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May 2014 Archives

Estate Planning: Family Meetings

Estate Planning: Family Meetings You’ve signed the documents, made the decisions about your social media and your assets, you’ve funded your trust and you’ve chosen your business successor. Congratulations – your estate planning is complete! …Or is it? Have you spoken about your estate plans with your family? Do they known the ins and outs of how your expect your plan to work, and to whom responsibilities will fall if you die or are incapacitated? Do they understand why you’ve made the decisions you have?It may be time for a family meeting. A well-run family meeting will help your family understand your plans and avoid confusion. Involving your estate planning expert may help you explain everything to your family about your choices and your wishes and they will be able to answer any questions they may have. This will also give them a chance to become acquainted and make it easier for them to cooperate in your absence.Make sure these meetings have an agenda set in place, with an outline of your objectives and the topics you want to cover. If the meeting becomes emotional you will want to ensure you’ve touched on everything you want to say. You do not need to disclose any monetary or asset values, this meeting is only for a general explanation of what you want and why. You should expect and encourage questions.This meeting may be nervewracking, especially in a blended family. There may be a child present who you do not believe is financially prepare to handle an inheritance or a family member that you don’t feel you can trust to manage your estate. You will need to be prepared for those difficult discussions. You’ll want to make sure you set your meeting place in an appropriate and comfortable place, at a time that everyone can accommodate. A traditional family gathering may be convenient, but if the discussion will be upsetting it may spoil and important family trip. Schedule your beginning and ending time and set those boundaries firmly. Finally, ensure this meeting is limited solely to adults to avoid the distraction of young children.At The Law Center our experts have experience in planning these family meetings and helping you discuss your wishes with your family. Call The Law Center today at 303-991-5200 to schedule your free initial consultation today! : The Law Center PC

Weekly FAQ #4: What Happens if My Spouse Gets a Really Good Divorce Attorney?

Weekly FAQ #4: What Happens if My Spouse Gets a Really Good Divorce Attorney? For someone going through a divorce, it can be alarming to realize your spouse has retained a lawyer with a lot of experience. What you may not realize is your spouse selecting an experienced divorce attorney may actually be to your benefit.A divorce attorney who has specialized in this area of law has the unique benefit of knowing what has happened in a similar case previously and knowing what you and your spouse may each be entitled to; the best thing you can do in response is get a very experienced attorney of your own. If both you and your spouse have divorce attorneys who specialize in this area of law, they will be able to help negotiate your settlements with very little time spent in court. How is this to your benefit?Going to court and mediators is a costly process, and a lawyer that can help you avoid that necessity can help prevent your divorce from being more of a financial hardship than it has to be. Before you become overwhelmed when you realize who your spouse has retained as their divorce attorney, contact The Law Center at 303-991-5200 right away and schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys to find out how we can help you navigate your divorce. : The Law Center PC

Estate Planning: Don’t Forget Social Media!

Estate Planning: Don’t Forget Social Media! It hasn’t been long since all of our financial and tax records were on paper. We could contain them in a filing cabinet or a folder and let our chosen representative know “it’s all right there” for a situation when they may need to pull those records for you. However, now we have computers and we havethe Internet – much of our lives is documented almost exclusively online. Unless we remember to include our social media and digital assets in our estate planning, the person we’ve chosen to represent us may not be able to find those critical documents.If you scan your statements, or receive them electronically, someone may not even be aware that they exist. If you prefer to use Quicken or Quickbooks to manage your finances or online tax software, all of those records will be in your computer. Facebook pages, emails, photos stored online, and blogs would likely be of special importance to your family and they should be able to access them. Almost all of this information will be password protected. Unless you make arrangements with your family or trusted representative, that information may be impossible for them to recover.Estate planning for your social media and digital assets is not entirely different from planning for other assets. You must make a list of everything you have and its location, choose someone to represent you, and give that person access. You may also want to provide direction as to what you want done with these assets after you’ve passed.Categorizing your assets (software, hardware, social media) will help make the task of going through your online accounts less daunting. Beside each account you should add the domain name, your username, password, and any PIN numbers. Keep this list somewhere safe – if you choose to keep it on your computer, ensure it is a password protected file and give that file to your trusted representative.Make sure you consider what you’d like to do with your assets. As an example, if you have a website or a blog and wish for it to remain up, leave instructions for a successor. If your site is currently producing, or may produce, income make sure your successor knows about this fact. If you have anything on your computer that you want passed on to family or friends, ensure they are in a 'do not delete’ folder and they are clearly noted on your inventory list.You will likely want to leave instructions for your representative to close down accounts to prevent identity theft. This person will need to be able to obtain a copy of your death certificate to do so, and naming them as a co-trustree or –executor will make this task more viable for them by giving them a legal authority to act on your behalf.As with all estate planning, including your online presence will require time and thought but will ultimately make things easier for your family later. Call The Law Center today at 303-991-5200 and schedule your free consultation today to discuss your planning needs!source : The Law Center PC

Weekly FAQ #3: How Should I Choose a Divorce Attorney?

Weekly FAQ #3: How Should I Choose a Divorce Attorney? When going through a divorce, a common concern is “how do I choose an attorney?” It’s not unusual for the reflexive choice to be going with the least expensive attorney – divorce is frequently financially devastating. However, there are other factors that it’s important to remember when selecting the right attorney.An important factor when considering the expense of a lawyer is their support staff. Does your potential lawyer have a full staff, or is he or she working on their own? Hiring a lawyer with a lower hourly fee but no support staff can ultimately cost you quite a bit more. A lawyer without a support staff will be doing the legwork on your case on their own, which means that hourly charge will be applied to everything done for you. However, a lawyer with a staff will have paralegals and associates to handle the paperwork and reduce your cost.Remember that choosing a divorce attorney is not quite the same as selecting any other type of attorney. Your divorce attorney will be the person who will help you and your spouse divide your assets, negotiate any spousal maintenance, arrange child custody, and will be the person protecting you from as much of the financial backlash of your divorce as possible.Choose a lawyer with the experience and support to get you what you deserve – call The Law Center, PC today at 303-991-5200 and schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced, and well-supported, divorce attorneys! : The Law Center PC

Felony Drunk Driving Law Bill Dies in Committee

Felony Drunk Driving Law Bill Dies in Committee Yesterday, House Bill 1036 – a drunk driving law aimed at making repeated DUIs a felony – was shot down with a vote of three Republicans to four Democrats. Despite support from Senator Mike Johnston (D-CO), the drunk driving law did not convince the opposition that it would be an effective deterrent. The main cited concern by Senator Pat Steadman (D-Den) was the possibility that this bill would simply increase incarceration rates and costs without preventing intoxicated individuals from getting behind the wheel. Senator Steadman maintained that harsher drunk driving laws such as this do not prevent motorists from driving drunk; and those who repeatedly get behind the wheel while intoxicated need treatment, not prison.A study performed at the University of Oregon seems to support Senator Steadman’s theory – harsher punishments do not seem to have a significant impact on the recidivism rate of intoxicated drivers, therefore meaning a Felony DUI may not be the most appropriate response to the behavior. Instead those who repeatedly drink to intoxication and get behind the wheel may be better served by a treatment program.If you or someone you know is facing trial for a DUI, call The Law Center today at 303-991-5200 and schedule your free consultation with our drunk driving law experts right away!(Read the entire study here: : The Law Center PC

Current Event: Huguette Clark Estate Controversy

Current Event: Huguette Clark Estate Controversy News StoryHuguette Clark, the youngest daughter of Idaho State Senator William Clark, a copper tycoon, died in 2011 at 104 years old. Her death set off a series of lawsuits and estate claims that have spanned three years and cost millions. Nineteen relatives have come forward and over $34million has changed hands for court fees.A woman named Lori Ann Sellers also came forward with a claim to a mansion known as “Bellosguardo” using a torn page from a book with “Cabrillo Mansion is Yours!” written with Ms. Clark’s signature. Ultimately her case for ownership was thrown out due to a statute of limitations on how long she could wait to file for possession using this sort of document, and the lack of substantiating documentation.What if Ms. Huguette had truly wanted Bellosguardo to go to Ms. Sellers? What if that note had been her legitimate attempt to make this happen? She was known for being incredibly generous and for lavish gifts to those she liked. However, she made one huge error: she didn’t have an iron-clad will to prevent her family members from suing and debating to whom the money would go – unfortunately even the best estate planning can’t always prevent this, greed is a powerful motivator – and she didn’t write up a proper deed of transfer for Ms. Sellers.The Law Center, PC is available at 303-991-5200 for a consultation to discuss your estate and what you want to happen with it. Without proper planning in place you may not be able to ensure your assets are distributed the way you want them to be. : The Law Center PC

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