NOW WHAT?

NOW WHAT?

By Tim Barkley. August 2019. The phone rang. The voice on the other end was subdued, but firm. “This is Ricky. You met with Susan and me about our mother. My wife just passed away.” Pause. “She had a heart attack and died at work yesterday. I need to know what to do – she didn’t have a will. Is the State going to take everything?” “I’m so sorry,” the lawyer empathized, then reassured, “and there’s nothing you really need to...

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NUPTIALS

NUPTIALS

By Tim Barkley. July 2019. It was Susan on the phone: “Can we get together?  I need you to look at a paper my fiancé gave me.” She came to the office with a large envelope in hand.  “My boyfriend finally asked me to marry him.  Then he gave me this and said I had to have a lawyer look at it.  It’s a prenup.” “When are you tying the knot?” “Oh, not for awhile, but he said he wanted me to think about this before we got too far down the...

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MOM’S TRUSTEE

MOM’S TRUSTEE

By Tim Barkley. June 2019. The lawyer greeted Susan as she entered the office.  She waved a large maroon notebook.  “I think we might have found the trust.  Is that what this is?  It’s about a million pages long.  We were going through some boxes in the basement and found this last night.” The lawyer carried the notebook to the conference room and leafed through it while Susan seated herself.  “Yep, this is a trust form used by lots of...

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LOST TRUST

LOST TRUST

By Tim Barkley. May 2019. Susan sounded uncharacteristically jubilant on the phone: “Big news! Mary was picked up for a DUI and has disappeared! I don’t think she’ll be causing any more trouble.” “That’s a relief,” replied the lawyer. “We’ll have to talk to your mother’s lawyer and see what she says about the guardianship, now that Mary’s out of the picture.” “I think it’s more than just the DUI,”...

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FLIP-FLOP

FLIP-FLOP

By Tim Barkley. April 2019. “Hi, Susan!” The attorney appeared to be talking nonsensically to himself, but everyone who saw him pacing outside his office could make out the telltale flashing blue light at his ear that indicated otherwise.  “Late-breaking news!  I’m going to be frank: you’re not going to like this but hear me out. “I just heard from your mother’s court-appointed lawyer, and she says that, after interviewing you...

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CONSTERNATION

CONSTERNATION

Consternation. March 2019. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. “Well, thank you for your time, your Honor.”  The hearing on emergency guardianship had concluded in manner not entirely satisfactory to Susan and her brothers. “All rise!” directed the bailiff, as the judge departed the courtroom.  Mary smirked at her siblings and left, wheeling her mother out.  Susan turned to the lawyer with a stunned expression: “What just happened?” “Well,” began her...

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WHAT DO I NEED?

WHAT DO I NEED?

What Do I need? February 2019. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. The handshakes concluded, the Johnsons sit across from the lawyer. “We need to get wills. We’re both in our seventies, and we’ve never had a will. And we think we might need a trust.” Mrs. Johnson interjects, “My cousin told me we should have a trust. She has one.” “Thank you,” responds their lawyer. “Tell me a little bit about yourselves. I see the two of you … kids?” “We have three,...

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SURPRISE!

SURPRISE!

Surprise! January 2019. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. Susan’s voice was urgent: “I’m at my mom’s place at the assisted living.  The social worker just told me that Mom signed a new power of attorney and replaced me.  Our sister Mary, who hasn’t been around or spoken to Mom for years, is the agent. The social worker said Mary showed up last week, and she thinks Mary brought a lawyer here to have Mom sign the power of...

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GIVE IT AWAY

GIVE IT AWAY

Give It Away. December 2018. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. Mom and Susan flanked the lawyer, who addressed Mom: “If I recall correctly, Susan and I had discussed making sure you qualify for Medicaid by giving some of your investment real estate to the kids. Is that what you want to talk about?” Susan assented, “Mom and I talked, and she agreed that the nursing home shouldn’t have everything.  She said she and Dad had worked hard to get what...

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CHANGE OF PACE

CHANGE OF PACE

Change of Pace. November 2018. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. The threesome came through the door slowly, helping along Mom on her walker.  The attorney welcomed them back to the conference room, helped to seat Mom and stow her hardware.  The trio declined coffee or tea, but Mom accepted a glass of water. A tall middle-aged woman, obviously accustomed to her role as spokesperson for the group, provided introductions.  “I’m Susan, this is...

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ACHING JOINTS. SOLUTIONS FOR JOINT OWNERSHIP.

ACHING JOINTS. SOLUTIONS FOR JOINT OWNERSHIP.

Aching Joints. October 2018. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. “When my husband died, my kids wanted me to put them on the house.  I haven’t done it yet – should I?  My daughter lives locally, and she’s on my accounts so that if something happens to me, she can take over.” Mrs. Selby was visiting her attorney to discuss updating her will after the death of her husband of over forty years.  She was testing “conventional wisdom” against...

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BY HOOK OR BY…

BY HOOK OR BY…

By Hook Or By… September 2018. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. The phone rings a lot. “My sister who lives with Mom never lets me talk to Mom or see her. When I call she hangs up the phone, and if I come to her house she pretends nobody is home. She even disconnected the doorbell. I think she told Mom I was dead. I just went to the adult day care that I heard Mom was at, and she was there, so I took her out to lunch. She cried and told me she...

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POWER OF ATTORNEY

POWER OF ATTORNEY

Power of Attorney. August 2018. By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. A power of attorney is one of the most important – but often overlooked – instruments in your arsenal against the vagaries of life. When you need it, it’s too late to get it, so you need to plan for yourself and your loved ones now. A power of attorney is a document that names one person, called the “attorney in fact” or “agent,” to act on behalf of another person, the “principal.” The...

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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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