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Columbia Family Law Blog

7 estate planning mistakes you can avoid with the right approach

When it comes to estate planning it's not always easy to make the right decisions at the right time. In addition to federal and state laws, you're staffed with the responsibility of making choices that are best for you and your family.

Even though there are many potential estate planning mistakes hanging over your head, you can avoid all of these with the right approach. Just the same, even if you make a mistake you can always rectify the situation in some way, shape or form.

There are several ways to fight a traffic ticket

If you receive a traffic ticket, it's important to fully understand why this happened and what you can do to protect your legal rights in the future. You may decide to pay the traffic ticket and move on, but this isn't always in your best interest.

If you have reason to believe you can fight back and win, you should learn more about the many traffic ticket defense strategies you can use to your advantage.

  • Dispute the officer's opinion: If you received a traffic ticket as a result of an officer's opinion, such as that you were driving unsafely, you may be able to successfully dispute their claim. Subjective tickets leave a lot to interpretation, which puts you in better position to fight back.
  • Use evidence to your advantage: If your traffic ticket is more clear cut, and less based on the officer's opinion, you should consider if there is any evidence you can use to strengthen your case. For example, the use of a diagram can explain your thoughts on the situation, thus giving the judge a clear idea of what exactly happened. Also, eyewitness statements can work in your favor. The more evidence you present the better.
  • Argue that you had a reason for breaking the law: This sounds silly, but you may be able to argue that your driving was justified. For example, you could argue that you were driving in excess of the speed limit to move your vehicle away from a trucker who was swerving all over the road. If you're going to use this defense strategy, collect and present as much evidence as possible.

I'm worried about leaving my adult son a lump sum inheritance

Many parents struggle with drawing up comprehensive estate plans because they have one or more children who have proven to be ill-equipped to handle their financial affairs.

Maybe they have a history of filing for bankruptcy or have a weakness for betting the mortgage on a trifecta at the track. Sometimes, the problem might not even lie with the adult child, but with their irresponsible spouse.

Answer these questions to improve your co-parenting experience

When you think about co-parenting it's easy to become frustrated, especially if things have not gone as planned in the past.

Regardless of what's happened, there are steps you can take in the future to improve your co-parenting experience and avoid additional stress down the road.

Top tips for discussing estate planning with your loved ones

There is more to creating an estate plan than making decisions on your own, signing a few documents and hoping that you never have to revisit this again in the future.

Instead, there's a very good chance you'll need to discuss your estate plan with loved ones, such as a spouse and/or elderly parents.

How should you prepare your finances for divorce?

Once you and your spouse decide to divorce, you should understand the impact it will have on your future. Preparing your finances for divorce should be one of your priorities after making the decision to split from your spouse.

Here are five basic steps that will put you in a better position as you prepare your finances for divorce:

  • Gather all your financial records. This includes, but is not limited, to bank and retirement account statements, pay stubs and life insurance policies. If it's related to your finances, you will need it.
  • Take inventory of your assets and debts. It can be time-consuming to do this, but it will give you peace of mind. Property division can be a sticking point for many divorcing couples, so you need to thoroughly understand what your assets and debts are in order to negotiate the best settlement that you can.
  • Open individual accounts. This is a big step toward a better life in the near future. Close your join accounts and opt for those in your name only. For starters, open checking and savings accounts and apply for a credit card.
  • Understand your budget. Since your financial situation is changing, your budget may need adjusting as well. For example, as a one-income family, you may not be able to keep up with your current level of spending. Adjusting your budget now can help you avoid future trouble.
  • Get help. There are many sources of assistance to which you can turn, such as a tax professional and financial advisor. Furthermore, don't hesitate to discuss your situation with trusted friends and family members, as they may be able to provide insight you're overlooking.

Don’t let child custody throw your summer vacation off track

Depending on your custody arrangement, you may have big plans to spend a summer vacation with your child. While that can be a fun and exciting opportunity, you need to keep your child custody agreement in mind.

You can't unilaterally make a decision to take your child on vacation. Instead, you must follow the details of your parenting and child custody agreements while also communicating your intentions to the other parent.

Divorce mediation: Know what to expect up front

Once you decide to divorce and realize that you and your spouse are on the same page, it's time to turn your attention to your rights and the process of making your split legal.

There is always a chance that your case could end up in court, but you don't have to go down this path. With a dedication to mediation, you may be able to work through all your differences without the traditional court process guiding you.