Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.

- Denis Waitley

Family Law and Estate Planning Blog

Catholic issues within estate planning

The recent 10-day visit by the Pope Francis attracted large crowds and television viewers who were mesmerized by his presence and his message. Nearly every facet of his visit was a tribute to his idea of Catholic values, including his interaction with inmates and the disabled. There are approximately 70 million Catholics residing in the […]

Use of mediation to handle probate and estate disputes

It has become increasingly common for family members to contest their inheritances. Such probate and estate disputes can alienate family members against each other, and cause irreparable harm to relationships among beneficiaries. An effective remedy is mediation, which is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to reach a settlement between parties. The principal role […]

A guardian ad litem may be called upon to represent best interests of children in divorce

When children are involved in a divorce or separation, the best interests of the children should be of paramount importance in determining such issues as custody, child support and visitation agreements. And a court may appoint an attorney as a guardian ad litem, whose function is to represent the best interests of the children during […]

In tax season, married same-sex couples must not overlook key estate planning choices

The tax filing deadline of April 15 has come and gone, a fact that serves as a reminder that same-sex couples should not neglect some estate-related tax matters. Among the most important benefits that same-sex couples will be able to realize under federal law is the spousal exemption from estate taxes. However, it is also […]

The process of estate administration

Estate administration concerns the collection and management of the assets of the decedent. It also involves payment of the decedent’s debts and distribution of assets to beneficiaries. The process of estate administration has been facilitated by the adoption of the Uniform Probate Code (UPC) by about 20 states. Probate is a legal process that involves […]

Parenting agreements in child custody cases

Most child custody cases can be resolved prior to going to trial. Negotiations between the parents and their attorneys or mediation, which is a form of alternate dispute resolution, can result in a parenting agreement, which is a written agreement outlining the couple’s decisions concerning all issues relevant to child custody and visitation. It is […]

The treatment of inheritance in divorce

During a divorce, issues often arise as to how assets are to be distributed. Specifically, you may have some concerns about how your or your spouse’s inheritance will be treated in divorce proceedings if the inheritance was acquired while you were still married. Upon your inheritance of assets acquired during marriage, the treatment of those […]

There are ways to provide for a pet through proper estate planning

One of the most important issues an individual faces during his or her estate planning is the question of how that person’s loved ones will be cared for after the will writer dies, as well as what will happen to that person’s assets. Usually “loved ones” means children or other close relatives or friends, but […]

A no-contest clause can help prevent a court challenge to a will or trust

An individual who is planning for their estate always wants to make sure that their will or trust will be valid in the courts and, in particular, that those estate-planning vehicles are not successfully challenged. The course of action that many people opt to take in order to avoid the latter outcome is to add […]

On Healthcare Decisions Day, consider creating an advance directive

April 16 marks the seventh annual Healthcare Decisions Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia. On that day, related events will raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions concerning end-of-life care and for medical issues in circumstances when patients are not able to speak for themselves. Accordingly, the occasion also encourages […]