Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Your "4" Essential Documents for Estate Planning

Most people do not know where to start when it comes to getting their affairs in order. That is what estate planning is, Getting Your Affairs In Order. The essential documents are (1) WILL; (2) LIVING WILL; (3) HEALTHCARE POWER OF ATTORNEY; and, (4) GENERAL POWER OF ATTORNEY. Each persons situation is different so you want these documents tailored to your specific circumstances. An estate planning attorney (one who specializes in this area) should be consulted. I, like many other professionals, will provide you with a free consultation so you know what to expect. You can also get my book Stop! What are you Waiting for? Your Step by Step Guide to Estate Planning. $24.99 but only $10 when you call my office for a free consultation. Contact us at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Will and a Codicil

I just addressed a question from a client. It pertained to making changes to their Will. You can update your Will by either getting a new one done or amending the old one. When you get a new Will, it revokes all prior Wills. However, you want to make sure you shred or otherwise effectively discard the old Will. You want to make sure no one gets the wrong Will at the time of your death. You can amend your prior Will by executing a Codicil which is an amendment to your current Will. You therefore MUST keep the current Will and keep the amendment, "Codicil", with that current Will. The Will and the Codicil MUST stay together. Otherwise, no one may know that you have made a change to your Will. Contact us at for your estate planning and probate needs.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro - A Legacy of Politics

My undergraduate degree was in Political Science. I have had an interest in politics since 7th grade when I ran for Treasurer of our Student Government Association. Though I was not successful in my very first bid, I did win the next year when I ran for President of our Student Government Association. So I watch with real interest when women bid for the highest offices in our country. Geraldine Ferraro's selection as Walter Mondale's Democratic running mate in the 1984 presidential election is part of her tremendous legacy, despite an unsuccessful campaign. Her vice presidential bid, the first for a woman on a major party ticket, emboldened women across the country to seek public office and helped lay the groundwork for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential candidacy in 2008 and John McCain's choice of his running mate, Sarah Palin, that year. You have created a legacy in your life's story. Let us help you preserve that legacy. Contact us at for expert estate planning, estate administration and probate needs.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Twenty-Something And Loving Every Moment of It

Welcome to 18, (though you can not drink) you are no longer a child. I met with clients recently in their 30s and we discussed how when we first drank coffee we thought, "Now I am a real adult." Today, with Starbucks and everything else, the coffee drinking age is so much younger. In any event, the discussion today is when should you get your Powers of Attorney done. When you are 18, into your twenty-something and beyond, you should have these documents executed. If you should become incapacitated, (car accident, serious sports injury, some traumatic event), you need someone to take care of your financial affairs and health issues. Your medical information is private and you must designate who may have access to your medical information and confer with doctors. I know you are twenty-something and loving every moment of it, but take the time to cover yourself for the unexpected so you can get right back on track loving your 30s, 40s, and beyond. This is what you should know about Powers of Attorney. More and more people understand the importance of the power of attorney but have questions about the formalities. They ask does your agent sign the power of attorney when you do? If not, when does the agent sign? Does the agent have to sign before a notary? How do I take the authority away from the agent? These are all good questions and the responses follow: When does an agent sign the power of attorney? The agent does not have to sign at the time that you sign your power of attorney. The agent's signature does not have to be notarized only the maker. In fact, since you only intend for your agent to use the power of attorney when you are incapacitated, then it is at that time that the agent signs and dates the power of attorney. How do you revoke an agent's authority? You should maintain your original powers of attorney. If you no longer want a person to serve as your agent then the powers of attorneys should be destroyed and new ones entered into. If your agent has an original power of attorney, then you must get it back and destroy it. Otherwise, you have to notify any one who may rely on the power of attorney that you have revoked your agent's authority. ALWAYS appoint someone whom you trust. Springing Power of Attorney There is another type of power of attorney referred to as a Springing Power of Attorney. It can only be used if a doctor has certified your incapacity and such certification must be attached to the power of attorney for it to be effective. The Springing Power of Attorney is revoked once your regain capacity. Contact us at for estate planning, probate and elder law needs.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Your Digital Legacy

With more and more people using social media and those who do on-line banking, shopping and even dating, we have created what I refer to as a digital legacy. What happens to this legacy of passwords, persona, and all types of data when we die? Does it live on? I suppose in a way it does. Like all things we have to take responsibility, while we are living, of how our digital legacy will be treated upon our death. Otherwise, it is the whim and whimsical fancy of those unknown folks handling cyberspace data. You do have a right to this information but like all things you must exert and protect your rights or lest they be taken away. How do you become empowered? Despite our increasingly data-intensive lives, the legal framework around our personal on-line data is still evolving. And you can be a part of the evolution. I recently read about the concept of having a digital will: A legally binding statement to the world declaring who should have access to your information after you die. It's a question that is bound to get only more complicated as our digitally engaged population grows older and dies. So, as you contemplate aspects of your estate planning, consider your Digital Legacy and address it now before someone else might. Contact us for expert estate planning, probate and elder law advice at

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor - A Film Legend - Dies At 79

Elizabeth Taylor was truly a household name for generations. My mother was so moved by Elizabeth Taylor's stardom, she named her first born child, Yvette Elizabeth Taylor. Yes, that would be me. So, I guess hearing about the death of this particular legend moved me personally and otherwise.

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in London on Feb. 27, 1932, the daughter of Francis Taylor, an art dealer, and the former Sara Sothern, an American stage actress. At age 3, with extensive ballet training already behind her, Taylor danced for British princesses Elizabeth (the future queen) and Margaret Rose at London's Hippodrome. At age 4, she was given a wild field horse that she learned to ride expertly.

Her family moved to the United States where she begin her movie career at age 10. The rest is Hollywood legend. Clearly, Elizabeth Taylor has a significant estate which we will follow its administration. Her children include her daughters Maria Burton-Carson and Liza Todd-Tivey; and, sons Christopher and Michael Wilding, and several grandchildren.

Stay posted for updates. Contact us at for all your probate, estate planning and elder law needs.