Mind Your Own Business
December, 2018 - Issue #171
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courtesy of Shutterstock

Don't Leave Money on the Table During a Divorce
Banked Vacation, Overtime & Sick Time has Value

by Denise Placencio

Many divorcing couples don't think to divide banked/accrued vacation time, overtime and sick time. These assets are commonly omitted from negotiations because most people are unaware that these accrued assets have a monetary value. In a divorce, that means you could be leaving a substantial amount of money "on the table."

Recently two wives of LAPD officers came to me seeking a second opinion on whether banked overtime and sick hours had value. Their mediator told them that these hours were "worth nothing" and that they should just settle their cases and move on.

That's not true. In Suastez v. Plastic Dress Up Corp (1982) 31 Cal.3d 774, the California Supreme Court held that the right to paid vacation time constitutes deferred wages and it "vests," as it is earned by the employee. In Marriage of Moore (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 92, the Third District Court of Appeals held that accrued benefits are a property interest that are divisible community property to the extent earned during marriage. Further, if your spouse is a LA County Fireman or Police Officer, DROP benefits are divisible; there is an undisputed community property interest in the DROP program per Marriage of Davis (2004) 120 CA4th 1007.

The bottom line to this story is twofold. First, don't accidentally leave your money on the table in your divorce case. Second: Make sure you have someone knowledgeable about the law working for you.
Family law attorney Denise Placencio was again named a Super Lawyer in 2018. 877-317-8080

Meet Finance of America
Business is always personal. That's why the Finance of America - Santa Clarita team is committed to educating, empowering and assisting you with accomplishing your goals and plans your financial future. Whether you want to purchase a new home or refinance your existing property, their wide variety of home loan products paired with their team of knowledgeable, seasoned mortgage advisors ensures a perfect fit. They hold themselves responsible to doing everything they can to put more knowledge and power back into your hands; that's why they're ready to patiently answer your questions and share their know-how with you. Get in touch to find out how good a personalized, warm and truly helpful meeting with a Finance of America mortgage advisor can be.
Finance of America Mortgage 866-710-7622
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Drive Smart, Especially Near School Buses
Last month, in only one week, at least five separate school-bus accidents resulted in deaths and serious injuries of children and adults. We simply must drive safer; our children's lives depend on it. We also need to teach our children how to be safer around buses. Teach your kids to:
Wait. The bus should come to a full stop, and the doors should open, before they approach.

Keep their distance. They should stand away from the curb always, but especially when the bus is approaching.
Cross with driver assistance. If they have to go across the street to get on the bus, they should wait for the driver to signal them to cross.

Stay alert and communicate with the driver. If they have to pick something up, like a backpack resting on the curb, ask the bus driver first.

If there is an accident, you deserve to be compensated so you can properly care for your child. Bringing a claim arising from a bus accident can be complicated by issues such as governmental immunity, determination of fault, and fraud, so it will be important to have an attorney who will know how to properly handle these issues. Many bus accidents are the fault of driver inexperience or improper training, but product liability can also play a role in causing a bus accident. Intoxication and drug use can also be at the core cause of a bus accident, and an experienced attorney can investigate your specific accident to determine the true causes and parties at fault.
The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus 296-2992

How much Life Insurance Do You Need? Bet You haven't Thought of these Costs
If you have dependents - a spouse, children or family who you support at least in part - you need life insurance. That's a given, but what's not: the magic number of how much you really need. Too often, the number is determined by simple multiplication. "My kid is 10 and if I die tomorrow, I need to provide for her for eight more years. I make $100,000 a year, so I need $800,000 worth of life insurance."

While that's not a bad start, experts suggest that you consider additional expenses - and we're not just talking funeral costs. Got debt? Your credit cards, car notes, mortgages and business loans don't go to the grave with you. You'll want to cover those costs, lest your spouse or executor have to make some hard decisions in the midst of your grief.

Speaking of grief, do you expect your partner and kids to go right back to work after your unexpected loss? If you want to buy them - literally - time to heal, you don't just need to cover your income, but theirs, too. What about long-term goals like college, or your spouse's retirement? If your loss of income affects these, you'll want to allocate for them now. And if you have kids, you probably do your fair share of housework and childcare. With you gone, your child's other parent will most likely incur additional expenses for babysitters or daycare, which can amount to tens of thousands of dollars a year. Don't leave that out, especially if you decide that you want your spouse to remain home with your children, at least while they are young.

There are difficult choices to make and tough conversations to have, but, in the end, you'll be able to feel confident that your life-insurance plan can provide a solid financial support system in the case of your passing. Talk to an insurance professional to determine which types of life insurance are best for your unique situation.
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