Tips to Make the New Year Easier on Your Newly Divorced Family

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Family Law on Tuesday January 5, 2021.

The current pandemic has made it very difficult on couples. The financial strain coupled with enforced quarantine that throws couples together without an outlet has led to a large increase in divorces across the country. If you have recently been through a divorce, you may be looking forward to a new year without your spouse. When you and your former spouse have children together, it is difficult to negotiate your way through the divorce landscape. Here are some ways to make the New Year easier on your family. 

Keep Traditions in Place

As much as possible, when you have children, you will want to keep your traditions for the holiday season. If you and your spouse celebrate New Year’s Eve with your children, with party favors and hats, you need to continue to do that if possible. If you have traditions for other holidays, why not keep those family traditions as well?

Create New Memories

What if you aren’t able to keep your traditions the same during the New Year? Why not start new traditions, then? For example, if you won’t be celebrating New Year’s with your children this year on the day, why not have a mini New Year’s party when you do have them? You might also want to try cooking with your family, decorating cakes and cookies, or even creating art pieces. 

Make It Fun and Talk It Out

Whatever holiday you are celebrating, you need to keep the atmosphere fun and light. You don’t want your family to bear the brunt of you and your spouse’s issues. If possible, you might want to have a conversation with your ex-spouse ahead of time. How do they want the holiday to go? Do they have concerns about celebrating the day? If you have a chance, you’ll want to air out issues when the kids aren’t around. 

Whether you particularly like your former spouse or not isn’t important anymore. If you have children, your spouse will be in your life at least until your children are grown. You will want to cooperate with him or her for the sake of your family. It can be difficult, but in the long run it will be worth it. 

Tips for Minimizing Estate Taxes Your Family May Be Responsible For

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Tuesday January 5, 2021.

Many people worry about what will happen to their money when they pass away. They have worked hard all of their lives, and they want their families to benefit from their saving and accumulated wealth. The last thing hard-working Americans want is for the government to take the money they have earned away from their family members through estate taxes. If you are worried about the impact of estate taxes on your property, here are some tips to make your family’s tax burden smaller. 

What Is An Estate Tax?

An estate tax is something your estate (what remains of your money or physical property after you die) must pay. Usually, your estate is your home, savings, stocks, and other assets you might have. Your estate must pay a tax after you pass on, and in some cases, it can be very steep. If you aren’t prepared, an estate tax can take up to 40% of the estate that you have left your relatives, which is shocking for many people. If you don’t want to give your money to the government, here are some ways to reduce your estate tax liability. 

How to Reduce Your Tax Liability

First, you need to know that the ceiling of taxable liability that you can claim for your estate is now one million dollars, rather than the five million ceiling pre-2012. While this may sound like a lot of money, it shrinks perceptibly when you figure in your retirement accounts and your home. 

The first thing you need to do to reduce your liability is to be sure you take all of your exemptions that you can for you and your spouse. You are allowed to claim all of the estate when your spouse dies with no liability. Next, if you have assets remaining, you can reduce your tax liability by giving the assets to family, or by putting them in a trust. Both are good ways to reduce your liability. You may also want to include in your estate tax plan purchasing life insurance to cover estate tax costs, so that your family isn’t left to pay tax debt. If you have questions about your estate, and estate taxes, you should consult an estate attorney.