Roberson Law Focusing on Estate Planning, Trust, Probate and Elder Law

Newsletter

August Is National Make-A-Will Month   

A recent survey of more than 2,000 people found that 64% of the people surveyed indicated that they don't have wills, according to an article published online by AARP.

Many people are superstitious about planning for death. People fear that once they get the ball rolling on estate planning, something bad will happen.  Time after time, however, our clients tell us that they experience such a sense of relief after completing their estate planning.  The peace of mind far outweighs the fear involved in beginning the estate planning process.

We warn you, however, of using an online service that produces legal documents.  When it comes to planning for death, "one size does not fit all," especially since estate, probate, and trust laws vary from state to state. 

In one Florida case, the "do it yourself" Will of a women had so many discrepancies and omissions that the woman's estate was taken all of the way to the Florida Supreme Court to determine how the property was going to be distributed to the woman's heirs after the woman died. The attorney fees incurred for the case cost substantially more than what the fees would have been for the woman to have had her Will prepared properly by a qualified attorney before her death.

Many attorneys who choose to practice in this area of law have some advanced certification or accreditation in the field because of how difficult this area of law can be to practice. Sometimes not having any estate planning documents at all can be better than having documents that are self-prepared due to the problems that can occur with documents that don't comport with state law and are ambiguous.


Elderly Woman

Elder Law Update: Do You Have The Newest Health Care Directive Forms?

There are many versions that exist of the Ohio advance directives forms.  The versions that we most frequently see in circulation are from 2008 and 2014.

The changes to the Ohio advance directive forms were substantive in 2014.  Most every hospital and nursing care facility in Ohio will ask you to submit copies of your forms before you are admitted.  That being the case, you want to make sure that the date at the bottom of your Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will is dated 2014 so that you have the most current version of this extremely important document.  
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Did you know that we have a department dedicated to senior services?
  • Preserve your savings from nursing home costs
  • Keep your home in the family
  • Know when to apply for Medicaid
  • Receive help finding the right nursing home
Check out our web page on Elder Law! 
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Upcoming support group for individuals and care partners in the early stages of dementia.

The Miami Valley chapter of the Alzheimer's Association will be launching a new support group in Spring of 2017 for caregivers and people who have been diagnosed with early stage dementia. The new group will consist of a session when everyone will meet together for 30 minutes of dementia education, and then the group will break up into two support groups, one for those with dementia and the other for care partners, that will last about 30 minutes. The series of meetings will last for six months. There are limited spots available, so an initial interview is required to be accepted into the group. Please contact Sarah Cameron, Clinical Services Coordinator, at 937.610.7012 in order to get started.                 

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Whatever you are, be a good one.

- Abe Lincoln


Client Of The Month

This past Spring our firm began a "Client of the Month" award to honor the client who is cooperative, follows instructions, and is generally pleasant to the staff and a delight to work with. Clients who possess these qualities make the recipe for an outstanding law firm, so that is why we would like to honor them. The client of the month not only gets honored in our newsletter (with the client's permission), but also receives a gift card to the business or restaurant of his or her choice!

The Client of the Month for July was awarded to Cheik and Karine Daddah.  The Daddahs have been clients for 13 years and have been very diligent with keeping their Wills, Trusts, letters of instruction, and other legal documents up to date. The Daddahs are delightful people and are very thorough in every aspect of their estate planning.
  
The August award goes to Mary Ann Drewry.  Kim Estess said that Mary Ann got her vote because Mary Ann completed all of the "homework" she was given, including little loose ends that many clients don't complete, like writing her obituary and her letter of instruction to her executor.  Mary Ann paid close attention to details, was always quick to return email messages, and was overall very pleasant and enjoyable to work with.  

Thank you to Cheik, Karine, and Mary Ann for being such great clients!


Thank you Jeff Long from True Focus Media for putting together a new client testimonial video for our firm.

Click here to see the our new video!



Office picture

     

  
Our mission is to  provide excellent, compassionate legal services to help people plan for the unexpected and prepare for the inevitable.
 
In This Issue: 
  • August Is National Make-A-Will Month 
  • How Old Do You Need To Be To Do Estate Planning?
  • Elder Law Update: Health Care Directive Forms And New Dementia Support Group
  • Meet Our New Gatekeepers
  • What Will Happen To Children If Both Parents Die Suddenly?
  • Practicing Cautiousness
  • Client Of The Month
  • Upcoming Grief Support And Resources
  • Ask The Experts Educational Seminar At NCR Country Club
SpecialNeeds
How Old Do You Need To Be To Do Estate Planning?
           
Attorney Nancy Roberson was recently interviewed for the news show WHIO Reports, and one of the topics addressed was how old a person needs to be to do estate planning.  Watch the interview here.  The program contained almost 30 minutes of valuable advice about estate planning and discussed the topic of being prepared at any age for sudden illness or death.

Jane F. Wolk, a lawyer who contributed to a Consumer Reports article titled Will You Be Able to Help Your College-Age Child in a Medical Emergency? states,"Once a child turns 18, the child is legally a stranger to you.  You, as a parent, have no more right to obtain medical information on your legal-age son or daughter than you would to obtain information about a stranger on the street."

The Consumer Reports article shares a frightening story about a parent of an 18 year old who was denied information about her son's medical condition in the hospital emergency room due to HIPAA laws.  The son was in the middle of a medical procedure, had not completed a HIPAA form or Health Care Power of Attorney, and was not in a position where he could give authorization for his mother to obtain updates about his medical condition.  

A scenario similar to the previous story occurs very often with our clients who have children with special needs.  The child with special needs turns 18 years old and then suddenly the parent is not privy to information about the son or daughter's health, even though the parent still remains the primary caregiver.

Most 18 year olds do not need the lengthy, comprehensive wills that we prepare in our office.  Therefore, we have an abbreviated version of our customized will that is appropriate for unmarried young adults, who do not have children or own a home. Through the end of September, we are offering a package for college-age children to receive a General Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, HIPAA form, and Will for $199.00.  If you are interested in getting these documents for your adult child, please call us.
What Will Happen To Children If Both Parents Die Suddenly?
by Kim Estess, Attorney at Law
A client recently posed the following question to me:
A family protected by an effective estate plan"What happens to my children if my spouse and I go out for a date night and die in a car accident?"

Isn't that every parent's worst nightmare?  Designating a guardian for minor children is probably the biggest reason most young couples decide to do estate planning. But incredibly, this was the first time I've ever been asked this specific question or even considered it myself. (As the mother of a two year old, I feel a little guilty about that.)  Sure, we designate guardians for minor children in the Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney that we write for our clients, but how do the children get from Point A (home with a babysitter) to Point B (living with the designated guardian)?

I decided to do a little detective work and get to the bottom of this question.  My first step was to contact a licensed social worker and pick her brain about the real life practicalities of how children end up in temporary foster care (which my clients wanted to avoid) versus being placed with an appropriate adult friend or family member.  The social worker with whom I spoke told me that it is expensive to place a child in foster care, generally at least $100 per day/per child, and therefore, Children Services is not going to place a child in foster care if the child is safe with an adult who is willing to keep the child temporarily.
 
I followed up my conversation with the social worker with a telephone call to one of the magistrates at a local probate court. He told me that in emergency situations like the death of both parents, a guardian can be appointed fairly quickly.   Although the typical time frame for appointing a guardian for an incompetent person could be six weeks or more, the magistrate said that certainly wouldn't be the case for appointing a guardian of a minor child because, if both parents have died, there probably aren't very many next of kin to notify, and the next of kin are probably readily available anyway because the family may have come together to plan the funerals and care for the children in the interim. The magistrate agreed with the social worker that as long as the children are with a friend or family member, Children Services is unlikely to get involved.
 
What steps can you take to make sure your children end up in the hands of a trusted friend or family member until a guardian can be appointed by the court? I proposed the following to my social worker contact, who agreed this would be a good idea: leave a sheet of paper on the refrigerator or another prominent location in your home listing the names and contact information of several local loved ones who a babysitter should contact in the event that you don't return home (and can't be contacted) at the end of your scheduled time away.  Of course, you should be sure to notify the loved ones you've chosen and make sure they are willing to help in an emergency.  Before you leave your children in the care of a babysitter, you should ensure that the sitter knows about your emergency contact list and advise the sitter of the steps she or he should take if you don't return home as promised and cannot be reached.
 
As with most parts of estate planning, open communication is key. Talking to your family and friends in advance about your choices for guardian of your children, and also about who your interim emergency contacts would be, can help alleviate unnecessary fighting and hurt feelings in the midst of a bad situation.  Take the time to have open communication with everyone involved. With these few simple steps, you can be assured that your children would be cared for by a loved one if a tragic situation takes place.

Meet Our New Gatekeepers

This summer we have been entertained by a robin bird who made her nest on a wreath that is hanging on the entrance door to our office.  The robin laid its eggs about a month ago and then the little eggs hatched about two weeks later.  The mother bird now sits on the wreath and stands guard, fiercely protecting her babies from everyone who enters through our door.  

The little birdies haven't flown the coup yet, but they are getting big and will leave soon.  If you are near our office, feel free to stop by and see the babies before they leave the nest.

Practicing Cautiousness
Character

Because the legal profession is often criticized for lacking character, the employees at Roberson Law take the issue of character building very seriously. 

For the past ten years, our office has subscribed to a monthly journal from the company Strata Leadership.  The journal focuses on a character quality each month, with the sole purpose of encouraging companies to build character in their organizations.  The character quality that was highlighted last month was cautiousness.

According to Strata Leadership, the action plan for practicing cautiousness is: 
 1) Assess the situation. 
 2) Think carefully and creatively. 
 3) Follow up and follow through.

"The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence." -Proverbs 14:16
Ask The Experts Educational Seminar at NCR Country ClubSpeaking

Retired US Colonel and financial advisor, Rafi Rodriquez, is holding a free educational seminar at the NCR Country Club on August 27, 2016, that you are invited to attend.  The seminar is part of the Ask The Experts Educational Series that Rafi hosts for his clients.  The event is being held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will consist of a panel of speakers that include Nancy Roberson and some other professionals in the financial industry.  The professionals will speak on the topic of "How an Estate Plan and Long Term Care Strategy can Protect Your Assets in Retirement." Although there is no cost to attend, reservations are necessary because there is limited space.  Please RSVP to rafi@askrafi.com or call 937.427.4292.  Coffee and pastries will be provided.

If you would like Nancy to speak at your next event, please call 937.643.2000 or email Amy Cary at acary@dayton-attorney.com to book your event. Nancy has an inspiring story that captivates and motivates audiences to get their personal and legal affairs in order. 

As always, we do not charge a fee for our professional speaking services as long as you confirm that at least ten people will attend. If fewer than ten people attend the event, then we just request that a donation be made to the Young Widows or Widows Support Group. You may also go to our speaking engagements page on our website to read some testimonials from past attendees and to obtain more information about speaking topics.

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Upcoming Grief Support And Resources

This is a reminder that the Young Widows' Support Group (under age 50) meets on the first Thursday of each month from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and the Widows' Support Group (over age 50) meets on the first Friday of each month from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  (Dates may change, however, due to holiday conflicts.)  Both groups meet at Normandy United Methodist Church, located at 450 West Alex-Bell Road, Centerville, Ohio.  There is no cost to attend.  Following is the schedule for September and October:

September 1, 2:  The meeting in September will include the film "Invincible Summer," a movie about how grief has a natural progression like the seasons.

October 6, 7: The meeting topic will be "Laughter, Grief, and Tears: Embracing Life After Loss." 
 
For more information about the Young Widows' Support Group, visit the website, call Pam Walker at 937.672.8810, or email DaytonYWSG@aol.com.
 
For further information about the Widows' Support Group, call Sherry Matsel at 937.878.9707 or email imboo25@yahoo.com.

All material in this newsletter is Copyright 2016 by Nancy Roberson. All rights reserved. 937.643.2000.