Michael Jace’s Kids Spend 4 Painful Hours In Police Custody Following The Death of Their Mother… A Savannah Guardianship Lawyer Explains

Much to the public’s shock and surprise, actor Michael Jace, best known for his role in the ‘The Shield,’ was charged with murder following the untimely death of his wife in May.

According to reports, Jace called 911 on himself after allegedly shooting his wife in front of his small children. Besides the obvious trauma that the children faced, family members are up in arms that the kids were forced to spend four painful hours in the sheriff’s office while police sorted out the situation, rather than being placed in the care of loved ones.

Following Protocol

As unfortunate and terrible as it sounds, what most parents do not realize is that if something happens to them, whether it be a car accident or a heinous crime (as in this case), without TEMPORARY GUARDIANS named, the police have no choice but to take your children into custody until authorities can decide where they should be placed. As Savannah guardianship lawyers, we see this happen all the time.

Please understand that the authorities are not taking these actions to be mean or cold. They have protocol to follow and keeping temporary custody of your kids is routinely part of the deal.

Taking Back Control

Yet as parents we all know that the police station (or Child Protective Services) is the LAST place your children should be if something happens to you. Your kids will likely be upset, shocked, and confused, and desperate to be in the care of someone they know and trust.

Even if you have a will, it’s simply not enough to avoid this situation.

What you must do is take one extra step to legally name temporary guardians who can take short-term custody of your kids following your death or incapacity.

Documentation of your short-term nominations must then be given to family and friends so they can act on your behalf and ensure your child(ren) never spend one second in the care of strangers if something happens to you.

Don’t Wait To Protect Your Children

Naming legal guardians is something that’s easy to do, inexpensive and can save your kids from a tremendous amount of confusion and heartbreak if the unthinkable happens. So if you haven’t done so already, talk to your Savannah guardianship lawyer about legally naming BOTH permanent and temporary guardians for your kids. It’s worth every bit of time, effort and expense to take care of this critical task.

What You Should Know about Your Parents’ Estate Planning in Savannah

Talking to older or retired parents about their estate plan isn’t necessarily something we look forward to, but elder lawyers in Savannah have seen first-hand why it’s so important. Of course you don’t want to think about your parents’ death or to come across as insensitive or greedy. On the other hand, though, ignoring these important conversations tends to make things significantly more difficult and expensive down the road.

Is there a Plan in Place?

There are several things that you should know about your parents’ estate plan, the first of which is whether or not they actually have one. If not, you’ll want to start looking into elder lawyers in Savannah to get the process started. Not only will an elder lawyer help with wills and trusts, but they can also help fund retirement, assist with senior living options, and much more.

Who Is the Executor?

Once it’s been established that there is an estate plan on record, it will be helpful to know who has been named as the executor. Because parents don’t always share this information in advance, it can come as a blow to those not chosen. Instead of waiting until feelings are already raw, knowing in advance gives everyone time to accept the decision, not to mention the parents have the opportunity to explain why they made the choice they did.

Any Surprises?

Speaking of explaining choices, your parents may have asked their elder lawyer to include things in the estate plan that aren’t immediately understood by the heirs. For example, perhaps one sibling is given real estate and another is given cash. By discussing the reasons behind these kinds of choices, the parent can make their reasoning apparent rather than leaving everyone to guess later. This is an excellent way to avoid hurt feelings and familial drama later.

Where Is the Information?

If your parent became incapacitated, would you know where to find their healthcare directive? If you needed to pay the mortgage or car payment, would you know where to send the money and how much? Would you even know what accounts to access? And, if your parent should pass away, would you know where the will was, how to access a safe deposit box, or what funeral home to call?

In order to do any of these things, you need to know where to find your parents’ legal documents. A fireproof safe is a reasonable place to keep them if they’re in the home, just make sure that you (or the person designated by your parent) has the combination or key to the lock. Insurance policies, deeds and titles, and similar documents can be organized into a binder to make them easier to work with when the time comes. Mom or dad’s elder lawyer will be able to help in determining what needs to be included in this binder.

Talking to your parents about this kind of stuff isn’t easy, but it is so very important. It will save considerable time, effort, and potentially hurt feelings later if the family is able to work with a Savannah elder lawyer and get things organized now.

Can Your Children’s Spouses Inherit from You? | Savannah Will and Trust Lawyer

Will and trust lawyers in Savannah see plenty of situations where parents who love their children are not entirely in love with their children’s spouses. This can make the estate planning process a little tricky, because the spouse can add tension and stir up drama that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. While some people include their sons-and-daughters-in-law in the planning process, it’s not all that unusual to leave them out.

For the most part, the son-in-law or daughter-in-law isn’t even mentioned in the will. They don’t really even have any legal standing to inherit from the parent unless they are specifically named. So, the parent would name his or her own child, but not the child’s spouse. If the adult child was no longer living, the property would probably end up being inherited by the grandchildren, rather than the spouse.

That’s not to say that a child’s spouse couldn’t end up with an inheritance. If the parents were to leave assets to the adult child and then the adult child passed away, his or her property would likely go to the spouse, and that includes what was inherited from the parents. One would hope that this property would eventually be passed on to the grandchildren (assuming there are grandchildren), but this is not a given, as the spouse would have the legal right to do whatever he or she wanted with it. In fact, if the spouse remarried, his or her new spouse would be the legal choice to inherit any property that was left behind, including that which was inherited this way.

So, can a Savannah will and trust lawyer keep your child’s spouse out of your plan entirely? Yes! You can work with your attorney to develop an inheritance trust that will protect any money you leave your kids from divorce, lawsuits, and creditors and keep your money in the family.

Creating an estate plan can be emotional and having the additional drama of a difficult personality certainly won’t help matters any. On the other hand, you may absolutely adore your son-or-daughter-in-law and want to make sure that they are taken care of by your estate. In those cases, you will want to make sure that your estate planning lawyer specifically mentions them and what they are inheriting for your own peace of mind.

Is Estate Planning Important for You? | Savannah Trust Lawyer

While trust lawyers in Savannah have seen first-hand how important the right legal documents are, we also understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to estate planning. For example, the needs of one family will likely be completely different from those of another. Likewise, a certain single professional may benefit greatly from working with an estate planning lawyer, while another would have very little need at this point in his or her career. So, how do you know what you need? The real answer is probably that you should talk to a trust lawyer in Savannah, but that sounds a little self-serving. Instead, here are a few circumstances to get you started, and if you find that they get you thinking about what might be right for you, then it’s probably time to hire an attorney.

Footloose and Fancy-Free

For those who haven’t gotten married or had children yet, it’s likely that you don’t have much need for an estate planning lawyer. The biggest exception, however, is the need to create medical directives. These are necessary for everyone to ensure that your wishes are followed when you are not able to speak for yourself. To be fair, the younger individual who has a lot of assets, lives a high-risk lifestyle, or is seriously ill would want to look into more in-depth estate planning services.

Hooked Up

Once you’ve made a commitment to someone that stops short of marriage, you will likely want to get an estate planning lawyer involved. This is due to the need for a will to protect your partner and ensure that he or she is entitled to assets and the ability to make medical decisions for you, if that is what you prefer. The attorney will help you put together durable powers of attorney, as well as to help direct what happens to your shared and individual property should you pass away.

Married, With Children

If you have children, the need for an estate planning lawyer becomes increasingly urgent. One of the most important things you’ll want to do is to name a legal guardian for any minor children. Along those same lines, you will probably want to use your estate plan to help create a financial plan that will support those young children should you be unexpectedly killed or incapacitated. This might include setting up some kind of a trust that will be managed for their care.

A Little Gray

Watching the kids grow up and seeing retirement ahead certainly do lead many of us to start thinking about estate planning. At this point in life, you’re interested in saving for your own future, as well putting together a plan for what you leave behind. A Savannah trust lawyer is essential at this point to make sure you are maximizing your assets, avoiding unnecessary taxes, and making sure that your wishes are clearly laid out.

Facing Your Own Mortality

There are points in our lives where we are faced with our own mortality, and these are often the impetus for getting in touch with an estate planning lawyer. For example, if you have been diagnosed with a serious illness, you may find it comforting to get your affairs in order. Likewise, elderly folks generally find that they have reached a point where it makes sense to determine their legacies through estate planning.

If any of these situations resonate with you, it may be time to consider the services of a trust lawyer in Savannah. He or she can help you work through your desires and create the appropriate set of legal documents that best meet your needs. Most importantly, by forming a relationship now with an attorney, he or she can help you make great choices based on the stage of life you are in. Staying one step ahead of the game is always best, and through proper legal planning, your trust lawyer in Savannah can make sure you are positioned for whole-life security and success.