US Legal, Inc. Newsletter – April 2007

Before You Say I Do, Get Your Legal Life in Order

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Most people think about dresses, cakes and rings when they think of getting married. But tying the knot also involves a major legal obligation.

Marriage begins with a contract in the form of a marriage license. These licenses are governed by state and local laws, which vary by jurisdiction. The most common requirements include a waiting period, residency, and blood testing. Local laws should be consulted for the requirements in your area.

Sometimes, couples enter into agreements prior to the marriage. A premarital agreement is a written contract created by two people planning to be married. The agreement typically lists all the property of each person, as well as their debts, and it specifies what each person’s property rights will be after they tie the knot. Premarital agreements often specify how property will be divided and whether spousal support (alimony) will be paid in the event of a divorce.

In starting a new life together, all newlyweds should consider preparing essential legal documents such as mutual wills, living wills, and power of attorney forms. Being well prepared legally signals a couple who has taken time to plan for emergencies, for unexpected life events, and for a more secure future.

Featured Products of the Month

Essential Legal Documents for Newlyweds

This package contains essential legal documents for Newlyweds who desire to organize their legal life together. The documents in this package are state-specific and include the following:

1) A Will that meets your specific needs
2) An Advance Health Care Directive
3) A General Power of Attorney effective immediately
4) An Estate Planning Questionnaire and Worksheet
5) A Financial Statement for a Husband and Wife
6) A Personal Property Inventory sheet and
7) Personal Planning Information and Document Inventory Worksheets.

The Essential Legal Documents for Newlyweds package is available for immediate download starting at $49.95. Purchase this package and save up to 40% over purchasing the forms separately! See http://www.uslegalforms.com/formspackages/life-documents-newlyweds.htm for more information.

Wedding Planning Packages

Take the stress out of planning a wedding with a Wedding Planning Form Package. This package contains contracts and letters of correspondence needed to manage your agreements and relationships with vendors you plan to use. You can modify and alter the documents in this package to fit your particular circumstances.

This package contains the following forms:

1) Contract with Wedding Planner
2) Letter to Photographer from Wedding Planner
3) Letter to Limo Service
4) Letter to Florist
5) Letter to Caterer
6) Letter to Band
7) Letter to Videographer
8) Letter to Specialty Vendor
9) Letter for Cancellation of Wedding and
10) Wedding Entertainment Services Contract

Wedding Planning packages are available for immediate download starting at $39.95. See http://www.uslegalforms.com/formspackages/wedding-planning-package.htm for more information.

In Brief

US LegalForms.com has entered into a strategic partnership with World Wide Notary.

World Wide Notary has developed DigaSign; a secure, easy to use, Internet service to electronically sign and seal Window’s based documents needing multiple signatures and/or approvals from multiple locations in minutes instead of days. For notaries, attorneys, architects, geologist, judges, clerks etc., DigaSign can deliver the “master document of record” and provide a complete “chain of custody” audit journal to expedite document processing.

More information on our strategic partners can be found at http://www.uslegalforms.com/strategicpartners/.

Law and Legal Definitions

What is a Marital Privilege?

Marital privilege laws exist at the state level as well as the federal level, and vary by state. State marital privilege laws are similar to the federal law. It is also referred to as husband-wife privilege.

Federal Rule of Evidence 501 provides that “the privilege of a witness [or] person . . . shall be governed by the principles of the common law as they may be interpreted by the courts of the United States in the light of reason and experience.” The Supreme Court has recognized two privileges that arise from the marital relationship. The first permits a witness to refuse to testify against his or her spouse. This is the testimonial privilege. The witness spouse alone holds the privilege and may choose to waive it.

The second privilege, called the marital communications privilege, provides that “[c]ommunications between the spouses, privately made, are generally assumed to have been intended to be confidential, and hence they are privileged . . . .” The privilege (1) extends to words and acts intended to be a communication; (2) requires a valid marriage; and (3) applies only to confidential communications, i.e., those not made in the presence of, or likely to be overheard by, third parties.

Recognizing that the privilege obstructs the truth seeking process, courts have construed it narrowly, particularly in criminal proceedings, because of society’s strong interest in the administration of justice. The government bears the burden of showing that the communication was not intended to be confidential.

Federal law recognizes exceptions “where one spouse is charged with a crime or tort against the person or property of the other or against a child” of either. Most states also have a statute stating that if one spouse is the victim of abuse by the other spouse, the victim’s testimony can be compelled and spousal privilege cannot be asserted.

For more legal definitions, please visit our free online legal dictionary at http://www.uslegalforms.com/legaldefinitions/.

Customer Feedback

US LegalForms.com would like to hear from you. If you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions about our products or topics you’d like for us to feature in upcoming newsletters, please email them to Carrie Criado, Director of Public Relations, at carrie@uslegalforms.com.