Comerford & Dougherty, LLP is dedicated to combining personalized attention to each client's needs with broad capabilities and experience in our areas of practice. We are happy to provide you with brief information in response to some of the questions we hear most often.
- What is probate?
- What is a trust?
- Can you contest a will or a trust?
- What factors does the court consider in dividing marital property when we divorce?
- Is collaborative law a faster way to get a divorce?
- When selling my house, what must I disclose to the buyer about the house's condition?
Probate is the legal process of administering an estate after someone dies. In this way, your property passes directly to your beneficiaries. Probate includes the following:
- Proving in court that a deceased person's will is valid
- Identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property
- Appraising property
- Paying debts and taxes
- Distributing property as directed by a will
- Transferring title and ownership of assets to the proper beneficiaries
What is a trust?
In a trust, a party known as the trustee has legal ownership of property transferred to him by the person making the trust (the grantor). Trust assets are invested and or managed for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. A trust can be living, that is, established during the grantor’s lifetime, or testamentary, established in a will. A trustee can be either an individual or an institution, such as a bank.
- Length of the marriage
- Either person's prior marriage(s)
- Each person's age, health, station, income, vocational skills, employability, estates, liabilities, and needs
- Contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse
- Opportunity to acquire future income and assets
- Sources of income, including medical, retirement, insurance, and other benefits
- Services rendered as a parent, wage earner, or homemaker
- Value of each person's property
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Tax consequences of the distribution
- Custodial parent designation
Is collaborative law a faster way to get a divorce?
Your own individual circumstances determine how fast your divorce process can proceed. However, collaborative divorce can be more efficient than traditional divorce proceedings. It focuses on problem solving, not blaming or endlessly airing grievances. The idea is to have full disclosure and open communications between the parties and their lawyers throughout the process, so open issues are discussed in a timely manner. Settlement is reached out of court, so you don't have to wait for multiple court appointments that could be necessary with conventional divorce.
- Drainage problems
- Heating and air conditioning problems
- Roof problems
- Termites or other pests
- Cracks or flaws in walls or foundation or other structural problems
- Plumbing problems and information about the property's water source
- Sewage problems
- Dampness in the basement or attic
- Whether work was done to code
- Problems concerning the title to the property
- Lead paint (required under the federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992)
- Environmental problems such as asbestos, fuel spills or storage on the property and whether or not radon testing has been done