Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Richmond Legal Blog

Why might one include a special needs trust in their estate plan?

Raising a special needs child is an act of love, and many parents in Virginia who find themselves in such a situation want to do all they can to make sure their special needs child lives life to its fullest. However, parents of special needs children may be concerned about how their child will be cared for once the child is grown and the parents are no longer able or alive to care for the child. One way to address this scenario is through proper estate planning, and for many this includes the execution of a special needs trust.

Many parents are relying on government benefits to pay for their adult special needs child's care. However, to qualify for Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits, a person's income and assets cannot go beyond a certain threshold. However, a special needs trust can provide a person with the funds needed to pay for medical care, entertainment, travel and other expenses that enhance that person's quality of life, while still allowing that person to remain eligible for government benefits.

Spring is a good time to plan ahead for summer custody schedules

Although it is still spring here in Virginia, it is not too early for divorced parents to address their summer parenting plans. Because children generally do not have school in the summer, this means that their summertime child custody and visitation schedule may look different from that they have in the school year.

For example, a child may spend more overnights with the noncustodial parent in the summer than they do in the school year. This may especially be true if the child's parents live far away from one another, making frequent school year overnights unfeasible. In addition, both parents may wish to take the child out-of-state for a vacation during the summer. And, there are summer holidays such as Memorial Day, The 4th of July and Labor Day to contend with.

How can Chapter 11 bankruptcy benefit Virginia businesses?

Sometimes a business in Virginia falls on hard financial times. Even if a business slashes its budget it could find that it simply isn't making enough of a profit to meet all its liabilities. When this happens, the business may want to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Any type of business, whether it is a corporation, a sole proprietorship or other type of business entity can pursue a Chapter 11 filing.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a process in which the business is reorganized in a way that allows it to pay back its debts while continuing to operate. In general, Chapter 11 is useful for businesses whose value is greater than its liabilities, and thus it would lose goodwill if it were to be liquidated. In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the business is overseen by a trustee.

Amazon CEO and wife reach settlement in their high-asset divorce

Amazon has become a household name and most people in Virginia have either ordered something from the online retail giant at some point in time or at least know someone who has. Therefore, they may be interested to hear of the outcome of the divorce of Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos and what it means for the future of Amazon.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of the online retailer Amazon, has recently reached an agreement in his divorce from his estranged wife, MacKenzie Bezos. Reports state that Mrs. Bezos will retain 25 percent of the couples' stock in Amazon, giving her a four percent interest in the company overall, an amount worth approximately $35 billion. Mr. Bezos will retain voting control over Mrs. Bezos' shares in Amazon as well as the shares he retains himself. If Mrs. Bezos wishes to sell her shares in Amazon, the party purchasing the shares will have to enter into a contract with Mr. Bezos in which Mr. Bezos retains voting rights over those shares. Mr. Bezos will also keep the couple's interests in Blue Origin and the Washington Post.

Detecting drugged driving remains a problem

While a person in Virginia may lawfully be prescribed medical marijuana for certain conditions, that doesn't mean that the use of the drug couldn't land them in legal hot water. Specifically, not unlike alcohol, police who suspect a motorist is driving while high on marijuana may issue the motorist a citation for driving while intoxicated. This is due to the belief that certain drugs can impair a motorist's ability to safely operate an automobile.

There is a catch with trying to arrest someone for drugged driving, however. If a person is suspected of drunk driving, police can perform a breath test to measure the motorist's blood alcohol concentration. If the motorist's BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, that motorist may be deemed drunk per se and will receive a DUI.

Prenup at issue in Dixie Chicks singer's high asset divorce

Virginia residents may be fans of the country music band, the Dixie Chicks and the band's lead singer, Natalie Maines. In 2017 Maines filed for divorce from her husband on grounds of irreconcilable differences. The couple have two teenage sons. Maines' husband is requesting over $16,000 per month in child support and over $44,000 per month in spousal support from Maines. He is also requesting that Maines be responsible for the $350,000 he has spent in attorney fees.

Maines' husband claims that Maines was the primary income-earner in their family while they were married. He also claims she currently has a net worth of $50 million and continues to earn $2 million each year. He stated in his complaint that he only earns on average $150,000 annually and has accumulated $200,000 in liabilities to support himself and their sons since the couple's separation. He also claims that he turned down many job opportunities while married to Maines to be the primary caregiver in their home while Maines cultivated her singing career.

Prevent challenges from heirs with a "no-contest" clause

A will is the cornerstone of a comprehensive estate plan and allows an individual to designate who inherits certain assets and personal belongings. However, in some cases, heirs may challenge the validity of a will—leading to costly legal battles and irreparable family rifts. Thankfully, when drafting a will, there are steps that you can take to protect your wishes and guard against possible future legal actions.  

By including specific language known as a no-contest clause, you can reduce the risk of your will being contested.

Have you and your parents planned for long-term care needs?

According to the U.S. government’s Administration on Aging, there is a 70 percent likelihood that individuals age 65 and older will need some sort of long-term care. Despite this staggering statistic, many people fail to plan for long-term care needs.

Often, people assume that Medicare or a health care plan will provide the coverage they need to cover in-home or nursing home care costs. The truth is, Medicare will not cover these expenses and you may find that you not have insurance coverage for nursing home care or in-home skilled nursing services. One way to help cover these costs, is to qualify for Medicaid.

Don't let divorce destroy your business

When divorce is imminent, you may suddenly look at your life very differently. Everything that you have is something you could potentially lose, from your home to your children. For business owners, divorce presents additional challenges and worries.

Having a clear understanding of your priorities and a strong legal strategy can help you protect your rights and business as you work to negotiate a beneficial divorce settlement.

What is legal versus physical custody in Virginia?

Parents in Virginia who were very much in love when their child was born may find that as time marches on, while their love for their child grows, the relationship they have with one another has become untenable and they are best off divorcing. When this happens a child custody and parenting plan will need to be established. It is important that parents in Virginia who find themselves in such situations understand their child custody options, so they can make decisions that are in their child's best interests.

First there is legal custody. Legal custody is the authority a parent has to make major life decisions regarding the child, regardless of with which parent the child is living with. Such decisions may include where the child will go to school, what doctors the child will see and what religion the child will practice. Legal custody is most often joint, allowing each parent to share in these responsibilities. However, there may be time when one parent is awarded sole legal custody.

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