Surprise Legal Issues Blog

How Burt Reynolds used trust planning to perfect his estate plan

Burt Reynolds did not leave anything to his 30-year-old son in his will, but that doesn't mean his son won't receive an inheritance as a result of the Hollywood star's death. It appears that Reynolds may have left his son an inheritance by way of a strategically-planned trust.

Reynolds, who died in September 2018, named his niece to handle his estate affairs and put nearly all of his personal assets under the ownership of a trust. Since trusts are confidential, we can't know the exact terms of the trust, who will benefit from it or the total value of the assets it contains. Nevertheless, sources estimate that the actor's assets could be worth approximately $5 million.

My ex won't let me have the kids this Christmas: What can I do?

One source of post-divorce stress for many parents can involve their conflicting views about how to share their children on special occasions, like Christmas, Easter, birthdays and other special times of the year. If your spouse doesn't want you to have the kids this Christmas, the question of what you can do about it can only be answered in the context of your parenting plan and child custody agreement.

What kind of holiday sharing arrangements have you included in your parenting plan?

What legally constitutes slander?

From our formative years in grade school to the present day, the thought of somebody talking about you behind your back is one of the most potent threats to one's confidence and sense of self. Of course, while childish gossip may be harmless, it can be legitimately detrimental when adults engage in such behavior. When the talk in question is unquestionably untrue and spreads with the intention to hurt another, it can be illegal as well.

In such cases, you may wonder what can legally constitute slander. There are a few factors that generally establish the guidelines defining slander as a legal infraction. Consider the following factors if you suspect that you have been a victim of slander at the hands of an ill-meaning entity or individual: 

Should I hire an attorney for my surrogacy arrangements?

The modern world comes with numerous advantages -- such as the ability to hire someone to carry your baby for you. Surrogacy is the use of reproductive technology to artificially inseminate a woman or to implant an embryo in a surrogate mother, who will allow the baby to gestate in her womb.

Of course, this method of conceiving a baby is risky in various respects. Therefore, it's important to have the assistance of an attorney.

2 things to remember about witnesses when signing a will

If you've finally completed the task of drafting your last will and testament, congratulations. Countless people forego this important life responsibility, and they leave their relatives facing serious challenges after they're gone. Now that you've appropriately and lawfully drafted your will, however, it's time to sign or "execute" the document -- which means that you need to gather your witnesses.

Here are two things to consider regarding witnesses while signing your will:

2 potential divorce problems and how to avoid them

American spouses don't always stay in their marriages until "happily ever after." If you're reading this article, that may be true for you and you're considering getting a divorce. However, if you don't plan for your divorce the right way, you could encounter problems – which is one of the reasons why having an experienced legal counselor by your side throughout the process is immeasurably valuable.

Here are two potential divorce problems that a family law attorney – through wise advice and counsel – may be able to help you bypass:

Why has there been an increase in divorces after the age of 50?

Everyone is talking about the rise in divorce after the age of 50 as if it were a strange phenomenon. However, if you set aside the fact that the divorce process can be different because older spouses have more assets to divvy up, the reasons for an older couple's divorce tend to be the same as for their younger counterparts. The top divorce reasons for younger spouses -- like infidelity, substance abuse, "growing apart" or "not being in love anymore" -- are also the top reasons for older spouses.

Here are a few other factors that could inspire an older couple who has been together for decades to finally end their marital union:

Who should I select as the executor of my estate?

When an Arizona resident needs to select an appropriate executor for their estates, they need to think about a lot of different factors to select the best candidate. Ultimately, they should rely less on family and friendship ties and more on the following question: "Who's the most financially responsible, the most trustworthy, the most emotionally mature and the most capable to serve as my executor?"

When trying to answer this question, consider the following:

Estate planning when a beneficiary struggles with addiction

Parents want the best for their children. The entire point of a will and trust is to provide for children when their parents die. However, parents may naturally worry when a child who should be a beneficiary struggles with drug or alcohol addiction. The parent may fear the child will use the sudden influx of funds to feed her or his addiction, and something that should have been a great gift suddenly puts the child in severe danger. 

Parents should create estate plans early in life. When children become adults, they may fall down dark paths. Fortunately, there are ways for parents to provide for their children with peace of mind knowing they will not waste their windfall. 

When do judges invalidate prenuptial agreements?

If you're reading this article you probably fall into one of two categories: You signed a prenuptial agreement before marriage and your spouse is challenging it during your divorce, or you want to challenge the document because it's unfair or invalid. If you want to know whether the prenuptial agreement at issue will hold up in court, look at the following reasons why courts commonly invalidate prenuptials:

It was signed just before your wedding date

  • MCBA | Maricopa County Bar Association
  • State Bar of Arizona
  • ABA | American bar Association | Defending Liberty Pursuing Justice
  • Oregon State bar
  • NACBA | National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • NACA | National Association of Consumer Advocates
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