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Philadelphia probate law and commercial litigation blog

Estate planning beneficiary designations for blended families

Blended families have become the new norm as the baby boomer generation leads the nation with record high numbers of divorce and remarriage. The modern family dynamic often includes remarried parents, creating a blended family with their children and step children. When considering estate planning options, the question of who will inherit is significant and requires a thoughtful answer.

When deciding how to divide a lifetime of assets, a person will often want to provide for the surviving spouse while leaving a portion of the assets to their children and possibly step children. With multiple people in line to inherit, clear and current beneficiary designations are essential.

Is there debt after death?

Often, people die with a variety of financial obligations that need to be sorted out and addressed to settle their affairs. The executor of the estate normally pays any outstanding bills with a deceased person’s available assets.

Regardless of whether you have been named as an executor of someone’s estate or are just wondering what your responsibilities are when a family member dies, the prospect of potentially being on the hook for debts is likely to make you uneasy. Here are some questions and answers about various scenarios regarding outstanding credit obligations after death.

Estate planning is for you as well as them

Writing a will is a wonderful thing to do. It will save your heirs a ton of heartache and the confusion of having the state decide who gets what.

But apart from the satisfaction of doing a nice thing for your family, it doesn’t do that much for you. What three steps can you take that will benefit the person you are most responsible for – yourself?

Accused Of A Breach Of Your Partnership Agreement?

When you are running a business, it seems that there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that you need to do. If you're accused of a partnership agreement breach you may feel confused, threatened and angry all at the same time.

Businesses small and large go through breach of partnership litigation each year in part because the enterprise has an inadequate or non-existent partnership agreement. Here are some ways to handle your situation if someone claims you compromised a partnership agreement.

3 Reasons To Revise Your Estate Plan

If you already have an estate plan, you may feel that you have all of your financial and legal arrangements in place. This may be true, except when there are changes in your life. Here are three types of life changes that make it necessary to revise your estate plan.

Have you thought about what happens to your farm after you die?

You have worked hard to establish your farm and to build up the success. As the success continues, you have to start making plans for your farm's future. One of the things that you should do is to create a succession plan.

A succession plan outlines what is going to happen to the farm when you retire or die. It sets up the protocol for the change of management or ownership. This helps to ensure that all of your hard work isn't lost when you aren't the one who is running the farm. Here are some points to remember about farm succession plans:

Corrective actions can be taken without the use of a lawsuit

Sometimes, lawsuits go to the courts when companies already know about problems they caused. Reducing or repairing damage caused inadvertently benefits the company and community, so no lawsuit is necessary. When that's the case, the company in question can ask to dismiss any lawsuits against it, since it has already begun to take corrective actions.

That is what happened in this case involving four oil and natural gas companies who allegedly caused an increase in seismic activity in Oklahoma. Several entities filed lawsuits pointing out the increase in earthquakes, but the companies already knew about the issues.

Include digital assets in your estate plan

When you create an estate plan, you add your assets to that plan. You list everything you own, including your home, vehicle and other property. One type of asset you may not have considered adding are your digital assets.

It's important to have a record of everything you own, whether it's something tangible or not. If you don't, the asset could go missing and be lost to your estate forever. That's the last thing you want, especially if your digital assets are worth a lot of money.

Planning for succession: 3 things you should do

You've worked hard to create a business, and now you're ready to create a succession plan. You want your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to benefit from the empire you've built over time.

Since you're ready to create a succession plan, it's a good idea to know more about what the plan is and what it does. Family businesses make up around 50 percent of the total gross domestic products of the United States, so keeping yours productive is the goal. What can you do to make sure your business continues to function even if you have to step down?

5 things you should include in your partnership agreement

Imagine that you and your brother have decided to go into business together as residential building contractors. You are considering forming your business as a partnership, but first, you need to find out more about the legal and tax consequences of forming the company. One of the most important steps you can take in forming a partnership is to create a partnership agreement. Having such a document in place with guidelines to follow in case there is a dispute or other issue is important.

In order to ensure that you are in compliance with state and federal business formation requirements and that your formation documents are in order, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney. A lawyer experienced with business law in the Philadelphia area can help you through the process off starting a partnership.


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