Autism Awareness Month: Atlanta Special Needs Lawyer Has 3 Key Planning Steps for Parents of Special Needs Children | Special Needs Trusts

Autism Awareness Month: Atlanta Special Needs Lawyer Has 3 Key Planning Steps for Parents of Special Needs Children

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April is Autism Awareness Month, which seeks to educate the public about the needs and challenges facing those with autism spectrum disorders.  Yet despite the observance, Atlanta special needs attorney Steve Worrall warns that many parents of special needs children are still in the dark as to 3 key planning steps designed to protect their child if the unthinkable happens.

 

Atlanta, GA –   April is Autism Awareness Month in the United States. 

 

According to AutismSpeaks.com, the disorder affects one in 110 children in the United States, with boys being four times more likely than girls to be diagnosed on the spectrum. The prevalence of autism has also increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006, thus prompting The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to refer to autism a “national public health crisis”.

 

Yet while autism awareness is at an all time high, Atlanta, Georgia, special needs and estate planning lawyer Steve Worrall warns that many parents are still in the dark as to how to make sure their child is physically and financially cared for if and when death or incapacity occurs.

 

“As much parents of special needs children hate to think about it, there will come a time when they are physically unable—or perhaps no longer alive—to oversee their child’s care,” warns Worrall.  “That’s why long-term care plans must be put in place as soon as a diagnosis is made to ensure the child always stays physically and financially protected if the unthinkable occurs,” he adds.

 

While Worrall does admit that the options for long-term care planning are broad and depend on the needs of the child, he explains that parents can simplify the process by starting with these 3 key planning steps:

 

1.      Name Guardians– Worrall urges parents to immediately name short and long-term guardians who can oversee their child’s care if something unexpectedly happens to them. Without such designations in place, the child could end up in a lengthy custody battle—or worse—be placed in foster care if the unthinkable happens.  Worrall advises parents to think outside the box and focus on finding someone whose love and dedication to the child closely resemble their own. Finally, parents should give copies of their designations to the guardians themselves, as well as the child’s school, babysitters and even the neighbors so everyone knows exactly who to call if a crisis strikes.

 

2.      Set up a Special Needs Trust– A special needs trust is a legal tool that ensures a disabled child’s health care and living needs are taken care of if something happens to mom or dad.  Worrall explains that while many parents have good intentions of leaving their child life insurance benefits or other assets in a will if they pass, leaving a child an inheritance outright could void their eligibility for Social Security or Medicaid in the future (which is often the only health care option available!).  Instead, a trust helps to ensure that the child receives such financial benefits without actually having assets in their name—thus leaving all government benefits intact.

 

3.      Build a Team of Support- According to Worrall, it’s never too early to begin building a team of trusted caregivers and advisors who can immediately step in and help the child if a crisis occurs.   Such team members may include the child’s legal guardians, a trusted doctor, financial advisor, estate planning attorney and dedicated family or friends.  Building such a team now also helps to ensure you have the right people in place, as opposed to someone who will prey upon your child’s disability in an emergency.

 

“Parents of special needs children must go into planning with the mindset that their child will require a lifetime of care,” says Worrall.  “Fortunately, by starting with these 3 key steps, parents will make tremendous progress in ensuring their child is physically and financially cared for in their absence.”

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE ASK FOR OUR SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING GUIDE AT GeorgiaSpecialNeedsLawyer.com

Marietta Family Law Attorney Ponders: Can a Postnuptial Agreement Save Your Marriage?

Marietta Family Law Attorney Ponders: Can a Postnuptial Agreement Save Your Marriage?

Think “prenuptial agreement” and you think “I love you!”, right? Perhaps not! In my Marietta and Atlanta divorce and family law firm, I find that even though an important legal document like this can protect your bank account and other assets, many folks consider a prenup as a dealbreaker. According to Casey Bond, in an article published at GoBankingRates.com, asking for one can be construed as lack of trust by the party requesting it. Thus, it can be a challenge to persuade a potential spouse that having a prenup is a good idea when they have this attitude. This post summarizes Ms. Bond’s article on the radical concept of using postnuptial agreements to save a troubled marriage.

On the flip side, many engaged couples believe that signing a prenup is equal in importance to the marriage preparations as it is to reserve the church and register for gifts. But suppose you and your spouse chose not to enter into a pre-marital agreement concerning your finances and you now regret that choice? Your answer may be a postnup instead.

Prenup and Postnups : The Differences

Postnuptial agreements, often called post-marital contracts, are much less commonly used than prenups, but their popularity has been increasing in recent years. Essentially, these two contracts are created for the same purpose, but a postnuptial agreement is made after a couple has been married instead of doing it before the wedding.

The postnup’s purpose is to protect each spouse’s individual income and assets in case the marriage ends, whether as a result of divorce or death of one of the spouses. They are widely used in community property states where entitles one spouse is automatically to the other spouse’s assets when they become married. Remember, though, that every state’s laws and requirements surrounding postnuptial agreements are different.

Postnuptial Agreements: Who Needs Them?

Please understand that signing a postnup does not mean that you expect your marriage to end in divorce. These documents certainly are not for everyone, but a postnup can do a lot of good for many marriages under special circumstances:

Revising a Prenup: Many couples who choose to create a postnuptial agreement already have a prenuptial agreement in place. A postnup is often needed when one spouse has a significant shift in finances, like a promotion or inheritance, and the spouses find it necessary to modify the terms of the original prenuptial agreement. Indeed, there can be numerous changes to a postnup as the financial situation within a marriage changes over time.

Protect a Business: Many business owners will want postnups because a divorce could seriously threaten assets of the business or adversely affect outside partners and investors.

Fights About Finance: Any married person knows that finances and money are often a great source of strain on the relationship. This may be more true for some couples than for others. Occasionally couples who frequently argue over their finances and at risk of divorcing over the subject find that a postnuptial agreement can relieve that stress and once again strengthen the marriage.

Adultery: Postnups are also frequently used as resources for managing an unfaithful spouse. In marriages where a spouse has strayed and engaged in an adulterous relationship with another partner, the other may require in a postnuptial agreement that if it occurs again, the philanderer must pay a large amount of cash to their husband or wife. The question of whether or not this will actually improve the marriage is open to question.

Creating a Postnuptial Agreement

If you are already married and you believe the two of you need a postnuptial agreement, you should understand that the process is not as simple as writing up who-gets-what in case you get divorced and having a lawyer approve it. In Georgia, for a post-marital contract to be enforceable, both parties should have individual legal representation, they must provide full disclosure of each party’s financial situation (i.e., no secret bank accounts) and the contract should be reasonably fair to both parties.

In summary, if you find yourself in one of the categories listed above, You might can benefit greatly from having a postnuptial agreement and it could well be beneficial to create one. Whether it’s a business requirement, or whether it could actually save your marriage, if you believe a postnuptial agreement is a good idea, discuss it openly with your spouse. He or she may agree it is a good idea, too.

In our Marietta family law firm, we frequently prepare post-nuptial agreements and pre-nuptial agreements. Please contact us at 770-425-6060 to schedule a Georgia Family Law Strategy Session to discover more about these documents and whether they are appropriate for you and your spouse or spouse-to-be.

SOURCE FOR POST: Could a Postnuptial Agreement Save Your Marriage?, by Casey Bond in GoBankingRates.com

 

Atlanta Divorce Lawyer & Family Law Attorney Suggests: A Postnuptial Agreement Could Save Your Marriage!

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Think “prenuptial agreement” and you think “I love you!”, right? Perhaps not! In my Marietta and Atlanta divorce and family law firm, I find that even though an important legal document like this can protect your bank account and other assets, many folks consider a prenup as a dealbreaker. According to Casey Bond, in an article published at GoBankingRates.com, asking for one can be construed as lack of trust by the party requesting it. Thus, it can be a challenge to persuade a potential spouse that having a prenup is a good idea when they have this attitude. This post summarizes Ms. Bond's article on the radical concept of using postnuptial agreements to save a troubled marriage.

On the flip side, many engaged couples believe that signing a prenup is equal in importance to the marriage preparations as it is to reserve the church and register for gifts. But suppose you and your spouse chose not to enter into a pre-marital agreement concerning your finances and you now regret that choice? Your answer may be a postnup instead.

Prenup and Postnups : The Differences

Postnuptial agreements, often called post-marital contracts, are much less commonly used than prenups, but their popularity has been increasing in recent years. Essentially, these two contracts are created for the same purpose, but a postnuptial agreement is made after a couple has been married instead of doing it before the wedding.

The postnup’s purpose is to protect each spouse’s individual income and assets in case the marriage ends, whether as a result of divorce or death of one of the spouses. They are widely used in community property states where entitles one spouse is automatically to the other spouse’s assets when they become married. Remember, though, that every state’s laws and requirements surrounding postnuptial agreements are different.

Postnuptial Agreements: Who Needs Them?

Please understand that signing a postnup does not mean that you expect your marriage to end in divorce. These documents certainly are not for everyone, but a postnup can do a lot of good for many marriages under special circumstances:

Revising a Prenup: Many couples who choose to create a postnuptial agreement already have a prenuptial agreement in place. A postnup is often needed when one spouse has a significant shift in finances, like a promotion or inheritance, and the spouses find it necessary to modify the terms of the original prenuptial agreement. Indeed, there can be numerous changes to a postnup as the financial situation within a marriage changes over time.

Protect a Business: Many business owners will want postnups because a divorce could seriously threaten assets of the business or adversely affect outside partners and investors.

Fights About Finance: Any married person knows that finances and money are often a great source of strain on the relationship. This may be more true for some couples than for others. Occasionally couples who frequently argue over their finances and at risk of divorcing over the subject find that a postnuptial agreement can relieve that stress and once again strengthen the marriage.

Adultery: Postnups are also frequently used as resources for managing an unfaithful spouse. In marriages where a spouse has strayed and engaged in an adulterous relationship with another partner, the other may require in a postnuptial agreement that if it occurs again, the philanderer must pay a large amount of cash to their husband or wife. The question of whether or not this will actually improve the marriage is open to question.

Creating a Postnuptial Agreement

If you are already married and you believe the two of you need a postnuptial agreement, you should understand that the process is not as simple as writing up who-gets-what in case you get divorced and having a lawyer approve it. In Georgia, for a post-marital contract to be enforceable, both parties should have individual legal representation, they must provide full disclosure of each party’s financial situation (i.e., no secret bank accounts) and the contract should be reasonably fair to both parties.

In summary, if you find yourself in one of the categories listed above, You might can benefit greatly from having a postnuptial agreement and it could well be beneficial to create one. Whether it’s a business requirement, or whether it could actually save your marriage, if you believe a postnuptial agreement is a good idea, discuss it openly with your spouse. He or she may agree it is a good idea, too.

In our Marietta family law firm, we frequently prepare post-nuptial agreements and pre-nuptial agreements. Please contact us at 770-425-6060 to schedule a Georgia Family Law Strategy Session to discover more about these documents and whether they are appropriate for you and your spouse or spouse-to-be.

SOURCE FOR POST: Could a Postnuptial Agreement Save Your Marriage?, by Casey Bond in GoBankingRates.com