Most people have heard the word probate before, but they might be wondering 'what is probate?' The probate process can refer to several things. The probate court determines whether or not a will is valid. If an executor is not named in the will, the court will assign an executor to perform those duties. However, the entire process of administering the estate of the deceased according to the will's instructions can also be referred to as probate. Many people think that an executor simply reads the will and hands out the bequests to the heirs. There is so much more involved in the duties of an executor during probate.
The actual court probate process is only a part of the responsibilities of the will's executor. The first duty is to file a petition to start probate in each of the states where the deceased owned property. Because each state has slightly varying probate laws, the answer to the 'what is probate?' question will change a little depending on a specific state's legal code. However, there are some common events between states when it comes to processing wills and other estate administration. Before the executor of the will can even be formally appointed or approved, a petition has to be filed, a notice of petition must be published with a certain amount of lead time (usually at least 15 days), the legal documents must be given to the judge for approval, and the concerned parties (such as beneficiaries) must be notified.
Following these notifications, the court hearing will formally begin the probate process and approve the named executor of the will. After the court hearing, the executor needs to inventory all of the deceased's assets. This information has to be filed with the probate court. Next, all creditor's claims are addressed and paid off. The IRS also has to be paid. It is the executor's responsibility to file all taxes, including income, estate, and others, by their respective deadlines. The timelines are not adjusted due to the death of the taxee. What is probate? It's probably a lot more than most people realize.
Once all debts and taxes are paid, the executor of the will files a petition for the judge's approval of the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. The concerned parties are notified, and there is a court hearing where the judge approves the distribution of assets. Finally in the probate process, the executor transfers those assets to the beneficiaries. These steps are the main answer to the 'what is probate?' question.
You may have tried to forget about that time when you and your
friends had a little too much fun on the spring break of '97 or forced
yourself to believe that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas".
Although that breaking and entering incident happened way back when you
were a college sophomore and that you got away with that little Vegas
fiasco with just a month-long community service sanction, these can all
go on your permanent record and can appear in background checks. For
more grave crimes, it can even affect your chances of getting a
reputable job or a loan from a bank.
Therefore, expunging or
erasing your criminal records can reap a multitude of benefits other
than just clearing up your conscience. It may be a lengthy process and a
number of errors may come up but it will definitely be worth it. With
that taken into account, here are some tips on how to get your criminal
Find out if your record can be dropped.
Most felonies and some serious misdemeanors can't be dropped off
your permanent record. Offenses against children, sexual and violent
crimes can't be erased. It's worth finding out if your criminal act can
be expunged in the first place rather than going through all the
processes only to find out it was all for nothing.
Give the judge a reason to allow the expungement.
Certain violations, even seemingly minor ones, can result in a loss
of someone's rights. For example a person charged with a DUI may have
his license revoked. In majority of cases, the offender may have to
defend himself in front of a judge, even if it doesn't involve getting a
right back. You need to make a good case for yourself to convince the
judge because ultimately he decides whether you deserve a clean slate or
Show the judge how you can benefit from a clean record.
When convincing a judge, the best defense is to show how much you
and others can benefit from the expungement. For example, if you have
been stripped of your right to leave the country, explain how you have a
family member in need of your attention abroad or something like that.
Make sure your reason is convincing while still being truthful.
Begin the process early.
For most cases it can take four months to a year with a lot of
waiting in between to clear your record, depending on the state you live
in and the severity of the crime. Start by finding yourself a reputable
lawyer and working on your paperwork early on to prevent any additional
Be mindful of pretend lawyers and scams.
An attorney is not necessary to file for a record expungement.
However, getting legal advice from someone knowledgeable in the whole
process is a huge plus in getting your records cleared. Just be smart
about the whole thing and be mindful of scammers who falsely guarantee
you of a quicker process and certain expungement all for a steep price.
Power of attorney is a legal term in fact. This is a form or a
document that is basically legal because it will be notarize by someone
in the right position like the lawyers. Power of attorney allows some to
have the authority to handle some other person's business affairs.
There are two individuals involve in the process. The first is the
principal which will authorize someone to act on his or her behalf. The
second person is the agent or the attorney in fact who is appointed to
carry out the task of its principal. In the United States, attorney in
fact is the common term used; this person must be loyal and most
importantly honest in carrying out his or her tasks. The attorney in
fact may or may not be paid but for the record most principal would
choose someone close to them to act as his or her agent. Usually the
principal chooses individuals close to them as the agent because this
individual acts as a confidant to the principal.
When making a
power of attorney form, you should decide on what type you will use.
This form may be limited or special and general. The effectiveness of
its power ends when the principal becomes incapacitated or incapable or
even before she or he dies. In this case, the principal will be unable
to grant the power needed unless the grantor or principal will state and
specify that the power of attorney still have its effectiveness even if
he or she becomes debilitated. In case when the principal dies, so the
effectiveness of the power of attorney ends as well.
There is also
the durable power of attorney which encompasses an advance directive
that sanctions the attorney in fact. In this position, the agent makes
decisions regarding health care of the principal which now happens to be
the patient. The decisions would include terminating care; consent to
give or not to give any medication or procedure or treatment. An advance
directive is very much different with a living will. A living will is a
written document stating the patient's wishes regarding the health
condition but this does not allow the agent to make any medical
In the end, it is really very important to understand
power of attorney because giving or assigning this to another individual
requires a lot of understanding. Yes, it is very easy to acquire such
but then it will all end up when the agent would act upon the power of
You've probably heard of advance directives, but are unsure of
what they actually do and how they can help you. The truth is that these
are a great way to plan ahead for your future, but they do require a
bit of work upfront first. This is a good thing though, since it will
save you time and energy later. It's better to have the work done before
you actually need to do it so in a time of emergency everything is
already sorted out beforehand.
The first thing to be aware of is
the medical power of attorney, also called a healthcare proxy. This
person is lawfully able to make medical decisions for you in the event
that you are unable to. This includes when you are suffering from
dementia and when you are not conscious. This is a big shoe to fit into,
so to speak, so it is important that you select someone that you trust
completely. Sometimes, you may want to select a backup healthcare proxy
in the event that something happens to your original choice for POA.
This doesn't happen often, but when it does you will want to be
prepared. So having another person you trust on deck allows you to not
worry about constantly updating your POA paperwork.
You also need
to know that your POA will not be able to make decisions that override
your decisions. This is to benefit you, of course. If you were to wake
up out of a coma, you would then be able to once again make your own
decisions and not have to worry about your POA making a decision that
you do not want them to.
Some states do not actually honor other
states' advance directives. Some do. So it will require a little
research, either on your own or with your attorney, to make sure that if
you are moving from New York to California, for example, that your
advance directive will hold up under the scrutiny of the legal system.
The easiest solution to this problem is to have an advance directive
made up for each state that you will be residing in. So if you do move
into a California retirement home, make sure that you set up an advance
directive as soon as possible once you are a resident there.
final consideration for the State of California is that if you are in a
skilled nursing facility and want to set up an advance directive, you
must have a patient advocate sign the paperwork as a witness. Again,
this is to protect you and your rights.
Basically, the State of
California wants to ensure that the patient is of sound mind and that
they are not being taken advantage of. This is why an advocate must
sign-they look out for their patients' best interests.
Expungement is not the same thing as sealing. The terms are very close in meaning with subtle differences. However, an expungement means that the criminal record is erased as if they crime never happened. Sealing simply hides the record and make it no longer public information. This is important because each state has different laws that apply to each of these terms.
Starting a business requires prospective entrepreneurs to make
hundreds of different decisions before opening their doors to customers.
One of the most important decisions is selecting the right legal
structure for your enterprise. The manner in which you choose to
organize will impact your taxes, personal liability exposure, and
Sole proprietorships are the most common
arrangement for people who work alone. This structure is a popular
choice because it is the easiest to arrange and does not require any
filings with the state. One of the biggest disadvantages of the sole
proprietorship, however, is that entity does not exist apart from the
owner. Consequently, the owner is personally liable for all financial
obligations and damages resulting from lawsuits filed against the
company. Another disadvantage is that it can be difficult to raise
capital. Banks are reluctant to make loans to sole proprietorships,
leaving the owners to rely on home equity loans or borrowing from
For enterprises with more than one owner, a partnership
might be a good arrangement. Each partner contributes capital, labor, or
expertise in order to turn a profit. The partners share in the profits,
but like a sole proprietorship, they are also personally liable for
debts and damages. One way in which partners can reduce personal
exposure is by forming a limited partnership. This form consists of
general partners who make decisions and assume the risks and limited
partners with no control in the operations in exchange for reduced
liability. Tax treatment is one of the main reasons this arrangement is
selected. Profits and losses are passed through to the individual
Limited Liability Companies, or LLCs, are a type of
structure that is becoming very popular. This structure creates an
entity separate from the owners. As a result, the owners are not liable
for debts or judgments against the venture. Unlike a limited
partnership, all members are free to participate in the management and
enjoy protection from personal liability. LLCs also enjoy pass through
taxation. However, the tax rules for these structures are complicated.
The amount of paperwork is a huge hurdle, and members must file articles
of organization with the Secretary of State or sign an operating
The right structure for your business depends on a
number of different factors unique to your enterprise. For example, a
small boutique selling handmade cat collars will obviously have less
risk and perhaps less revenue than a company that provides window
washing services to high-rise office buildings. Prospective
entrepreneurs are advised to contact their attorney or accountant in
order to discuss the taxation and liability consequences of the
different entities. A number of free or low-cost resources to help you
make your decision are available from your local chamber of commerce,
Small Business Administration, or volunteers with the Service Corps of
Selecting the organization for your business
is one of the most important decisions you and your partners will make.
Research all of the available options and seek advice from experienced
professionals before making your selection.
Legal separation and divorce are very similar and they hold basically the same legal functions except for the fact that with a separation, you do not terminate your marital status. When a couple decides to become legally separated, it is not merely a verbal agreement. They can't simply say that they are not in love anymore and one of them will move out of the family home. Instead, they must go through the same process as couples who wish to undergo a divorce.
In a legal separation, the same issues will be addressed as in the termination of a marriage. The couple will have to sort out issues relating to asset division, property division, child support, child custody, visitation and spousal support payments (if there are any). The couple will also have to decide who will pay which debts as well.
There are a number of reasons why parties choose this rather than divorce, and the reasons are usually personal. People can choose separation for religious reasons, personal beliefs, health insurance concerns, or other financial reasons.
Oftentimes couples will decide to remain married for one of two reasons: either for the sake of their children, or for a financial reason. For example, if a non-employee spouse has a pre-existing medical condition or some other serious medical condition; they may need to stay on their spouse's medical insurance so they can keep getting necessary medical care.
In some cases the couple may need to remain legally wed until they reach the ten-year deadline for certain Social Security benefits. This holds true for the ten-year deadline for military enforcement advantages or, the twenty-year deadline for PX and commissary benefits.
There is another substantial benefit and reason why people choose legal separation and it has nothing to do with health insurance or money. They may be unsure if they really want to end their marriage; therefore, the time apart offers them a "cooling off" period where they can have time to think about what they really want. They may realize that they really do love each other, and later decide that they want to get back together. It's a lot easier to get back together after legally spending time away from one another as opposed to having to go through the process of remarrying.
Religion and culture can play a significant role in why couples decide to separate instead of divorcing altogether. In certain religions, divorce carries a negative stigma that many couples wish to avoid. With legal separation the couples can enjoy all the material benefits of a divorce without having to deal with the negative stigma attached. Separation does not allow for remarriage unless the marriage is terminated through a divorce, but it can be assumed that people who part for religious reasons don't plan to remarry anyway.
In many cases it is more affordable for the spouses, especially when the dependent spouse relies heavily on their spouse for medical insurance. When you factor in the quality of life enjoyed through the marriage, along with how much money it would cost for the dependent spouse to take out their own medical coverage (similar to what their spouse has been carrying), then it can be reflected in the alimony payments. Sometimes it is less expensive and allows the dependent spouse to remain on the health insurance, as opposed to paying them larger alimony payments, thus saving the expense for both parties.
Getting a separation in California does require some legal paperwork and going through the court system. The same as in a divorce, you want to have a qualified attorney representing your best interests when handling important matters such as child custody, child support, asset division, property division and possible spousal support payments. If you would like to enjoy the benefits of a legal separation, contact a skilled and knowledgeable divorce attorney without delay!
In estate law, trusts are taxed differently depending on whether they are revocable or irrevocable trusts. Learn how a trust is taxed from an estate planning and probate lawyer in this free video on estate law.
Modern advancements in medicine have made it possible for us to
live longer than ever before. While these advancements have
substantially extended our lives, such an extension may not be desirable
because it may lower our quality of life and result in a loss of our
dignity. Since all competent adults have the right to make their own
medical decisions, you may want to tell your doctor now not to take
heroic or extraordinary means to prolong your life in the future if you
become ill and there is no hope for your eventual recovery. You can do
this by preparing a living will.
"What is a living will?"
living will is a legal document in which you direct your doctor to
withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment, whose only purpose is to
prolong your dying process, if you are in a terminal condition or a
state of permanent unconsciousness.
"Who can prepare a living will?"
can prepare a living will if you are of sound mind and are at least 18
years of age, or have graduated from high school, or are married. You
must sign your living will in the presence of two witnesses who are both
at least 18 years of age.
"What medical treatment can I refuse in my living will?"
can refuse all medical treatment including but not limited to cardiac
resuscitation, artificial feeding, blood, kidney dialysis, antibiotics,
surgery, diagnostic tests, and mechanical respiration. You can,
however, direct your doctor to administer only treatment that will keep
you comfortable and alleviate your pain.
Also in your living will,
you can designate another individual, known as your surrogate, to make
medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
"When does my living will become operative?"
living will becomes operative when you or another individual provides a
copy of it to your doctor, and your doctor determines you to be
incompetent and in a terminal condition or state of permanent
unconsciousness. At that time, your doctor has to act in accordance
with the instructions outlined in your living will. If your doctor
cannot in good conscience follow the instructions in your living will,
your doctor must inform you or your surrogate of this fact. At that
time, your doctor is required to assist you in finding another doctor
who will comply with the instructions in your living will.
"Can I revoke my living will?"
You may revoke your living will at any time and in any way without
regard to your mental or physical condition. Revocation is effective at
the time it is communicated to your doctor by you or by a witness to
"If I do not have a living will, will my doctor continue to order treatment to prolong my dying process?"
necessarily. Your failure to prepare a living will will not raise any
presumption as to your intent to consent to or refuse life-sustaining
medical treatment. In fact, in one Pennsylvania case, the court
permitted a close relative with the consent of two physicians to remove
life-sustaining treatment from the patient who had no living will and
was in a persistent vegetative state.
"Can my doctor refuse to treat me if I do not have a living will?"
Your doctor cannot require you to have a living will as a condition to
provide treatment to you. Also, your doctor cannot charge you a
different fee for providing treatment to you if you do not have a living
"If I have a living will and am involved in a serious accident, will emergency medical personnel refuse to treat me?"
Emergency medical personnel will provide any and all treatment
necessary to save your life. Your living will does not apply until it
becomes operative, i.e., your doctor determines you to be incompetent
and in a terminal condition or in a state of permanent unconsciousness.
summary, a living will lets you decide now what medical treatment you
want in the future if you become incompetent and are in a terminal
condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness. It helps to
eliminate uncertainty regarding your desire for specific medical
treatment, and provides guidance to your doctors and family members.
Failure to prepare a living will may cause increased stress on your
loved ones who are left to decide the proper medical treatment for you.
A limited liability company, or LLC, is one of the most popular
business entities today but also one of the newest. An LLC is unique in
that it's a pass-through entity. The IRS does not consider an LLC a
legal separate entity in terms of taxation, so all business income,
losses, and expenses are "passed through" to individual owners to report
on their personal income tax returns.
By default, a single member
(or single owner) LLC is taxed as a sole proprietorship. An LLC with
more than one member is taxed as a partnership by default. There are
many tax advantages (as well as drawbacks) to forming an LLC instead of a
One of the biggest benefits
to forming an LLC is you can choose how you are taxed. This is one of
the lesser understood advantages of a limited liability company. When
you file your taxes, you can choose to file as a "disregarded entity"
and get the default tax treatment or you can choose corporate tax
treatment. If you choose the corporation taxation structure, your
business will be taxed at a much lower corporate rate on the first
$75,000 in income. Keep in mind an LLC's tax rate is completely
dependent on the owner's income. If you have higher income, you will
likely pay lower tax rates by choosing corporate treatment.
a limited liability company, you can lease your personal assets to the
company. This means you can run your LLC from your home office and have
the LLC leasing the office from you. Doing so means you are creating a
business expense that you may be able to write off while improving your
personal financial situation. This is a tricky area, however, as the
expenses must be legitimate business expenses and you will need a formal
lease agreement in place.
No Double Taxation
are subject to something known as double taxation, which means a
corporation first pays taxes at the corporate level then again on income
from dividends that are distributed to owners. LLC owners are not
subject to double taxation; business income is reported on your personal
income tax return and taxed once.
there are certainly tax benefits to an LLC, there are drawbacks as well.
LLC owners are required to pay taxes on their distributive share of the
company's profit, even if they do not receive the distribution because
the money stays with the business. Corporate owners are not required to
pay taxes on business profits unless the profits are distributed
(usually as dividends).
Finally, as an LLC owner, you will also be
required to pay self-employment taxes, even if you are a single member
LLC. Corporate owners who work as employees of the company, meanwhile,
only pay half of this tax amount on their salaries while the corporation
pays the rest.
A will is an important document for any person to have. This
document simply provides directions on how your property will be handled
when you pass on. Many times, when people die without a will in place, a
lot of misunderstandings can arise within the family and the community
at large. It is therefore important to specify how one's property or
estate will be handled to avoid these misunderstandings.
writing service is important to help you come up with your will. It is
possible for you to write your will without any help but if you are not
familiar with this process, you need guidance so that you can write a
The first thing you need to do is identify a good
will writing service that has the requisite experience and reputation to
ease the process of making a will. There are a number of benefits that
you will get when you work with a will writing service. Some of these
• Correct Structure
Certain things are
required when you are drawing up your will. You must indicate that you
are of the right age and of sound mind. You must also indicate that this
is your last will and testament. You still are able to amend your will
at any time you wish to.
These services will also help you to
understand technical terms used when writing a will. A man writing a
will is called a testator while a woman is called a testatrix. The will
has to be signed by the testatrix or the testator and signed by two
• Tax Implications
Certain assets or
estates can have tax implications. If you leave your estate to someone
else other than your spouse, they might be required to pay taxes on it.
It is important to know this in advance and plan for it accordingly.
• Will Execution
important aspect to consider is the executor of the will. This is the
person who will carry out the terms of the will should you pass on. The
person who helps you write the will can also be the executor if they
have that capacity. If not, you should name the person or company to
carry out this function.
Making a will should not be a problem for
you. With the right people to help you, this process will be easy. It
will allow you to rest well knowing that your estate will be handled
correctly when you pass on.
If you are convicted of DUI, you may want to expunge your DUI
record in order to get a job, loan, house, etc. Expungement refers to
the process of removing or erasing your DUI records. You are required to
petition the court in order to get your records expunged. This article
discusses steps to clear your DUI record by covering the whole process
from petitioning to obtaining expungement. Each state's expungement laws
vary; therefore, this article gives you a basic idea on the process.
DUI expungement process:
1. Where to file a petition for expungement?
You need to file a petition for expungement in the superior court in the county where your DUI arrest occurred.
2. What are the grounds for denial of expungement?
You can be denied for expungement:
- if you haven't completed probation.
- if you didn't show a good reason to expunge your DUI record.
- if you are convicted of severe felony.
- if a great deal of time has passed since your arrest or conviction.
3. What are the grounds for acceptance of expungement?
You are allowed to expunge:
- if this is the only conviction on your record.
- if you didn't spend any time in state prison.
- if you have rehabilitated yourself.
4. How to file for an expungement?
- Do you need a lawyer?
don't necessarily need a lawyer for expunging your records. It's just
that this process involves a lot of paperwork and if you have a lawyer
by your side, he can give you advice regarding that. If you don't wish
to hire a lawyer, you should learn all the procedures that are required
to get this process done.
- How long does it take?
The entire expungement process could take anywhere from 4 to 6 months.
- What is the filing fee?
The filing fee may vary from $50 to $400 depending on your case and your state.
- What forms do you need to fill and where to get them?
need to go to your county courthouse and ask the clerk for the
expungement forms. As mentioned above the forms may cost around $50 to
$400. The clerk may give you the following forms: 1. Expungement
petition, 2. Affidavit or proof of service form.
5. What happens after you file the petition for expungement?
you file the petition for expungement, a copy will be sent to all
agencies that have your records like arresting agency, the county
attorney, the city police department etc. They may accept or refuse your
request. If they accept, the court will grant your petition without
hearing. If they refuse, a hearing will be held and you are required to
attend. (This law can vary from state to state). You will be notified of
hearing date through the mail. In some states, though, the court sets
the hearing date, while in others you have to pick the date. You must
ask your clerk beforehand regarding how your state's county court
hearing date is set.
6. The Court hearing and decision:
petition for expungement may or may not be granted. If you won the
expungement hearing, you must check after 60 days to see for yourself
whether your records show up during a criminal record check. The 60 days
period is when the court orders all the agencies to seal your record.
However, if you lose your hearing, you may need to ask for an
expungement once again.
Most small business owners in the United States operate as a sole
proprietorship, the default business entity. While this may work for
some businesses for some time, it does not create any legal separation
between your business and your personal assets. You will face both the
risk of lawsuits and the potential of business debt that you cannot
afford. Operating as a sole proprietorship is a risk that grows with
If you want to protect your business and yourself forming an LLC is one affordable option that offers many benefits.
What is a Limited Liability Company?
you form an LLC, you will create a separate entity that offers
liability protection for owners. Your personal assets like your home and
savings will not be at risk if your business is sued or has debts it
cannot pay, provided you maintain the LLC and meet legal requirements. A
limited liability company provides flexibile management options and it
operates as a pass-through entity by default. This means that forming an
LLC from a sole proprietorship will not change your taxes at all, if
you have one member.
Choosing an LLC may also offer you additional
benefits. You will find it easier to raise capital through investors,
and you have the ability to deduct health insurance premiums. Self
employment tax is based on net income and you can be taxed as a
partnership or a corporation, if you choose.
Because it is very
affordable to form a limited liability company and offers many important
protections, it is the most popular choice for small business owners.
What is a Sole Proprietorship?
proprietorships have one owner and they are not legal entities. This
means that operating a sole proprietorship offers no distinction under
the law between your business liabilities and assets and personal
liabilities and assets. If there are business debts or a lawsuit that
you cannot pay through business assets, your home, savings and other
assets will then be at risk.
There are benefits to remaining a
sole proprietorship, depending on your situation. Taxes are
straightforward, you do not need to register with the state or file
annual paperwork, and payroll can be much easier to set up. There will
be no compliance issues to worry about, either.
Which is Right for You?
choice between a sole proprietorship and LLC depends on your business.
If you have a very low-risk business that does not involve working in
people's homes, offering advice or selling products, remaining a sole
proprietorship may be your best move. This is especially true if you are
very unlikely to incur great liabilities. If you are concerned about
keeping your business and personal finances and assets separate,
however, or you plan to expand or take on debts, it is worth considering
forming a limited liability in your state or in another state.
For many divorcing couples, retirement plans make up the majority of the marital estate. While some couples can agree to simply "each keep their own" in the asset division, for many other spouses a division of one of the accounts is necessary to ensure a fair distribution of marital assets.
When division of a retirement asset is required in a divorce, many people are unsure how to proceed. They may have heard the term Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), but have no idea if or how it applies to their situation. This lack of knowledge often leads to errors that can end up costing them more money in the long run.
This is why it is important to understand early on what type of retirement accounts exist. Once you know what type of accounts are in play, you can assess whether a QDRO - or a different, similar order - is required. You will also better understand the most effective way to distribute the assets in the final property division settlement.
Individual Retirement Account (IRA) - Since IRAs are not subject to ERISA, a QDRO is not required to divide this type of account. Pursuant to 26 U.S.C.A. §408(d)(6), a transfer from an IRA can be made to a spouse or former pursuant to a decree of divorce or a written instrument incident to a divorce. This written instrument can be either a separation agreement or divorce decree. In most cases, a letter of instruction and copy of the Final Judgment/Settlement Agreement should be enough to transfer money from the IRA.
Non-Qualified Plans - There are numerous types of retirement assets that cannot be divided in a divorce. Non-qualified plans fall outside the purview of ERISA and are not subject to division via QDRO (or usually any other means). These plans usually have names that include words like Supplemental, Excess Benefit, SERP or even Non-Qualified, and are offered to key, high-ranking employees as a means of providing additional retirement benefits beyond those allowed under ERISA. The language of many of these plans specifically preclude payments to anyone other than the employee, and no court order can change this.
Non-ERISA and Government Retirement Plans - ERISA specifically excludes any federal government retirement plans. While these accounts are divisible, it is done with a document other than a true QDRO. While the name QDRO may be used generically to refer to any order related to retirement account division, government plans each have their own mechanisms for division and it is important to understand each. You can learn more about these plans at www.tsp.gov and www.opm.gov. Rules governing state and local government plans vary by state, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules specific to your jurisdiction.
Happily ever after is not always the case when it comes to being married. Often times married couples have a hard time and need to have a break from each other for one reason or the other. It is amazing how many marriages actually end in divorce. However, before you make the decision to get a divorce it is important to know all the facts and options before making a choice. You need to look at legal separation vs divorce when choosing the right one to fit your needs. First let us look at and distinguish the differences.
Legal separation is similar to a legal divorce however there are notable differences that need to be taken into account. A legal separation does not permanently dissolve a marriage, it is something that can be temporary if so desired. There are some couples that just need time apart from one another and living separately is the answer.
A legal separation occurs when the two parties are living separately and it has been filed through the court system. Do not mistake a legal separation for a separation. A separation is not filed with the courts and does not carry the same provisions as a legal separation. Much like a divorce, a couples assets, property and child custody are addressed via a legal separation agreement which is filed with the courts. A separation does not provide provisions and is based solely on verbal agreements. Living separately is mainly used to determine if separating is really what a couple wants to do. There is not paperwork or filing with the courts in the case of a separation.
A legal separation is mainly different from a divorce in the fact that the couple is still legally married. There are benefits to living separately instead of immediately filing for a divorce. A divorce terminates the marriage and any and all joint interest the couple may share. A living separately does not terminate the interest however it does divide the interest. Another benefit of a living separately is the couple can still take advantage of the tax advantages of being married, they can also continue with joint insurance coverage.
Once legally separated can be canceled at any time and the marriage returned to its original status. If a couple automatically proceeds with a divorce when there is a chance for reconciliation, the couple would have to get re-married. If there is any possibility of a reconciliation a legal separation is the way to go. It gives you the time to decide if being separated permanently is what you really want.
The statistics show that 50% of first time marriages end in divorce, especially for individuals under the age of 40. This may not be surprising to many of you because it is a sad but true fact. It seems to be a quick fix for many troubled marriages. Maybe if more people know there were other alternatives to divorce, no so many divorces would be happening. There are times when all a troubled marriage needs is a little time and reflection for both parties to see that they truly were meant to be together.
Whether you choose to have a divorce or get legally separated, it is highly recommended that you obtain legal counsel. Both a legal separation and divorce require filings to be made in the courts. A divorce also requires a reason for the divorce whereas a legal separation does not require any reasoning. Do not take for granted the different options afforded to you, sometimes making decisions quickly and while in an irritated or frustrated state is rash. Divorce and separation are not games, they are serious matters and need to be viewed as such.
Divorce is not something anyone wants to experience but there are times when the only alternative to a bad marriage is divorce. Whether you decide to have a full blown divorce or give a legal separation a try, it is important to find out all the details and facts before making a decision. Each state and country have different rules and prerequisites that apply for both legal separations and divorce. This is one of the most important decisions you will make; therefore, make it wisely.