What is the Difference Between Seeking a Legal Separation and a Divorce?

If you are no longer happy living with your spouse, then you may be considering separating your legal partnership.  There are a couple different possible steps that you can take in order to formally split from your spouse. One option is a legal separation. The other option is a divorce. What is the Difference Between a Legal Separation and a Divorce? A legal separation and a divorce are similar in many ways. A legal separation and a legal divorce both can allow you to get a formal contractual agreement in place regarding how custody, assets and money are shared once you are no longer…

Who Should Move Out of the Family Residence During a Divorce?

Many married couples own property together, and the question of what should happen to the family home can become a contentious one in divorce. Unfortunately, as soon as a couple decides to separate or split up, a decision will need to be made as to who should stay in the family home even before the divorce is granted. This means that you may need to decide who should stay in the family house while the divorce is pending and then separately tackle the issue of who should keep the home after the divorce is finalized. Making the decision of who…

The Enforcement of Premarital Agreements upon Death

Spouses often enter into premarital agreements to define their respective property and support rights in the event their marriage terminates by way of dissolution. The premarital agreement will also usually define the parties’ rights to share in each other’s estate upon death by requiring specific inheritance provisions to the surviving spouse and/or waivers of statutory inheritance rights. The surviving spouse may learn that the deceased spouse neglected to include terms in his or her estate plan which their premarital agreement required. It is critically important that the estate planning attorney work in conjunction with the family law attorney preparing the…

Can I Make My Spouse Move Out During a Divorce?

If you and your spouse are currently sharing a home and one of you has filed for divorce or is considering filing for divorce in California, you may wonder what will happen next.  For many, the issue of staying in the family home during the divorce and potentially after the divorce  is important. However, you may not want to continue living in the home with your spouse as you work through the divorce process. Can you make your spouse move out of the house or not? Can I Make My Spouse Move Out? In the majority of divorce situations, you cannot…

Reducing the Taxable Estate with Family Limited Partnership

The family limited partnership (FLP) and the limited liability company (LLC) are excellent estate planning techniques to reduce the taxable estate.  The estate planning advantages of the FLP also apply to the LLC so this article will simply refer to FLP’s for clarity.  A FLP is a limited partnership comprised of family members.  FLPs have become very popular during the last few years because the valuation discounts of FLP assets have been so substantial.  The primary estate planning benefit of a FLP is to reduce the value of assets held in a taxable estate by transferring the assets into the…

Portability of the Estate and Gift Tax Exemption

The estate and gift tax imposes a tax on assets an individual owns at death and assets gifted during life in excess of the exemption amount.  Gifts and estates in excess of the exemption amount were subject to a federal tax ranging from 35-45%.  The exemption amount has fluctuated dramatically in the last decade making estate planning difficult as we generally do not know the exemption amount for the year in which death occurs.  Also, the exemption amount was personal meaning it could not be transferred between spouses and was a use it or lose it proposition. Congress passed the…