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Brooklyn Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Follow these tips to ease tension when asking for a divorce

Asking for a divorce can be one of the tensest situations you ever face. This is particularly true if your spouse doesn't know how you feel.

As difficult as it may be, you don't want to hold back from having this conversation. Here are several tips you can follow to ease tension and push the conversation forward in the appropriate manner:

  • Prepare yourself: From what you want to say to how you'll answer particular questions, prepare yourself to the best of your ability. This will ensure that you're not surprised by anything that comes your way.
  • Choose the right time and place: This important conversation deserves the full and undivided attention of both individuals. Choose an appropriate time and place, as this allows you to focus solely on the conversation.
  • Don't change your mind: It's safe to assume you've spent a lot of time thinking about asking for a divorce. Your spouse may attempt to change your mind, but you should remain firm.
  • Protect yourself: It's best to have this conversation face-to-face, but don't do so if you have concerns about your safety. In this case, it's best to ask for a divorce in a public place or over the phone.

The many reasons to review and update your estate plan

When you create an estate plan, you do so with the idea that it'll provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind. While this is sure to happen, don't overlook the fact that you may need to review and update your estate plan every so often.

There are many specific reasons to review your estate plan, including the following:

  • The death of an important person in your life: For example, if your beneficiary has passed away, you'll need to alter your estate plan to reflect this.
  • Divorce or marriage: Either way, your estate plan is sure to change. Don't wait a single day to review your plan and adjust it accordingly.
  • Birth or adoption: If you bring a new child into your life, you'll want to make the necessary changes to your estate plan.
  • Change in guardian or personal representative: There are many reasons to make this change, such as if the person you first named has passed on.
  • The acquisition of a valuable asset: This could alter your estate plan in many ways, such as who is in line to receive the asset upon your death.

What kids need when going through a divorce

Going through a divorce as a grown adult is one thing, and it’s another when you’re a growing child. Devastation and confusion is magnified in children’s hearts and minds since they are too immature to understand why their parents are breaking their marriage covenant. Especially when they are trying to develop their concept of what love looks like in relationships.

So, how can you put your children first while going through a divorce? The first step is understanding the fact that they are going to question you and show the emotions that adults often suppress. Let them express their hurt, anger, bitterness, and resentment. Unfortunately, it is part of the cost you are paying for your separation and new beginning as a single parent.

How the spouse immigration process works

If you are an American citizen and you are legally married to a non-citizen, your spouse’s citizenship is not automatic.

There are steps you can take for your spouse to become a legal immigrant. With some modification, these steps also apply if you are a lawful permanent resident with a green card.

These issues can delay the closing on your home

When you find the home of your dreams, you hope to move in as quickly as possible. However, you don't want to get ahead of yourself, as doing so could result in your overlooking an important detail.

There are many potential issues that can delay the closing on your home, with these five among the most common:

  • A problem with the title. In the days prior to closing, a title search is completed on the property you're buying. If it's clear, you don't have to concern yourself with anything on this front. But if something comes up, such as a lien on the property, it can delay the closing.
  • Big issues on the inspection report. It's never a good idea to buy a home without having an inspection done, as it gives you the opportunity to learn more about the condition of the property. While small issues are likely to come to light, anything that's major can slow down the process. For example, if the home has a cracked foundation, you may want to have an experienced professional examine it and provide feedback.
  • The appraisal is lower than was expected. Prior to your purchasing a home, your lender must confirm whether it's worth its estimated value. If for any reason the appraisal comes back too low, you'll need to negotiate a lower price and/or find someone to conduct a second appraisal. Either way, a closing delay is likely.
  • The seller backs out. This could happen for many reasons, e.g., if the person gets cold feet or needs to delay their move to another home.
  • Last minute financing problems. You can do your best to avoid this by staying in touch with your lender, but something could pop up at the last minute that results in your financing falling through. For instance, your lender may find that your income isn't as high as stated, which alters how much of a loan that you qualify for.

Get ready for divorce with a property division checklist

Although every aspect of the divorce process is important, it's hard not to focus most of your time and attention on property division. The steps that you take to prepare yourself will impact how you negotiate with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, as well as which assets you receive in your settlement.

Creating a property division checklist can help you organize both your separate and marital assets. When doing so, add your assets into the following four categories:

  • Real property: Your marital home, vacation home, rental property, business real estate and undeveloped land.
  • Personal property: Antiques, china, artwork, collections, furniture, guns, electronics, clothing, motor vehicles and boats.
  • Financial assets: Bank accounts (checking and savings), retirement accounts, pensions, profit sharing, educational accounts, cash on hand, bonds, stocks, certificates of deposit (CDs), annuities, trusts and life insurance policy cash values.
  • Business assets: Business equipment, business bank accounts and commercial real estate.

Will you do these things when asking for a prenuptial agreement?

As your wedding day gets closer, you will soon realize that you only have a limited period of time to ask for a prenuptial agreement and work through the many details. This should push you toward the conversation sooner rather than later.

Asking for a prenuptial agreement will make anyone nervous, as you never know how your partner will react. Here are three things you can do to ease the tension so you can move forward as intended:

  • Have an open conversation: Don't go on the offensive with the idea that it will force your partner into creating a prenuptial agreement. This isn't the best way to start your marriage. You should have an open conversation during which both of you can share your thoughts on a prenuptial agreement.
  • Remain calm: When you become upset and/or angry, it's easy for this conversation to turn into a serious argument. However, when you remain calm, you'll find yourself having a meaningful discussion that ends up in the right place.
  • Give yourself enough time: Since you're not likely to work everything out in one conversation, you should begin to discuss the creation of a prenuptial agreement as soon as possible. You'll probably step away from this topic several times, so you need enough time in your schedule to slowly inch toward a resolution.

These estate planning mistakes could impact you, your family

Even if you're serious about estate planning and making sure you have everything in order, there's no guarantee that a mistake won't creep into view at some point. It's important that you do your best to avoid potential mistakes, as this will give both you and your family greater peace of mind.

Here are some of the most common estate planning mistakes:

  • Thinking it's okay to ignore it: No, you don't have to create an estate plan, but you're taking a big risk by ignoring the importance of doing so.
  • Forgetting to update your estate plan: There are times when you need to make changes, such as if you go through a divorce, get married or have a child.
  • Neglecting to plan for disability: Your estate plan doesn't just come into play when you pass on. It can also protect you in the event of a disability, such as one related to a serious illness or injury.
  • Choosing the wrong executor or trustee: Choosing an executor is a big decision that requires great attention to detail. If you choose the wrong person, they could have bad intentions when it comes time to tackle the probate process or administer your trust.
  • Forgetting to name a guardian for your children: You don't want just anyone to care for your children should you pass away before they reach age 18. When you name a guardian, you know the right person will step in to care for them.

Revocable and irrevocable trusts. Do you know the difference?

Everyone has that one chore that always falls to the bottom of the to do list. It’s usually cleaning the gutters or washing windows. All too often, people wrongly lump estate planning into the “chore” category, pushing it to the bottom of the priority list. When the time comes to get serious about estate planning, people often feel that it is too much information at once.

To avoid such a steep learning curve, it is important to absorb information over time. Here is an overview of the difference between revocable and irrevocable trusts.

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