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News & Info

The Modern Trend of Multigenerational Homes

Jun 27 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

In modernity there is a growing trend in the real estate market that is hard to deny. American families have become interested in purchasing multigenerational homes. These homes accommodate aging parents, grown children, and other sorts of extended family all under one roof.  Why are these types of homes booming and what purpose do they serve?

Multigenerational homes are seen as ideal for numerous reasons.  First, people are trying to cut back on spending.  Based on the 2008 recession and the increasing number of young people with immense student loan debt, people are trying to live within their means. Second, people at a crossroads in their life are looking for stability.  There are adults looking to return to their parents’ home after a messy divorce and people who are having trouble finding a job to support their independent lifestyle.  Third, there are tens of thousands of baby boomers retiring, and living longer lives than the previous generation.  And finally, many grandparents are looking to be closer to their children and grandchildren in their retirement.   These are just a few reasons why multigenerational homes are growing in popularity.  But do these reasons add up to an ideal situation where three or four generations can comfortably live under one roof?

 

The Detrimental Impact of Banning Housing to Ex-Offenders

Jun 24 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Federal officials recently announced guidelines to ensure that landlords don’t enforce a blanket ban against people with criminal records from rental housing.

Research studies show that obtaining housing reduces the likelihood of repeat offenses, which is a major reason federal officials are targeting these blanket bans. Most landlords who oppose renting to ex-convicts assume that they pose a higher risk to the other tenants or their property; there is assumption that they will get in trouble with the law, again, or that they are more likely to fail to pay rent.

 

Landlord Rights: When Can They Enter Your Apartment?

Jun 20 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

As a tenant, it is important to feel that you have established a “home” in your apartment whether you live with family, friends or by yourself.  A large part of feeling at home is the sense of privacy that comes with having your own space.  Privacy, most importantly, means that people are not barging into your space unannounced and without permission—especially your landlord.

Your Digital Estate Plan: How to Manage Your Future Online Footprint

Jun 20 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

In this day and age, people’s assets are not strictly limited to real and personal property.  Modernity has posed the issue of assets that cannot be defined by traditional property laws.  These assets exist in an online server, but still have the ability to reveal the intimate thoughts and pictorial representations of a single person’s life.  What are these law-defying assets?  Digital assets.

What is a Will Contest?

Jun 20 2016
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Written by Jason Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

The potential for a Will contest is one of the most dreaded parts of the inheritance process.  A Will contest is a lawsuit that challenges the validity of a Last Will and Testament, and it can be filed before or after the Will is admitted to probate. Will contests are commonly known to the public in cases which involve celebrity figures, such as the case of the late Anna Nicole Smith and her elderly Texas millionaire husband, Howard Marshall.  However, each state has standards to determine whether a Will is valid or not in the probate process.  It is important to know these standards as an executor, testator and beneficiary to a Will.

Changing Permanent Residence: State Tax Auditors Suspicious of Retirees

Jun 20 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Living in the Northeast is considered to some a blessing and a curse.  We are fortunate enough to experience all four seasons, yet sometimes the burden of maintaining a home in the winter months is too large.  The common trend for retirees is to have another residence in a warmer, southern state to reside for the cold, winter months.  However, when retirees begin to claim this second state as their permanent residence, state tax auditors become suspicious of these claims.

Appointing a Guardian for Minor Children

Jun 20 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Having children under 18 is a busy time for parents.  Taking care of the day-to-day can sometimes be overwhelming in itself.  However, it is important not to forget that a part of caring for your children is making sure that your children’s future interests are protected.  A major component of your children’s future care is ensuring that they will be adequately cared for in the event of you or your partner’s death.  

Parents can appoint a guardian—a substitute caretaker—of their minor children in a Will.  This concern over the future care of minor children is the number one reason parents want and need to execute a Will.  Without a Will, if both parents pass away the court has the authority to appoint a guardian.  If only one parent passes away, custody of a child automatically passes to the surviving parent.  Yet, the future care of your children is too big a choice to leave that up to uncertainty.  Naming a guardian in a Will can be scary, knowing there is the potential that you may not be around for the entirety of your minor child’s life.  However, as the natural guardian of your children, you have a personal right of custody until your children reach the age of majority.  As long as a minor child is under 18 years old, the appointed guardian in your Will has the same expected duties of a natural guardian.

Leaving Personal Property in Your Will: How to Avoid Future Family Feuds

Jun 20 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Upon a person’s death, family members have expectations regarding the possessions they hope to inherit.  These expectations range from mom’s favorite cooking apron to dad’s $80,000 classic car.  Some of the items beneficiaries argue over have sentimental value.  However, more often then not, the major dispute is over money.  Therefore, it is important to be proactive in considering how you can keep your family from feuding over your Will in the future.  

If you want to ensure that your family stays out of court when your Will goes into effect, it is important to know that there are several options.  First and foremost, if you want your oldest daughter to get the beautiful Omega watch she has been admiring for ten years, your first option is to make a lifetime gift, give your daughter possession of the watch, and document that the watch was a gift.  However, if you do not want to part with the watch during your lifetime, your second option is to include the watch in your Will.  Some Wills contain a separate page titled “gifts” that you do not have to fill out during the signing, but rather when you feel the time is right.  This list includes items that can be directed to particular recipients.

What is a Fiduciary?

Jun 20 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Sometimes in law, the legalese is tough to understand.  Yet, some legal terms do not have simpler synonyms. When there is a necessity to deal with the law, it is very important to understand the meaning of the term you are working with.  One of these seemingly complex, but in fact easy, legal terms is fiduciary.  Derived from the Latin fiducia, meaning “trust,” a fiduciary is a person who has the power, responsibility and obligation to act on behalf of another.  A fiduciary can be a person or an institution.  Some common fiduciaries include business advisers, bankers, stockbrokers, accountants, financial advisors, mortgage brokers, real estate agents and attorneys.  These individuals are hired to advise and guide you in your best interests, setting aside their own personal motives and goals.

Has the Volume of Estate Litigation Increased?

Jan 25 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

The media today is plastered with images and news stories of disputes over a late celebrity’s estate.  There are innumerable counts of displeased beneficiaries vying for a larger inheritance, and then the dispute is brought to court. Can we accredit the media’s focus on these estate disputes as the sole reason for its apparent rise in litigation? Or are there other contributing factors to the rise in estate litigation? 

The answer cannot be pinpointed to a single factor.  In addition to a media focus on estate litigation, consider the increase in life span due to advances in medicine. Unfortunately, physical longevity does not directly correlate to a keen mind.  The aging population is prone to dementia and Alzheimer’s, which raises a capacity issue in altering an estate plan.  Dementia and Alzheimer’s may disqualify the principal of an estate plan to be of sound mind or memory, thus making it difficult to make or change important estate plans when time is of the essence.