November 21, 2013

Estate Planning: Just Married

Married couples have more built-in protections than unmarried couples. For example, provided both are U.S. citizens, they can leave each other at death (or transfer to each other while alive) an unlimited amount of property without worrying about estate or gift taxes. And, if a couple has neither children nor wills, the surviving spouse can automatically inherit all of a…

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November 20, 2013

Pro Bono: The Lawyer’s "Tithe"

I recently attended a mandatory event for newly licensed Arkansas attorneys. The event was built around professionalism—how to show it, how not to show it, and why it matters. Assuming that the amount of time you spend on something is related to its importance, the Arkansas Bar Association is clearly concerned about pro bono work and is making it a…

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November 19, 2013

Estate Planning: In a Relationship

A growing number of unmarried couples in same-sex or heterosexual relationships are signing cohabitation agreements.  These cohabitation agreements cover how assets will be divided if they break up and sometimes include promises to provide for each other through an estate plan. The problem is most states do not have laws explicitly recognizing such agreements—meaning blood relatives could challenge the survivor’s…

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November 18, 2013

Could "date night" help solve Arkansas's divorce rate?

One of the most difficult issues for legislators and judges—and pretty much anyone who has to think about family law—is the role of the State in overseeing the family. Where does the State’s interest end in promoting the family? What is the definition of marriage? Does the State have any interest in promoting traditional marriage? These are not easy questions….

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November 16, 2013

Estate Planning: Single & Employed

This is a continuation of the previous article on estate planning and how most people’s biggest concern should not be the estate tax, also known as the “death tax.” Most people believe estate plans are for those who have a large amount of wealth and forget the simple things. These are simple documents we all should have, even when we…

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November 14, 2013

Estate Planning: Young & Broke

To hear estate planners and “death tax” opponents tell it, a crisis looms. Currently, the estate tax exemptions are at a little over five million dollars ($5,000,000.00) for one person and double that for a couple. We all know there are not that many people in Arkansas that need to worry about the death tax. Meanwhile, the tax focus obscures…

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November 13, 2013

Arkansas Divorce Law: Three Options

Many people think that there is only one solution to a marriage that just won’t work: permanently end it. And while that may be the most common solution (and is often the right one, depending on the circumstances), Arkansas family law gives married people more options. Marriage dissolution (what we usually think of as “divorce”) is, after all, a creature…

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November 12, 2013

Have a Trust? Will it Work at Death?

Everyone knows that Trusts are part of estate planning. Most people go to their attorney after the documents are prepared and “execute,” the trust and other documents, including the durable power of attorney, the health care power of attorney, and a pour-over will. After that, they are done, right? A trust only controls the assets titled in its name. You…

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November 11, 2013

Family Law for Veterans

I have several close friends who have served in the military, and I always love to hear their stories when we get together. Unfortunately, however, I typically need a translator because the military has an acronym for everything. It’s not a job, it’s an “MOS.” It’s not exercise, it’s “PT.” And even if it sounds normal, it’s different for the…

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November 8, 2013

Keeping the Family Business in the Family

If you own and operate a business, you need to have a plan for the future of the business in the event you become unwilling or unable to manage it yourself. The problem with most business owners is they are so busy running their business they do not take the time to plan for the future success of the business….

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