Archive for July, 2016

After Divorce, What Legal Documents of Mine Should I Update and Why?

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

When the divorce proceedings are finished, it is important to update and change documents that are not included in the divorce judgment. If one fails to do something such as updating who their beneficiary is to your IRA, which most times is the spouse, then the said spouse could inherit their IRA.

Because of this, here are some of the important documents you will want to update upon the finalization of the divorce.

Retirement Plans (401K, IRA, pension plan, and the like) – Although this money is set aside for the account holders retirement, in the event of death, the beneficiary, so often the spouse, would receive the funds in the account.

Life Insurance Policy – A life insurance policy sets aside funds that will help provide for the family after the holder’s death, as well as funeral costs.

Will and Trust – It declares the name of the person who will receive your property and assets upon death, as well as selecting a guardian if there are minors in the family. In addition, the selection of who will manage your estates, nullify previous wills, and new parties to the documents all need to be updated to fit your new marital status.

W-4 – This is a work-related document that helps your employer file their federal income tax, and going from married to not married, requires a change in your personal taxing by the federal government.

Medical Power of Attorney – This is a very important document that must be updated. This is a designation of a person who will be trusted with making healthcare decisions on your behalf if the times comes when you are no longer able to do so.

Ex-Spouse Inherited a House from Her Parents But I’m On Deed. What Am I Entitled To?

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Inheritance can be tricky and often a sensitive subject. People often feel entitled to what has been left behind to them by their parents, but the law in New York often causes a different outcome. Because married couples sometimes find it easier to have a lot of their assets shared, otherwise known as a marital assets, deciding who is entitled to these assets when a divorce takes place becomes much more complex than just looking at who inherited the asset.

With regard to assets such as estates, a home left to a spouse in the will of their parent, for instance an inheritance, is typically considered separate property which by definition is not subject to distribution in a divorce. However, the key here is that this property must be kept separate, as once this property becomes shared, i.e. if the non-inheriting spouse’s name is added to the will and becomes marital property, it is now subject to distribution.

If the non-inheriting spouse’s name is not on the deed, nor are they mentioned in the deceased parent’s will, it becomes much harder for that spouse to prove that they have a vested interest in the property, therefore making it unlikely that the court will find that they have some, if any, entitlement to the house.

However, one thing the court does take into effect is the duration of the marriage. If the marriage lasted 20 years, most of which the non-inheriting spouse was aware that they would inherit said property in the future, they may be able to stake a claim that they do in fact have an interest in the house.

What Should I Know About Divorce and Refinancing?

Friday, July 8th, 2016

In many divorce cases, one of the spouse will want to keep the family home following the divorce. Refinancing is sometimes a necessary action to take in order to buy-out the other spouse’s interest, or ownership of the property. This is a common step taken because unless the spouse that wants the house has a significant amount of money that can be used in the buy-out, or there are some assets that can be exchanged for the share of the home.

Refinancing is a form of taking out a loan, and the new loan must be in the buying spouse’s name only. Out of that loan, the spouse intending to buy-out must subtract the amount of money from the home equity in order to pay the non-buying spouse.

To begin this procedure, you have to value the house, subtract the unpaid mortgage balance, and calculate your share in the remaining equity. To have the house valued, a certified real estate agent should be hired, one that is agreed upon by both spouses. Or, if an agent cannot be agreed upon, each party can get an appraiser, and submitting opposing appraisal reports to the court, where a judge would decide which value seems to be the most reasonable and applicable.