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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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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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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