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East Aurora New York Legal Blog

Reevaluating one's estate plan is a critical part of divorce

When people are getting divorced from their significant other in New York, their thoughts are often immediately consumed with decisions regarding their assets, child custody and alimony requirements. However, many people overlook the importance of reevaluating their estate plan to verify that it is still relevant despite the changes in their marital status and family relationship. 

If people have children, they should first look at the guardianship plans they have previously created for their children. Do the people they have named as caretakers still have a relationship with the children that will make this transition healthy and effective? If they did not have any sort of estate plan with their soon-to-be ex, it is critical that they begin developing one right away. Doing so will put them in a better position to have a comfortable living situation when their retirement years roll around. 

Do you want to lessen the likelihood of a will contest?

Over the years, you may have witnessed your family fight over various situations. In particular, you may have seen your loved ones bicker over a deceased loved one's estate and may even have seen litigation result. Now that you are ready to create your own estate plan, you may worry about your estate winding up at the center of a family fight.

You are already taking a beneficial step to lessen that likelihood by creating an estate plan in the first place. Leaving no instruction often opens estates up for conflict, so getting your wishes organized and down on paper could prove useful in avoiding contention. However, you may also want to consider going one step further with your plans.

What are the penalties for chemical test refusal in New York?

Despite popular belief, it is not wise or even legal to refuse a chemical test in New York. If a police offer stopped you for drinking and driving in the greater New York area, and if you refused to submit to a breath test, blood test, field sobriety test or all three, the state may charge you with a misdemeanor. However, the consequences of your actions all depend on the number of similar prior offenses for which the state has found you guilty in the past five to 10 years. 

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, your first chemical test refusal may result in a $500 civil fine and license revocation for at least one year. If the state finds you guilty of a second offense within the span of five years, the fine increases to $750. It may revoke your license for one year to 18 months, or until you are 21, if you are not yet of legal drinking age. If you possess a commercial driving license, the state will revoke your CDL for good if it finds you guilty of chemical test refusal for a second time.

Helping you decide what to keep in a divorce

Property division is complicated, and the complexity of New York law is not entirely to blame. Divorce is an emotional time, and those feelings would typically cloud your decision-making during negotiations. You would probably have one impulse telling you to try and keep everything and another urging you to leave it all behind.

At Hall, Ricketts, Schuller & Gurbacki, P.C., we understand that our clients have more on their minds than a simple question of who gets what. That is why we work with them to help them understand what New York's equitable distribution laws mean over the long term.

What treatments are available for alcohol abuse?

Receiving drunk driving charges in New York is a very serious offense. However, if you’ve recently been charged with a DWI your problems may extend beyond the legal. For people with alcohol abuse problems, nearly every facet of their lives can be affected, from relationships with friends and family to income potential. If you feel that you require treatment for alcohol abuse, WebMD explains the following options.


How to discuss the topic of a will with a parent

A last will and testament can do a lot to make the inheritance process easier, but it is not a guarantee since some wills are still contested in a New York court. Sometimes beneficiaries feel that have been slighted in the will, either because they did not receive what they thought they deserved or they were excluded from the will completely. If you feel you should discuss the matter of a will with a parent, there are certain things to keep in mind.

According to Money Crashers, it is sound advice to talk to siblings about a will first. You want to do this because if you speak to your parent or parents alone, you might appear to be trying to get something for yourself at the exclusion of your siblings. Including brothers or sisters in the process can help build trust or at least decrease the risk of familial disharmony. You can also gain the perspective of your siblings. They may possess insight on how your parents feel about the subject that you do not possess.

It is not always best to stay married for the children

If you feel alone and unhappy in your marriage, chances are your spouse is feeling similar emotions. You may have reached a stage where you are unable to communicate effectively, or you have drifted apart. If the idea of breaking away and starting a new life is something you entertain more frequently, you may even be investigating the laws regarding divorce in New York.

Whatever the reasons for your unhappy marriage, before you take steps to end it, you have an important factor to consider: the children. There is no question that the breakup of a family can be difficult and disruptive for children, so you want to make sure your decision takes every possibility into consideration.

What is the Child Support Standards Chart?

If you are a parent who is going through a divorce or otherwise going through the process of getting child support set up, it can help to get an idea of how much you will pay or be paid. The Child Support Standards Chart comes from the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and Child Support and is used to help you get an idea of how much child support will be ordered. The chart gives a rough estimate and estimates on the chart are all for lower end figures in a range.

The chart is set up to allow you to look up an estimated amount of support based on the number of children you have and the amount of your income. It provides the obligation amount annually. It also shows you the basic percentage of income that is generally used to help determine child support amounts.

What are the different drug and alcohol moving violations?

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will likely get you pulled over in the state of New York. The state has multiple laws pertaining to driving under the influence. It is a good idea to understand them because many DUI convictions are due to a person being unaware of the laws.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a common issue is refusing to take a chemical test. When you are pulled over, you may be asked to breath into a device to check the level of alcohol in your system. If you refuse, it is violation of the law and you may face penalties and even get arrested. This also include refusing urine or blood testing.

What should be included in a will?

What you include in your will is really based on your personal situation. For example, if you are married, then the assumption is that everything you own jointly will go to your spouse. Also, the custody of your children will go to your spouse. However, if you are single, then things could be more complex. US News and World Report explains that there are certain basic considerations to make regardless of the size of your estate or your specific personal situation when writing a will.

First, you need to provide for your children. If you die, the children will go to the other parent unless there are circumstances that make that impossible. You want to plan for that type of situation. Make it clear who you want to have custody of your children if the other parent cannot take them.

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