Category: Family Law

Estate Planning for Extended Families

The Complexity of Planning for Blended Families

Each blended family represents a unique act of loving combination and set of complex issues, finances and emotions. Estate planning for blended families takes on this complexity and uniqueness.

In this brief video we describe some of the issues and complexities to be considered:

As the video describes every blended family’s uniqueness and circumstances require careful and thoughtful planning. At the outset, any conflicts of interest must be examined and resolved to determine if more lawyers are required to represent individual family members.

Before proceeding with any planning exercise caution and make sure you are working appropriate specialists. For more information or to learn more about planning for blended families, contact our office at 303-688-3535.

covid-19 impact on family law

The Impact of COVID-19 on Family Law

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has radically altered how the world works, at least for the near term. Entire cities are rightly being shuttered as measures are taken to slow the spread of this dangerous disease. Workers are being furloughed or laid off, there are mounting unemployment claims, and there is an air of uncertainty among all of it. 

We’re seeing similar developments within the Colorado court system. While each jurisdiction is responsible for communicating their individual plans for holding court and processing cases as usual, the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are also suspending some operations until the Coronavirus pandemic is brought under control and judicial workers can safely return to work. 

This is obviously impacting family law cases. Those who are in the process of filing for divorce or resolving child custody disputes are finding themselves hamstrung by the Coronavirus situation. Not every judicial jurisdiction in Colorado has the same stance on this, however. To obtain information about COVID-19 announcements in your county, we suggest visiting the Colorado Judicial Branch’s web page and locating the announcement specific to your county.

New Divorce Filings

Because so many districts are experiencing limited operations regarding the administration of  hearings, depositions, and trials, it’s going to be very difficult if possible at all to quickly and effectively file for divorce amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. 

When Will This Happen? 

We are living in a state of uncertainty. No one knows for sure how long we will have to wait before divorce court proceedings will return to normal. As of the publishing of this blog post, many districts have announced limited operations until mid-May or early June. Depending on the ongoing severity of the Coronavirus pandemic, these timelines might be extended even further.

covid-19 impact on family law 2

Therefore, it’s advisable to prepare for weeks and potentially months of delays. As challenging as this may be for some, it’s worth remembering that everyone is experiencing setbacks as a result of current events. Even in cases of uncontested, childless divorce proceedings, it’s likely that little to no progress will be made for newly filed cases until operational restrictions are lifted. 

What Can Be Done During This Time? 

Even though the Colorado court system is experiencing protracted delays, that doesn’t mean you cannot obtain legal advice related to your divorce filing. During the COVID-19 situation, Kokish and Goldmanis, PC is still engaged in active communication with our clients. So, we remain available to consult with you and develop strategies for divorce proceedings now, so that appropriate action can be taken when it becomes possible to do so. 

Impact on Domestic Situations

Not only are judicial operations experiencing significant disruptions, but stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders are making it difficult to locate housing alternatives. This is having direct impacts on marriages that are in the process of being dissolved. 

So, in addition to divorce filings being drawn out with no real end in sight, local public health directives are adding yet more complexity to the situation. Right now, it’s not so easy to find a new place to live, even temporarily. An example of this is the abrupt drop in bookings on lodging platforms like AirBnB and Hotels.com

If you’re someone who is currently in the early phases of divorce and you’re still living with your partner, the best actions to take during this time are to remain patient and do the best you can to tolerate your existing living situation. It might be worth exploring temporary living situations with family or friends; however, keep in mind that the same social distancing guidelines are going to need to be taken into consideration. 

We are all in this together. And, everyone is encountering personal struggles as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to send shockwaves throughout the world. 

We Are Still Here for You

One of the many benefits that comes with having an experienced Family Law team in your corner is effective preparation—preparation for filing motions, drafting necessary documents, and providing sound legal advice for complicated cases. 

Kokish and Goldmanis, PC is your legal resource for Family Law matters related to divorce, child custody, will and estate cases, and more. We specialize in demystifying the legal process, and our team is standing by to help you even as we’re all adjusting to life in quarantine. 

If you are in need of legal counsel in a Family Law matter, please contact our offices today. We look forward to be of service to you during these trying and uncertain times.

Resolve to Complete Your Estate Plan

The new year brings excitement, opportunity and resolutions. Often people resolve to complete their estate plan in the coming year. Given that most people do not have a current, integrated and HIPAA compliant plan, that is a great resolution.

So how do you get started? Start by watching this video, especially if you have a family:

Your goal should be to have an integrated and HIPAA compliant plan. To learn what plan is right for you and your family, call our office today at 303-688-3535 to schedule your in depth estat planning assessment. You’ll be glad you did.

The Gift of Estate Planning

Many articles have been published about the gift of estate planning. In fact, it is one of the most important gifts you can give to your family and loved ones. A well crafted estate plan represents part of your legacy and how you will be remembered. How you would like to be remembered when you are gone and does your estate plan reflect those wishes?

Why can estate planning be such important gift for your family? Consider these benefits your family receives from your well thought out plan:

1. Protection for your spouse from creditors and predators. Are you leaving a plan which exposes your spouse to risk or protects them?

2. Protection of children from the over indulgence of youth, protection from creditors and protection against predators. Does your plan for your children provide these protections?

3. Inclusion of grandchildren or other family members who are disabled. Such issues should be considered in every plan. Are they addressed i yours?

4. Asset and probate planning. Do your assets create problems and are these issues addressed in your estate plan?

5. HIPAA compliance. Protection of your health information is important in our electronic age. Is your entire plan and all documents HIPAA compliant? If not it needs to be.

6. How recently have your reviewed your plan? Plans older than 5-7 years may create unexpected traps and negative results for your family. Has your plan been reviewed recently?

Does your current plan provide these benefits to your family? Now you know why estate planning is one of the best gifts for your family not only at the holiday season but also year round.

The Importance of Proper Beneficiary Designations

In estate planning the details matter. In fact they matter so much that the tiniest of details can derail your entire plan. A good example of that is your beneficiary designations.

Family Lawyer Castle Rock

Beneficiary designations can be on things like bank accounts, insurance policies, IRA’s and brokerage accounts. The key question is are your beneficiary designations synchronized with your estate plan? If they are not then your estate plan can fail.

To avoid the inadvertent failure of your plan, work with your estate planning attorney to check each beneficiary designation to ensure coordination with your estate plan.

Protect Yourself and Family from Scams and Fraud

Our firm is located in Castle Rock, Colorado, currently rated as one of the most desirable places to live in the U.S. As our community has grown it has attracted an assortment of scammers, fraudsters and con-artists. Each year we publish an article on the latest tips you can use to protect your family and yourself from getting scammed. Here is our 2019 update on avoiding fraud and cons.

Here are some of the latest frauds to watch out for:

1) Fake families begging at local stores.
2) Fake notices on obtaining recorded documents about real estate.
3) The ever popular robo call now also on your cell phone.
4) Skimming machines at local gas stations.
5) In good weather the always annoying door to door sales person.
6) Internet scams now appearing on your facebook and twitter pages and in the groups you follow there.

There are many more and scammers get bolder and more sophisticated each day. Your job, with these tips is to outsmart the con-artists. Here are several tips to use:

1) Any time and in any place that you feel threatened or uncomfortable, call the police or sheriff’s office. Nothing makes rats run away faster than the cops arriving.

2) If you are unsure about an offer or sales person, check them out before signing anything or giving them money. Use these links to get more detailed tips:
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-things-you-can-do-avoid-fraud

https://www.bbb.org/avoidscams/

https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/get-help/protect-yourself-from-scams

3) Ask your lawyer or CPA for their opinion before you hand your hard earned money over to someone. Your lawyer and CPA owe you what is called “fiduciary care” so they are required to have your interest paramount.

4) As hard as this may be to do, NEVER EVER give money to someone who is begging at the store. If you fail to follow this rule you will probably see that fake family at the car dealer buying their next car with your money!

5) As fun as it is to follow advice on facebook, twitter and nextdoor, don’t buy ANYTHING just because you see it there. I recently purchased a tool for my bike on facebook and, to my total dismay it was a total piece of garbage and I should have known better!

The basis rule in our law is Caveat Emptor. This means that only you can prevent fraud and only you are the best means to protect yourself from scams and con-artists. Remember this: Be careful out there!

3 (Of Many) Reasons Why Estate Planning is Not Only for the Wealthy

Before I became an estate planning, I did not fully understand the importance of having an estate plan.  I thought that estate planning was only for the wealthy.  Nothing can be further from the truth!
So, here are 3 reasons why you should consider meeting with an estate planning attorney, regardless of your wealth:
1. You have children under the age of 18.
A good estate plan protects your children from an uncertain future.  For example, a comprehensive estate plan for families with young children will include an Appointment of Guardian, which allows you to nominate a guardian to care for your children when you die or become incapacitated and are unable to care for them.  They also include an Authorization for Care of Minor Children, which allows you to appoint an another adult to temporarily care for and make decisions on behalf of your minor children when you are on vacation, unavailable, or become incapacitated.
2. To appoint decision makers to take care of you and your finances should you become unable to do so.
Not all estate planning concerns death.  For example, power of attorney documents are important estate planning tools.  These documents allow you to name people you trust (agents) to make medical and financial decisions for you while you alive, but are unable, or don’t want to, make such decisions for yourself.
3. The State in which you live has already created an estate plan for you.
All 50 states, and the District of Columbia, have laws that dictate how your property will be distributed after you die.  These laws are called the laws of intestacy and apply when you die without a will.  These laws may not match how you want your property to be distributed after your death.
Greta Suneson

Are Your Business Documents Legal?

Are your businesses documents complete? Are they current? Are they compliant with new laws? If you don’t know you could be in serious trouble. Call 303-688-3535 today to schedule your business documents review with one of our expert business lawyers.

K&G helps businesses succeed.

Is Your Estate Plan HIPAA Compliant?

HIPAA compliance runs through most of our daily lives and activities. Having an estate plan which is HIPAA compliant is now mandatory in order for your wishes to be carried out.

Here are some things to check in your documents:

  • Are the documents dated prior to 2010? Older documents are often not HIPAA Compliant.
  • Do your documents mention HIPAA? If they don’t the documents are not compliant.
  • Are HIPAA Personal Representatives named? If not then the documents are not HIPAA compliant.

K&G can review your plan documents to ensure effective compliance. Contact our office at 303-688-3535 to schedule an estate plan review meeting today.