names. Those efforts were denied by the judge handling the matter.

Father facing jail time in child custody case

Parents who are unable to work out a custody agreement may find themselves in front of a Louisiana court to have the matter settled. In such cases, all parties are expected to adhere to the rules of the court. Failure to do so can place either side at risk of being found in contempt of court or even charged with a crime. In a recent case, a man from another state was sentenced to prison time for recording a portion of his child custody case. 

The man attended a custody conference inside a county courtroom with his former wife. Signs in the building stated that there could be no cell phone use in the area. During the meeting, the man used his phone to record a portion of the conference. 

Nursing home planning: Start early for the most options

As you age, one thing that might come to mind is the potential for needing nursing home care later in life. Nursing home care is expensive and has the potential to drain your assets if you don't plan accordingly.

Fortunately, there are several ways to pay for nursing home care. These include using long-term care insurance and your own personal resources. Medicaid is another option to consider.

Here's how the new tax structure will change spousal support

Few Louisiana residents enjoy making alimony payments. That said, many are at least partially comforted by the fact that spousal support payments can be claimed as a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction on their income taxes. That deduction is slated to end, however, based on the freshly passed and signed Republican tax bill. 

Currently, spouses who pay alimony can claim a tax deduction, while those who receive alimony payments have to claim the money as taxable income. Once the new tax rules take effect, spousal support will be treated the same as child support. There will be no tax deduction for the payer, and no tax obligation for the payee. 

Child custody and a narcissistic parent: tips for success

A custody battle is never easy, neither legally nor emotionally. Going through a child custody case with a narcissist can be even more of a challenge. Many Louisiana spouses live for years with a partner who is self-centered and manipulative. When the decision is made to end the marriage, those character traits often take center stage. 

One tip for spouses who are divorcing a narcissist is to make every effort to avoid face-to-face communication. Not only is trying to calmly interact with a manipulative spouse stressful, it is also nearly impossible to document what was and was not said. Try to keep communication in the digital realm to the greatest extent possible. That approach also creates a paper trail, which can be useful if the matter reaches a courtroom. 

Thoughts on divorce after the age of 50

Many Louisiana residents get close to retirement and begin taking a closer look at their lives and goals. For some, that examination reveals deep doubts about whether remaining married is the best way to enter the golden years of retirement. More and more people are seeking divorce after the age of 50. For some, there will be surprises along the way. 

One thing that many people don't expect is the changes in their social circle that often accompany divorce. It is not uncommon for friends, even old friends, to become distant during and after a divorce. People sometimes have trouble relating to a friend when his or her marital status shifts. The best way to address this outcome is by getting out there and making new social connections. 

Is it time to update your old estate plan?

Many baby boomers never think twice about estate planning. Here's why: they created an estate plan early in life, so they don't see any reason to revisit the plan now that they are closing in on (or have passed) retirement age.

Unfortunately, this approach is a big mistake. If you are a baby boomer, it is a good idea to review your estate plan with an eye toward your current situation and the future.

A pet trust can ensure that your furry friend is cared for after you're gone

A wonderful thing about estate planning is that you have many options for achieving your goals. These days, for a lot of people, a comprehensive estate plan includes providing for pets.

Whether you're a breeder or you just love your pet endlessly, a pet trust could be an important part of your estate plan. In fact, Louisiana enacted a pet trust law in 2015. A pet trust protects your furry friend from harm after you are gone. For example, a pet trust can ensure that your cat or dog will not go to a shelter, and that enough funds are available to provide for the pet's needs.

Reciprocal wills may be part of a couple's estate plan

Estate planning is not just for rich people. There are many reasons why most of the less wealthy residents of Louisiana would also benefit from an estate plan. One strong motivator would be if there are minor children. In that situation, the parents would make out mutually reciprocal wills, leaving their estates to each other and then to the children, usually in equal shares, in the event that both parents are deceased.

Reciprocal wills can contain testamentary trusts in which an appointed trustee would use the trust for the education, health and welfare of the children. Instead of releasing the trust corpus to the children at age 18, the trust can be set up to provide staggered distributions at later ages. Alternatively, the maker can provide for one distribution of each child's share at, for example, age 25. 

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