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Brooklyn Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Take care of your mental health during divorce

Going through a divorce is an emotionally trying experience. Many people don't realize just how difficult the process is, and that makes it harder for them. One of the most important things for a person who is going through a divorce is to realize is that the range of emotions they feel is normal.

As you experience the emotions that come up, you should address them. Trying to suppress them can lead to them becoming more intense and harder to control. This can become destructive because you might find that it begins to impact every area of your life.

Why co-parents need to agree on expanding their kids' freedoms

As kids grow up, it's only natural that they want more freedom and responsibility. This can include the ability to stay home alone, go to and from school, the library or store on their own, have their own cellphone or use kitchen appliances like the oven without adult supervision. As kids get into their teen years, they'll continue to test their boundaries.

All of this can be frightening for parents. It's natural to be torn between wanting your kids to become more independent and fearing they'll suffer some kind of harm. Increasing your kids' freedoms can be even more challenging when they're being parented across two households.

What you should know about heirs-at-law and intestate succession

If a person dies without an estate plan (at least a will), state probate laws determine which relatives inherit their estate, what portion of it and under what circumstances. These people are called "heirs-at-law."

These are also the people who would have "standing" to contest a will if there is one. That doesn't mean that they automatically have a right to any part of the estate if the deceased didn't include them. The only exception would be a spouse. In New York and all states except Georgia, current spouses can't be disowned.

The difference between a living will and Health Care Proxy

For those hoping to create a comprehensive estate plan that protects them, their assets and their loved ones in the event of their death or incapacitation due to medical issues, addressing health concerns early on is a common tactic. However, it isn't necessarily as straightforward as you might imagine.

Residents of New York have more options than people in other states when it comes to authorizing others to make medical decisions on their behalf. Specifically, those planning their estate can use either a living will or Health Care Proxy form to outline their medical wishes and preferences.

Don't let your anger sabotage your child custody case

If you're in a custody battle with a co-parent who's seeking primary or sole custody of your children, you may not be thinking or acting rationally. You may be consumed by anger that your fitness as a parent is being challenged.

Your goal is to demonstrate to the court (and maybe your co-parent) that you deserve the custody rights you're seeking. To do that, you need to avoid some pitfalls that too often end up hurting parents in heated custody battles.

End of life plans are part of your estate plans

Most people associate estate planning with naming heirs for their assets, but there is another facet that you need to think about when you are going through this process. You need to set up your end of life plans. These aspects of the estate plan go into effect if you aren't able to make decisions.

There are two primary concerns here. First, you must make plans for your finances. Second, you need to consider your medical care. The instructions you set for these are part of the power of attorney documents you establish, and you can set a living will for your health care.

Why couples without children need estate plans

Married couples who don't have children often put off their estate planning longer than those who are parents. They don't have to worry about the issue of child guardianship if anything were to happen to them. There's also no need to determine how their assets will be divided among offspring. However, child-free couples should have some estate planning documents in place. Let's look at a few key ones and why they're important.


Goals of Medicaid planning and how to get started

Even if you don't qualify for Medicaid right now, the right approach to planning could put you in line to receive benefits in the future.

The goals of Medicaid planning can differ from one person to the next, but typically include some or all of the following:

  • Provide for long-term care: The primary purpose of the Medicaid program is to provide care to individuals, such as those with a disability, who can't care for themselves.
  • Preserve assets: For example, if your child receives Medicaid benefits and you're concerned that leaving them an inheritance will affect this, proper planning is a must. Using a special needs trust, as opposed to directly leaving money to your loved one, can help protect their benefits.
  • Receive the proper health care benefits: The public health care system doesn't suit the needs of everyone. Through Medicaid planning, you can make decisions that allow you to receive the highest quality care in the future.
  • Combine Medicaid planning with estate planning, asset protection and taxation strategies: Medicaid planning will impact your life in many ways, such as how you plan your estate and the manner in which you protect assets.

Report: New York law doesn't support shared parenting

Most parents agree, as do many parenting experts, that it's typically best when divorced couples share in the parenting responsibilities. However, if divorcing parents aren't able to arrive at a custody and visitation agreement on their own, they have to turn to the courts.

Family court judges consider state laws when making their decisions. Some states have laws that recognize the importance of shared parenting, while others don't.

How co-parents can model a healthy relationship for their teens

Divorcing parents of teens often face the challenge of ending their marriages just as their children are entering into their first romantic relationships.

Talking to teens about relationship issues and what's necessary for a health relationship can be challenging under any circumstances. However, if the teens grew up with parents who had conflict-ridden and perhaps even toxic relationships, you may feel like you have no business offering advice. Even if you do, they might not listen to you. If you and your co-parent still don't get along, it can be even more difficult to help your teen develop healthy relationships when they begin dating.

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