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Seattle Family Law Law Blog

What will happen to the family business after your divorce?

If you and your spouse are business partners facing divorce, among your major concerns is no doubt the fate of the company.

The business will likely become the focal point of the property division phase of your divorce. Here are three options for you to consider:

Only 18% of older Americans have this estate planning trio

Virtually everyone knows what a will is and how it works, but this understanding has not motivated everyone to actually create one. CNBC reports that only 55% of people over 55 years old have a will. The numbers are likely lower for those who are younger and think a will is not yet necessary.

However, even having a will is not enough. A will can only address some of your end-of-life wishes and protect only some of your assets. You need other estate planning documents to fully safeguard yourself and your family in the event of your incapacitation or death.

Key facts about wills and trusts

Estate plans can be quite beneficial. However, if people do not fully understand the aspects of the tools available to them, they may not garner the full benefit.

While most people are more familiar with wills being a part of proper estate plans, trusts may be more appropriate than wills in certain instances. It is important to understand the facts about both options.

Is legal separation or divorce best for you?

Most people get married believing that they will have a lasting relationship. However, that is not always the outcome.

In certain situations, parties may not be completely ready to enter the divorce process, or they may benefit from other separation methods. There are a few key considerations that may help to determine whether legal separation or divorce is best.

Update your estate plan when you are going through a divorce

A divorce is an all-consuming, emotionally draining event, and if you are ending your marriage, the process likely occupies all your waking hours.

However, you should take some time to consider important related matters, such as the location of the estate plan you filed away years ago and the need to make some changes at this point in your life.

Why you should avoid divorce advice from your friends

Once you realize you cannot move forward in the marriage any longer with your spouse, it is time to proceed with a divorce. As you acquire the necessary paperwork, you will gradually inform your loved ones of what will happen. Chances are good you know plenty of people who have divorced, and they will likely give you advice during this time. 

You need to take any advice given to you by friends with a huge grain of salt. Divorce is different for everyone. They may be familiar with the process, but they do not know you and your spouse. You should only take advice from a legal authority and only rely on your friends for emotional support. 

How trusts offer you more control over your assets

The most familiar estate planning document is the will. It is a necessary component, and it may be sufficient for people who have limited assets. However, for those who have more valuable or complex estates, or who simply want to maintain more control over them, trusts may be more beneficial.

A trust is the transfer of your property or money to a third party (trustee), who manages the asset for the beneficiary until an appointed time. This arrangement comes in many forms, each offering its own advantages.

When should you create an estate plan?

Estate planning can be a confusing and intimidating subject. While you may be aware that you should have an estate plan in place at some point, you may not exactly know when to draft such a plan. The truth is that every adult should have an estate plan.

It is helpful to have certain documents whether you are 18 or 80. Here are some documents you should consider creating right away, no matter your age or stage in life.

Child custody and the impact of divorce

Couples considering marital dissolution are generally concerned about two areas. Asset division is as much a concern for marital partners with modest resources as for wealthy couples with complicated property-division issues. 

The other area significant to parents is the emotional well-being of their children. Few other concerns in a divorce match child custody for generating parental feelings of doubt, concern, guilt or possessiveness. Most parents want to spare their children from trauma associated with divorce.

How to talk to your adult children about your estate plan

Estate planning is important for everyone, but it is even more crucial if you have grown children. Your estate plan lays out what you want to leave for your children. The next step you should take is having a discussion about these plans. Having a conversation about money, retirement and end-of-life care is not easy, but it is beneficial. 

Being open and honest about your estate plan will reduce confusion and help your entire family have more peace of mind. Here are some tips for approaching this topic with your children.

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Mark A. Brown, P.S.
1325 4th Avenue, Suite 940
Seattle, WA 98101

Phone: 206-686-4466
Fax: 206-515-2084
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