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Brooklyn Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

What to do with the house when you divorce

Many of the decisions related to a divorce involve choosing who gets what. Once you and your spouse agree on child custody arrangements, the next consideration is probably the house. Likely the largest financial investment you and your spouse made together, you may be torn about how to deal with it now that you are splitting up.

There is no universal right or wrong answer although some options may be more viable for your situation than others are. Even after considering some of the most common choices couples make when facing a divorce, you may be able to find a unique solution of your own.

Disspelling misinformation about powers of attorney

You may need a power of attorney for any number of reasons. If you are part of the aging population of the country, you may need one due to an age-related illness. Of course, you don't have to be of retirement age or beyond to suffer from a debilitating illness. In the alternative, you could suffer severe injuries in an accident regardless of your age.

If any of these events occurs, you may not be able to make decisions for yourself, even for a short time. During that time, a power of attorney would allow someone to step in and make health care or financial decisions for you until you are able to do so for yourself again. The problem is that a great deal of misinformation surrounds these critical documents. 

Could a trust help you with your Medicaid application?

Throughout your life, you may have always had access to medical care when the need arose. As a child, your parents and their insurance coverage likely covered any expenses associated with your care, and you may not have considered how costly health care could be until you faced your own medical bills as an adult. Though you may have obtained your own insurance, which helps in many instances, you could still have to contend with considerable out-of-pocket expenses.

In particular, if you find yourself needing long-term care in your retirement years, you could face substantial costs that your insurance may not cover. However, before you reach that point in your life -- and many people over the age of 65 do -- you may wish to consider planning ahead in hopes of avoiding a financial burden placed on yourself or your family.

My green card is about to expire, what can I do?

You entered the country the right way and have made New York your new home. You worked hard and obtained your green card. Your green card is about to expire, though. What can you do?

Green cards are only good for so long, generally 10 years. If you let it expire, you may be subject to deportation. So, before this happens, take the necessary steps to prevent it early on before it becomes an issue.

Is staying together in the best interests of the children?

The decision to delay the end of a marriage may hinge on many factors. For example, you may share business interests with your spouse, need more time to save money for after your split or have momentous family events coming up. Putting off the inevitable may come from much more personal reasons too, and a common one is to stay together for the children.

Perhaps you are a child of divorce yourself, and you were hoping to spare your children the trauma you went through. While this is commendable, there are some important things to consider before deciding to postpone the end of your marriage indefinitely.

Here's why you shouldn't write your own will

Admittedly, one of the reasons that many people fail to do any estate planning is due to the cost. Many New York residents who still want to make a will plan to do so on their own. Do-it-yourself forms may come with a low up-front price, but, according to the old saying, "you get what you pay for."

When it comes to DIY estate planning documents, that saying certainly applies. Low cost forms often result in inadequate documents that fail to stand up in court upon death, and it is surviving family members who pay the price as they go through an often time-consuming and expensive probate that diminishes the assets of the estate, and, therefore, any inheritance they may receive.

Will your work problems keep you from being deported?

When you first obtained gainful employment in the United States, you may have had mixed emotions. On one hand, you were no doubt relieved that you had secured a means to provide for your family. On the other, you may have worried that an incident would occur to place you at risk for deportation.

Depending on your circumstances -- for instance, if you are the victim of a crime at work or anywhere in the country -- you may be able to apply for a U Visa that would allow you to keep living and working in the United States.

Trump Administration Rescinds DACA September 5, 2017

On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  The September 5, 2017 memo allows current DACA recipients to keep their work authorization and deferred action grants until they expire, and take the following steps to end the DACA program:

Be careful not to travel into child custody problems on vacation

If you're one of many New York parents who recently divorced, you've likely undergone changes in most aspects of life. Going from living as a married couple with children to a single-parent household, or even living alone and seeing your children according to a court-documented schedule, can be quite a challenging adjustment. Hopefully, you have a strong support network to help you and your kids move forward to a new and happy future. Change is often difficult, but not always a bad thing.

Most people in your situation find that developing a new parenting plan is one of the greatest challenges in the divorce process. If you and your former spouse get along well, and are both willing to compromise and cooperate as necessary where your children are concerned, negotiating child custody and visitation plans might not be all that difficult. However, many divorced couples struggle with amicable communication and run into major roll around.

Growing old is not supposed to be dangerous

If your mother or father currently resides in a New York assisted living or nursing facility, you probably worry about him or her from time to time. It's only natural, especially if you're not able to visit as often as you'd like. No amount of research or investigation can alleviate 100 percent of your worries, and while no nursing home or medical facility is perfect, you should be able to reasonably expect that all staff members have your parent's best interests at heart.

There are strict protocols and regulations regarding resident or patient safety in such homes. Sadly, elder abuse is problematic in many areas, and it's best to seek understanding of the laws that govern such matters and to know where to turn for immediate help if a problem arises. Keeping your loved one safe may be easier too, if you know what signs to look for regarding possible abuse.