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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MARITAL AGREEMENTS

MARITAL AGREEMENTS

Marital Agreements.  April 2017 By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. “Now last time, we were talking about marital agreements. Even if you hold everything separately, your spouse can have rights to the property when you die, and on a divorce.” Michele and Herb both shook their heads. “No divorces. Been there, done that. We’re committed to working things out.” “Good deal, but especially in this day and age when more marriages end in divorce than...

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THEIRS

THEIRS

Theirs.  March 2017 By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. Pleasantries over, they addressed the issues at hand. “We’ve decided” she said, “half to his kids and half to mine. So, because he has 2 kids and I have 3, but one is both of ours, it should be 5/12 to Gavin, 25% to his son, and 1/6 to each of my two from my first marriage.” “That’s right,” he affirmed. “But my son is getting my 401(k), so that’s his 25%.” “Whoa!” interrupted the lawyer. “I’m just...

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US’NS

US’NS

Us’ns.  February 2017 By Timothy S. Barkley, Sr. “Let’s start with your retirements,” the attorney continued from last week’s article (available online at http://barkleylaw.com/his-hers-and-ours-0117) … “Do you have a prenup?” The clients shook their heads. “I’m not a fan of building escape hatches into marriages,” the attorney confided, “but if you’ve agreed about things like 401(k)s and IRAs, it’s good to put those agreements in writing. That...

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HIS, HERS AND OURS

HIS, HERS AND OURS

His, Hers and Ours. January 2017 “So,” the attorney queried, “are all the kids the children of both of you? Are there any children of either of you that aren’t the children of both of you?” The husband replied, “I have one from my first marriage, and she” gesturing toward his wife “has two from hers.” She nodded, and interjected, “and we have one together.” “His, hers and ours,” the attorney observed. “That makes this ‘interesting.’ “Tell me...

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PROBATE AVOIDANCE ON A BUDGET

PROBATE AVOIDANCE ON A BUDGET

Probate Avoidance on a Budget. December 2016. [As published in Frederick’s Child] We shook hands and sat down. “Now, if I understood you correctly when you called to set the appointment, you are here to talk about wills.” “Well,” ventured the husband, “wills or trusts – I’m not sure what we need. We hear a lot about trusts.” The wife nodded. “My brother has a trust and says everybody should have one.” The lawyer pondered. “Trusts are a...

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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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