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St. George council candidates focusing on growth

A few days ago, the first debate was held among candidates for St. George City Council at the Washington County Administration Building. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a couple of topics dominated this first discussion: city growth and code enforcement.

Those are issues that concern virtually every resident of our growing city. How do we manage the growth? Do we allow St. George to grow as fast as it can or do we apply some brakes? If we apply brakes, why do we do it and how? The questions are for candidates and citizens alike to consider in coming days.

In Utah, what effect does a divorce have on an estate plan?

Did you know that divorcing after the age of 50 is becoming a common occurrence across the nation? Called "grey divorce," some believe it's happening because of changing perceptions on divorce. Others believe it's happening because seeing women in the workforce is considered more acceptable now than it was during the Baby Boomer era, which is causing some women to rethink whether or not they want to be married still.

Whatever the reason, the increasing trend of divorces after 50 is raising an interesting question and it's one most people haven't even considered to ask: what effect does a divorce have on an estate plan? For our readers here in Utah, it's a question we'd like to answer in today's post.

Fighting for what's right in the right way

There are a number of ways businesses with conflicting interests can resolve their disputes. In some instances, a business owner or manager will, with their business attorney, enter into negotiations that resolve differences. At other times, mediation or arbitration can prove useful to settle matters and allow the firms to get back to work. Sometimes, however, litigation is called for in order for a party to get what they believe is a full and fair measure of justice.

We recently saw a Utah business located north of St. George involved in a bitter disagreement with competitors. The contact-lens maker 1-800-Contacts, an Orem firm, isn't being sued and it isn't suing anyone, but is instead involved in a dispute over a Utah law that bans minimum prices for contact lenses.

We're here to help St. George businesses

There are so many different ways to measure cities, regions and states that it can be difficult to sort through them all. However, if you look at various measurements of Utah, you'll find it near the top of several important lists: best places to start a business, best places to retire, best places to raise a family and best places to live, among others.

Here in St. George, we're proud of our contributions to Utah's growing national reputation as a destination spot. Part of making our city business- and family-friendly is our devotion to having the tools needed for both to thrive: good schools, a growing economy, an educated workforce, low unemployment and confidence among residents that growth is sustainable.

New Utah Law Expands Parent-Time Schedule

Several states are taking note of new legislation affecting family law, which offers an expanded parent- time schedule in favor of the non-custodial parent when the parents of minor children are involved in a divorce. The new law was sponsored in this year's legislative session by our very own Representative Lowry Snow. HB35 which has now been signed into law increases the minimum time children will spend with their non-custodial parent from 110 days to 145 days, a number that splits the time more evenly between both parents. This bill gives children more access to their non-custodial parent, a great benefit as indicated by research showing that children lead happier and healthier lives if both of their parents are actively involved with them. Because the minimum schedule of 110 days was becoming more of the standard than a minimum, advocates from the Family Section of the Utah State Bar and the National Parents Organization had been pushing for this change to the law. You can read more about this legislation in a recent Spectrum article here:

For the Future: Estate and Tax Planning

Most people have heard of the dreaded estate tax; some even refer to it as the "death tax." Lawmakers often speak about repealing this tax. This issue will likely come up again for debate during the upcoming presidential election next year. With the recent tax season over, now would be a good time to focus on tax and estate planning that could mitigate the effects of federal tax consequences befalling your heirs. Call our office in St. George, Cedar City, or Kanab, or chat online with a representative here on our website to make an appointment to speak with our tax and estate planning attorney, Cameron Morby. In the meantime, you can read more about the politics involved with this issue by taking a look at this article: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765671871/FACT-CHECK-Estate-tax-hits-fewer-than-1-percent-of-estates.html  

The time to plan for tomorrow is today

Let's face it, procrastination is part of the human condition. "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow," said one of America's greatest wits, Mark Twain. We prefer an enduring saying by Benjamin Franklin, however: "You may delay, but time will not."

It's certainly true that we all battle to one degree or another with procrastination, but when it comes to delaying (and then delaying again, and again) estate planning with your St. George attorney, it won't be you who pays in the end. It will be those who are left behind to try to tidy the mess and understand what you might have wanted them to do.

A first step in forming the future

Before you sit down for an initial consultation with your St. George estate planning law firm, you might well be asked to fill out a form. The form is typically straightforward, seeking to get from you information about who you are, an overview of your assets, and most important, an idea of what you would like to do with those assets when you pass on.

In that way, when you and your attorney sit down to talk face-to-face, some of the preliminary fact-finding has been done and the two of you can begin to focus on your estate plan.

"I'm here to help"

The nine "most terrifying words in the English language," according to one of President Ronald Reagan's favorite jokes, were these: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." The line never failed to get an appreciative laugh. Of course, few pointed out to the president that he, too, was from the government and was there to help.

When we recently looked at the U.S. Small Business Administration's website, we were reminded of the late president's humor. The site is a well-intentioned, neatly organized group of ideas, forms and information for those interested in launching a new business.

Utah commercial real estate surging

Over the last 10 years, Utah's commercial real estate has experienced above-average growth, experts say. Those same experts cite our perch atop Forbes' list of the best states in which to do business, as well as a number of economic indicators when they predict that Utah commercial real estate growth will continue for at least the next few years.

Our state's diverse, vibrant economy and educated, hard-working populace deserve all the credit, says the chairman of CBC Advisors.