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August 2019 Archives

The first step in estate planning is often the hardest

For many Virginia residents who realize the importance of creating an estate plan, getting started is often the most difficult step. The reluctance to face the harsh reality of one's ultimate death is certainly a factor, but there are other considerations as well. One is the lack of clarity on the purpose of the various legal documents that may be utilized in an estate plan and how they work in conjunction to protect the creator's interests. As with other complex tasks, it is a good idea to break things down to individual components and start at the beginning.

False confessions and ignored evidence in high-profile cases

Police officers in Virginia and around the country are often put under great pressure to make an arrest when the cases they investigate attract a lot of media attention. A study published in the Northeastern University Law Review suggests that this pressure results in detectives developing tunnel vision and ignoring potentially exculpatory evidence after they have identified a prime suspect. This was the conclusion that criminologists from Texas State University reached after studying 50 wrongful conviction cases.

Good reasons to start estate planning immediately

Virginia residents and others may put off creating an estate plan for various reasons. However, it is generally a good idea to put one into place before getting sick of experiencing other significant life events. Significant life events include the birth of a child or grandchild or getting a divorce. In some cases, a child or grandchild will get divorced, which can result in a blended family.

Living wills and living trusts are not the same

Virginia residents are sometimes confused by the amount of paperwork that can be included in an estate plan, and their bewilderment sometimes grows when they find out that some of these documents have names that sound alike. It would be reasonable to assume that living wills and living trusts are broadly similar, but that is not the case. While their names may sound the same, the two documents actually serve very different purposes.

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