IMPORTUNITY KNOCKS

IMPORTUNITY KNOCKS

By Tim Barkley. November 2016. Elderly and alone, my client had faced the future with fear. Widowed and childless, she relied on her money to secure her the attentions of her neighbors and nieces. Money was the carrot; the stick was her threat to write them out of the will. Ambitious and unscrupulous, some of the recipients believed they had found an opportunity too good to pass up. They became perpetually importunate, sad faces masking an...

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HOME ALONE II

HOME ALONE II

By Tim Barkley. October 2016. Last month’s offering to our readers considered the effect of the Inheritance Tax on folks without spouse, siblings or children as estate beneficiaries. This month’s article offers practical steps to ease the task of your surviving nieces, nephews, friends or other loved ones as they try to sort out your affairs. First, and most basically, be sure your estate planning documents are up-to-date, and that...

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HOME ALONE

HOME ALONE

By Tim Barkley. September 2016. Estate planning is often discussed in the context of the “typical American family” – Mom, Dad and 1.8 happily adjusted children. But what if that’s not you? Planning for unmarried, divorced or widowed clients who have no children presents a special challenge to the planning professional, and requires ingenuity and resourcefulness to avoid the traps for the unwary. The parents of the “typical American...

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TO TRUST… OR NOT

TO TRUST… OR NOT

By Tim Barkley. August 2016. “Do I need a living trust? I’ve heard a lot about them, and my brother said I need to get one. He has one, and he says it helps avoid probate. What is probate, anyway?” A living trust is a useful tool for many situations, but is not needed in every estate plan. Just as a hammer is sometimes, but not always appropriate (think of using it to clear your windshield of ice), so a living trust is not always indicated....

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REWRITES

REWRITES

By Tim Barkley. July 2016. “My wife just passed away,” the client said, matter-of-fact mien betrayed by a moistening of the eyes. “She was my power of attorney and executor of my will. I think I need new papers.” “I’m sorry to hear,” the lawyer replied. “When did she die?” “Around Valentine’s day,” the client clarified. “The kids and I have been working through things and I think this is the last thing I need to do.” “So was everything in joint...

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THE EDUCATED CLIENT

THE EDUCATED CLIENT

By Tim Barkley. May 2016. The lawyer nodded. “I think I understand your situation,” he said. “Here’s what I advise …” Some time later, the client still looked uncertain. “Could you go over that again? I feel silly not getting it the first time through, but I really don’t understand.” “I’m sorry,” replied the lawyer. “Let me try this … Here’s another way to look at it.” With a few quick pen strokes he sketched a flowchart...

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ACHING JOINTS. SOLUTIONS FOR JOINT OWNERSHIP.

ACHING JOINTS. SOLUTIONS FOR JOINT OWNERSHIP.

By Tim Barkley. April 2016. “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 professional advice. Her four...

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WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO DO? LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO DO? LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION

By Tim Barkley. March 2016. The smartphone on the desk erupted in a coruscant display and intermittent insistent buzzing. The readout said “Mrs. Jones.” “Good afternoon, this is Tim,” intoned the lawyer. “How can I help you, Mrs. Jones?” There was a silence. “Hello, Mrs. Jones, this is Tim. How can I help you?” “Oh, it’s you! I expected to have to leave a message at this time of day.” “You might have, but that’s not your luck today – you’re...

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GETTING TO KNOW YOU – ESTATE PLANNING PROCESS

GETTING TO KNOW YOU – ESTATE PLANNING PROCESS

By Tim Barkley. February 2016. In beginning the estate planning process, your estate planning attorney should begin by getting to know you. Planning is for people. It is not a technician’s exercise in efficiency, though it must be both effective and efficient. Planning is about you and your values, not about taxes or money or assets. Your assets, money, and tax situation should be aligned with your values, and not the other way around....

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WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

By Tim Barkley. January 2016. The voice on the lawyer’s phone was generally steady, but shook now and then. “This is Mrs. Jones. My husband just died last week. What do I need to do?” The lawyer offered condolences – even though he had not known the Joneses, he sympathized with a grieving spouse. Mrs. Jones agreed to meet the lawyer in his office the following day. “What do I do now?” she asked. “He didn’t have a will. I’ve heard that the State...

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TIS THE GIFT

TIS THE GIFT

By Tim Barkley. December 2015. The text message was from Susan: “How much can my fiancé’s mom give away in a year?” I called her back. Some things are best handled in person. “What’s up?” “Thanks for calling right back! My fiancé’s mom wants to give money to her kids before the end of the year so she can get a tax write-off. I knew there was a limit of $10,000 or something. And Bobby’s worried about how much tax he’ll have to pay on what he...

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NUPTIALS

NUPTIALS

By Tim Barkley. November 2015. 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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YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING!

YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING!

By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. October 2015. “You gotta be kidding!” Her voice was excited as she looked down at the test results. “We’re pregnant! After trying and trying … we’re finally pregnant!” He smiled and grasped her hand, squeezed softly. Their eyes met and both chorused “Now what?” Fast-forward nine months. A little bundle of joy has descended into their lives and transformed them and their relationship. The baby’s room is decorated, the...

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THANK YOU, MOUNT AIRY!

THANK YOU, MOUNT AIRY!

This is a wonderful place to raise a family, to build life and a business, and to make friends. Thank you, Mount Airy, for twenty delightful years. We look forward to many more.

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