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Brooklyn Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

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.

Why are children taken from their parents at the border?

You have probably seen the news reports over the last few years about children being taken away from their parents at the U.S. border. This typically happens when families attempt to enter the country without the proper paperwork. The news only gives you a shortened version of the issue, though, so let's break it down a bit farther by answering some of the most common questions.

Why does it happen?

What New Yorkers can learn from Epstein's estate plan

Most people would be quick to say that they have nothing in common with Jeffrey Epstein. The 66-year-old financier was facing multiple federal sex trafficking charges involving minors when he died last month -- reportedly by hanging himself in his Manhattan jail cell.

However, his estate is subject to the same laws as many other people's estates. Therefore, there are a few things worth looking at.

Long-term care and your financial situation

If you're in the process of creating an estate plan or simply thinking about the future, it won't be long before matters associated with long-term care move to the top of your mind.

It's your hope that you never require long-term care as you age, but you can't assume this will hold true. And that's why you need to implement a comprehensive long-term care plan.

Where should you store your estate planning documents?

You've completed your estate plan. That's a tremendous accomplishment -- and one that too many people never get around to. You've got some peace of mind.

Your attorney likely is keeping the original documents (in paper as well as electronic versions). They probably presented you with an impressive binder containing copies of everything. It may look like something you should put on your bookshelf -- but it isn't.

Possible questions during an immigration marriage interview

You're a U.S. citizen. Your spouse is not. They are in the United States legally at this time -- on a work visa or a school visa, for instance -- but that's going to run out. You want to use your marriage to get them a green card so that they can stay with you indefinitely.

The government has this program in place to keep families together. If you have a real, romantic marriage and a true relationship, they'll likely grant your spouse the status needed to stay married. However, they are aware that people try to cheat the system. They want to make sure it's not a sham marriage just to get that green card.

Recognizing the challenges of parental divorce for an only child

Divorcing parents who have multiple children may believe that they have to deal with more challenges than couples with just one child. After all, they have to help kids of different ages cope with all of the changes to their lives and work out a custody arrangement that considers all of their needs and schedules.

However, divorcing parents of an only child have their own unique challenges. Often, only children see their family as the "Three Musketeers." Now that tight little group is being torn apart. Only children may also be more likely to blame themselves for their parents' break-up. Finally, only children have no siblings to share the experience with.

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