Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Richmond Legal Blog

5 reasons debt can be good, but can still lead to bankruptcy

For five years, you tried to avoid all business debt. You had some cash on hand to start the company. You started small and tried to scale things up as you went. You ignored bank loans. You didn't even want to ask investors for money. If all of the money was your own, you stayed in full control.

Moreover, you wanted to avoid a financial disaster that could ruin your young company. You had always heard that debt was a negative, something to avoid at all costs.

Making a parenting plan work during the school year

When two parents in Virginia divorce, they will need to develop a parenting plan. This plan will address child custody and visitation. It is important that the child is able to form a strong bond with each parent. Divorce can be difficult for a child, so if the child's parents reach an agreement on how to share time with the child, it can provide the child with some much-needed stability.

However, a parenting plan should not be so complicated that it makes the child's transition from one household to the other unnecessarily difficult. Having the child spend blocks of time with each parent may be an option. Also, transitions between households should be organized. It is important that the child has the appropriate school supplies, clothing and other items they'll need while in each parent's care.

Anticipate the unexpected through estate planning

Many people in Richmond have had the foresight to see that they have assets they want to pass down to loved ones through an inheritance. Therefore, they may have created what they believed to be a well-rounded estate plan. They may even have executed a trust in order to see that their heirs will not have to deal with the time-consuming and costly probate process. However, life continues to go on even after we die. Our heirs could experience a divorce, an untimely death, a lawsuit, bankruptcy or an incapacitating injury or illness that could affect where their inheritance ultimately ends up.

Therefore, the type of trust chosen is important. One trust worth considering is a "reservoir trust." In this type of trust, the heirs can only use their inheritance for certain things. For example, in a reservoir trust the grantor can state the assets are to be used to pay for college. In this way, you can ensure that your heirs use their inheritance in a way you believe is valuable, and the trust assets are protected from the unexpected.

What types of business bankruptcies are available to Virginians?

Sometimes even the best laid plans fall through, and a business in Virginia decides it is in its best interests to file for bankruptcy. There are three kinds of bankruptcies applicable to businesses: Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13. What type of bankruptcy is appropriate depends on how the business is formed.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often chosen when a business believes that restructuring the business is not possible or if the business lacks any substantial assets. It is also known as a liquidation bankruptcy. The court will appoint a trustee who will take back the business's assets to pay back the business's creditors. Once this happens, if the business is a sole proprietorship, its debts are then discharged. If the business is a partnership or a corporation, then its debts cannot be extinguished through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In either case, if a business files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it essentially means that the business is closed for good. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an option for sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations.

Avoid these behaviors in a high-asset divorce

When a wealthy couple in Virginia decides to divorce, there is so much at stake. The couple may have spent years or even decades amassing a substantial amount of financial wealth. They may own several pieces of real estate, they both may have a lot of funds held in retirement plans, they may have valuable stocks and investments and more. When it comes to divorce, even if both partners are on the same page in that they want to end their marriage, rancor can still be present and disagreements can occur throughout the divorce process. However, there are some behaviors a spouse should avoid doing, especially in a high-asset divorce.

First of all, try to keep a cool head. Divorce can be frustrating at times. However, arguing with your ex can only exasperate matters. Moreover, for parents, arguing in front of the children can harm the child. Also, if there are temporary custody or visitation arrangements, make sure to follow them to the tee.

These life changes may affect your estate plan

Creating an estate plan is a complex process, using many interdependent documents to create protections and benefits that align with your wishes for your property and your beneficiaries. In most cases, an estate plan works in concert with a will, which requires regular review and possible amendment to account for numerous potential complications.

If the various pieces of an estate plan and last will are not properly working together, then many important protections may not function properly when it comes time to execute the will and move the estate plan forward. Often, these complications occur because of life changes experienced by the creator of the plan or the named beneficiaries. In addition, estate plans require regular review every several years to account for constantly changing states and federal laws affecting planning and taxes.

Business law attorneys provide valuable assistance to Virginians

People in Virginia have a strong work ethic, and for many this means building a successful business from the ground up. Throughout all the ups and downs of running a business, it is imperative that business owners have the help of an attorney every step of the way. This is to ensure the business stays on the right side of the law, and the business owner's interests are protected.

At Coates & Deavenport, we serve businesses big and small. Businesses have varying legal needs, includin: business formation, mergers,selling a business and dissolving a business. Our experienced business attorneys are prepared to handle these and other legal needs a business may have.

After 40 years, Virginia man's rape conviction vacated

A man who had been convicted of rape 40 years ago has had his conviction vacated. According to the Virginia Supreme Court, due to new evidence presented to them, they deemed it impossible that a jury would have determined the man committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

In 1978 the man, who was 18-years-old at the time, pleaded guilty to rape. While he maintained he was innocent, he was advised to take the guilty plea to avoid being sent to prison. At the time the alleged incident occurred, DNA testing was not available.

Zero tolerance laws apply to teenagers accused of drunk driving

Teenagers are still maturing and may not always make the best decisions. Some teenagers in may experiment with alcohol. They may do so out of peer pressure, or they may simply be curious about its taste and effects. There are laws regarding minors and alcohol that, if violated, could lead to serious consequences.  These consequences can follow them for the rest of their lives - affecting college admissions, sports, careers, etc.

Teenagers in Richmond may already know that if they are not 21-years-old, they cannot lawfully buy, possess or drink alcohol. However, they may not understand the scope of penalties they could face, if they are caught driving after having consumed alcohol.

Can one keep separate property from becoming marital property?

Some couples in Richmond who have significant wealth going into a marriage will execute a prenuptial agreement to protect their separate financial interests in the event of a divorce. However, some high-asset couples may have thought a prenup was unromantic or unnecessary, and did not execute one before walking down the aisle. While everyone thinks their marriage will last "until death do us part," the fact of the matter is that many marriages will end well before that. Even in the absence of a prenup, there are steps couples can take to protect their financial interests should they divorce.

When it comes to bank accounts, some couples each maintain their own separate account throughout the course of their marriage. On the other hand, some couples want to combine their finances in a joint account while married. But, if they intend to keep their separate assets separate one partner should not be added to an already existing bank account owned by the other partner. Instead, a whole new joint bank account can be opened.

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