GUARDIANSHIP

GUARDIANSHIP

Guardianship. July 2018. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. The lawyer’s telephone rang.  A man’s voice on the other end spoke urgently: “My name is Henry Jones.  My mother, Ophelia Jones, fell yesterday and is in the hospital.  I saw a power of attorney on her desk with your card.  Did she sign it?” “I’m sorry, Henry” replied the attorney.  “I hope she’ll be OK.  Your mother only took it home a few weeks ago to review it, and hadn’t called to set up a...

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LESS COMPLICATING

LESS COMPLICATING

Less Complicating. June 2018. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. First, the phone call. “Can you look over our wills and trusts?  It’s been a few years, and we want somebody to make sure they’re up-to-date. And we’re going on vacation and want to make sure everything is covered in case something happens.” Certainly. Let’s get together. Next week? The meeting. “We had this done about twenty years ago by a lawyer in Rockville. I read your articles, and I...

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CONSTRUCTING A PLAN

CONSTRUCTING A PLAN

By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. May 2018. Our last installment ended with our intrepid caregiver, Elizabeth, lamenting, “That’s what scares me.  Who can help me put together a plan?” Her attorney nodded.  “It is a scary situation.  The thought of your mother coming home from rehab to an apartment that she can’t access, living alone there with your father who has become unable to handle life’s realities, is frightening.” Elizabeth...

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THE SANDWICH SHOP

THE SANDWICH SHOP

By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. April 2018. The attorney’s phone rang. He activated his headset, “This is Tim.” “Good morning! This is Elizabeth Johnson. I need to talk to you. It’s about my parents. My mother fell last night, and was taken to a local hospital with a broken hip. She hit her head, too, when she fell. My dad is upset, and not making much sense.” They met a couple of hours later. “I’m sorry about your folks!” “Thank...

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MEET THE JOHNSONS

MEET THE JOHNSONS

By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. March 2018. The bell on the outside doorknob jangled, startling the attorney out of his reverie. It had been a long day, and there was another client appointment pending. He straightened, stretched and strode to the waiting room. A middle-aged couple stood waiting there. He held out his hand, introducing himself. They reciprocated, “Albert Johnson, but you can call me Bertie.” “Elizabeth Johnson, and please...

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I NEED A LAWYER

I NEED A LAWYER

By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. February 2018. “My brother said we should just download a will off the Internet for our mother, but that made me nervous. I didn’t understand it, and when I asked what things meant, he got mad at me. I don’t think he understood it, either.” I looked at the Will. It left everything to Mom’s three children, whom we will call A, B and C, and provided that if “any” of them died, the estate would be distributed to “their...

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NEW YEAR’S PLANNING

NEW YEAR’S PLANNING

By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. January 2018. With the opening of each year comes a new opportunity to consider your estate plan and make sure it is up-to-date – or to make one if you don’t have on already!  Because we are time-bound mortals, the change of seasons reminds us of changes in our lives and of their fragility. Have you ever drafted documents at all?  If not, you should know that the State’s choices on your behalf are not usually the best...

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JUST ANOTHER ESTATE PLAN

JUST ANOTHER ESTATE PLAN

By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. December 2017. “So first, I need to know a little about you. Married?” “Yes.” The hirsute gentleman nodded his head. “Will your spouse be joining us?” “No,” he said, “this is something I need to get done real soon. I leave for a business trip in a week and want this signed before I leave. Can you do that? I’ve been putting this off for a long time and promised the wife I’d get it done before I go.” “When do you...

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OUR TOWN

OUR TOWN

By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. November 2017. The man plucked at my elbow in the Post Office the other day.  “You’re that guy!” he exclaimed, “that guy who writes for the Messenger.”  Relieved that he had not mistaken me for some old enemy, I nodded and smiled. “Wait a minute, I know you!” said the lady in Wal-Mart a few weeks later.  “You write about wills for the paper.”    Pleased to be thus recognized, I allowed myself to be finagled into...

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EXECUTOR 102: WHAT DO I DO NOW?

EXECUTOR 102:  WHAT DO I DO NOW?

By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. October 2017. Uncle Herman has just died, and you have been duly selected as the Executor of his Last Will and Testament.  Hopefully, you were forewarned.  Congratulations. You must marshal, preserve, and distribute the assets of the Estate in accordance with the terms of the Will and the Law; and treat creditors, beneficiaries, and the taxing authority impartially.  This can be no small feat.   If you are also a...

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EXECUTOR 101: SO YOU’RE AN EXECUTOR

EXECUTOR 101:  SO YOU’RE AN EXECUTOR

By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. September 2017. You have just been notified that you are the executor of your uncle’s will – the uncle whose funeral you attended yesterday. Or, he didn’t die yet, but he confided that fact at the latest family gathering on the occasion of your parents’ golden anniversary. Or, perhaps you’re the uncle trying to decide on who to bestow that signal honor, as you rewrite your will after the...

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KEEPING CURRENT

KEEPING CURRENT

Are you really as prepared as you hope you are? If your will is yellowing with age, if your power of attorney has your old address on it… then consider updating your documents.

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WHY DO I NEED A LAWYER?

WHY DO I NEED A LAWYER?

By Tim Barkley. July 2017. “Why do I need a lawyer? I can just download a will from the Internet.” The technology has changed, but the question has been around seemingly forever. Twenty years ago, the will was a “freebie” on tax software, or was included in a software package bought at an office supply store. Before that, it was a form purchased at the stationery store, with blanks to be filled in by hand or on a...

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YOU HAVE THE POWER

YOU HAVE THE POWER

You Have the Power. June 2017. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. The phone rang. The voice was urgent. “My son is away at school and was just in an accident. I called to see how he was and the doctor said that because John is 19, he can’t talk to me without a signed power of attorney or a HIPAA release form. Can you help me?” “Is your son able to sign papers?” “They won’t tell me, and they say he can’t talk on the phone.” “I guess you’ll have to go...

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