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Trenton Legal Issues Blog

What steps should I take to transfer my home to my kids?

As a parent, you may want to ensure that a hard-earned asset such as your home ends up in your children's hands once you pass away. Unless you make that clear during the estate planning process, it's not guaranteed that this will occur. There are three steps you can take to ensure that your property transfers seamlessly to your heirs when you pass away.

The living trust option

A simple look at qualifying for disability benefits

If you cannot work because you are sick or suffering from a physical injury, you know that you are likely eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. However, the process of obtaining these benefits is complex, and it is not easy to navigate. Additionally, the SSA holds a strict view of which conditions qualify as disabling. 

Before you begin the process of applying for disability benefits, it can be helpful to start by finding out if you are actually eligible. Understanding eligibility requirements is an important first step, as is learning more about how the process works and how much your payments may be. You may also find it beneficial to seek help as you move forward with your application.

Divorce negotiations should be goal-oriented

With most things, the more we do them, the more successful we'll become. With divorce, though, most of us will only get one shot at it during our lifetime. Taking tips from others who have gone through a divorce may be our only option if we want to do things right. Knowing common pitfalls others have encountered in settling their divorce can help you make more effective choices for yourself.

One of the more common reasons divorce settlements end up having to be modified is because divorcing spouses tend to think that everything is going to remain the same for them after they divorce. If a husband or wife doesn't consider the bigger picture, such as the potential that they may become disabled, lose their job or experience declines in their health, then they may do themselves a disservice in the long run.

Social Security Disability applications denials follow a pattern

As of 2015, United States Census Bureau reported that 12 percent of the American population, or 40 million people, were disabled.

In 1999, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that at least half of the disability payments applications that they received that year were denied. Since then, the number of people applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) has more than doubled. As of 2014, the SSA reported that only one-third of applications end up getting approved.

What factors should affect how soon you draft your will?

Car crashes, workplace violence and deadly case of the flu are just three of many different reasons that a person of any age could die unexpectedly. While younger adults may have fewer assets, they should still consider how they want them handled if they die, as well as the needs of any dependents that they have. Wills can no longer be chalked up as something just for older people.

In most jurisdictions in the United States, a will isn't legally valid until you're 18. While you may not have enough assets to warrant drafting your will at such a young age, you may want to sit down and draw up some estate planning documents like a health care power of attorney. This can let others know what your medical wishes are if you were to become unable to make them for yourself.

Which parents should avoid the 50-50 custody plan?

Equal parenting time is all the rage, and many parents laud the many benefits of raising their children in this fashion. Indeed, the benefits are clear. Children and parents get to maximize their time with one another in the fairest way possible. At the same time, parents enjoy some free time away from their parenting responsibilities each month to pursue other interests -- or even new romantic connections.

That said, even though you may be hearing from different friends and family members for whom the 50-50 custody plan is working well, it's not always the best solution for every family.

What happens next after a denied disability claim?

If a physical injury or serious sickness prevents you from working, you are likely facing financial pressures in addition to your physical concerns. It can be critically important to secure some type of financial support through a disability claim with the Social Security Administration. It can be devastating if your claim comes back denied. 

A denied claim is a significant setback, but as some Michigan readers know, it is a rather common occurrence. In fact, many initial claims are not successful, but that is not the end of the road. There are still certain options available to you, including seeking a reconsideration of your claim. If you are fighting for benefits, you may find it helpful to have guidance as you walk through this process.

You should be cautious when deeding over your property

If you're looking to purchase or sell a property, then you may have heard the terminology "warranty deed" used to describe it. You may wonder what that means and how it impacts your ownership of the home.

A warranty deed is simply a document that the seller of a property signs when turning the property over to its new owner. Once it's properly executed, it should be filed with the county clerk's office so that they can access property taxes to the appropriate person or entity.

Changes in communication could foreshadow changes in a marriage

Wondering if your marriage is moving toward divorce? One thing to watch out for is a serious change in the way the two of you communicate. That could mean that you are not able to work through your problems, and your underlying frustration at fighting this losing battle has fundamentally altered the way you talk to one another.

For instance, maybe you and your spouse have always been quiet, thoughtful people. All couples have disagreements. It's not that you get along all the time, but you handle these disagreements in a more subtle fashion. You give each other space, you sit down and talk and you calmly listen while the other person speaks.

Older workers with denied SSDI claims risk becoming impoverished

A new study was recently published by Mathematica Policy Research. It suggests that the older someone is when they apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the more apt that they are to have difficulty finding and maintaining employment once their claim is denied. This has many analysts arguing that SSDI eligibility guidelines may be far stricter than they otherwise should be.

The way current SSDI eligibility requirements work is that applicants must have a well-proven and profound medical impairment that both affects their ability to work in their previous position and any other one.