There is a great deal of confusion and mythology regarding estate planning. It’s a subject that healthy, busy people really don’t want to think about. Understandably, the thought of suddenly becoming unable to function (due to disease or a catastrophic illness) and needing to depend upon someone else, along with having to come to grips with the inevitability of death, can really be distressing. However, by taking methodical, concerted action by creating a well-advised estate plan, one can at least confront these unpleasant realities in a rational way.     The following are some examples of erroneous information some people have regarding estate planning:   1. “I don’t have a will and I don’t really own a lot of property, so what’s the problem if I die without one?” You DO have a problem. Without having a witnessed will that is also valid within your state, if you die as a single custodial parent, your surviving minor children run the chance of being taken care of by blood relatives of the probate court’s choosing—not yours. In addition, any remaining financial assets in your name will be evenly distributed to your immediate family members. Without a clear-cut estate plan, your surviving spouse may not have enough of your money to supplement his/her retirement income.   2. “If I become incapacitated, my executor will take care of everything.” WRONG . Your executor is someone you have designated in your will to carry out your wishes after you pass away. If you’re still alive, and find yourself in failing health, your executor can’t help you. With a smart estate plan, you can...


WHY “DO IT YOURSELF/FILL IN THE BLANK” WILLS & TRUSTS OFTEN RESULT IN DISASTER Retaining the services and expertise of an attorney who can assist you in preparing a smart estate plan requires a serious investment of time and money. The benefits (however) far outweigh whatever the upfront costs may be. Having the assurance and peace of mind that you and your family will be legally and financially protected in taking on the challenges of the future is inestimable. However, these guarantees vanish immediately when one chooses to forgo retaining experienced legal advice and opting for the “do-it-yourself” approach to estate planning. Many unpleasant scenarios and real potential dangers await those who want to save a few dollars in the short-term; and whose loved ones will probably end up having to pay tens of thousands of dollars correcting their mistakes. Everyone is unique. No two families are the same. The slick advertising that online legal services utilize (especially with using formercelebrity attorneys to pitch their offerings) cannot deny this simple fact: virtual legal document preparers that promise cheap, fill in the blank options for estate planning will never replace the professional, confidential relationship between a lawyer and his/her client. When circumstances require urgent technical advice and counsel, these do-it-yourself websites are of no use to a distraught client. Their staff is prohibited from rendering any kind of practical legal guidance to consumers. If you are making a terrible mistake in your estate planning, they can’t prevent you from doing so (the   unauthorized practice of law is a criminal offense in all 50 states). In addition, these online services...

What to do when your child returns to college after the holidays.

We are all worried about our children and especially what would happen to them if they got a severe case of Covid-19 and needed parental help while away at college.
When your child turned age 18, they became an adult in the eyes of the government.  And, although you may think they are still a kid, they have many rights that come with adulthood.


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is also known as “HIPAA”, is a body of laws enacted by Congress in 1996 which are designed to uphold and protect the transmission, confidentiality and privacy of our medical records and other related healthcare information (known collectively as Protected Health Information). No one can peruse your confidential files without your explicit approval. Those found violating this federal mandate are subject to fines, jail time, or both. The maximum penalty for flagrant disregard of this legislation is one million dollars and up to 10 years in federal prison. This governmental safeguard shields every U. S. citizen—including tabloid celebrities such as Charlie Sheen. Mr. Sheen was having a dental procedure performed recently, and his healthcare records/privacy became compromised. A dental assistant who worked there told her son that Mr. Sheen was going to be at her dental office on a particular date and time—which is a flagrant violation of HIPAA’s privacy protections. Instead of facing potential financial liability and incarceration, her boss simply fired her. In retaliation, this dental assistant leveled charges against Mr. Sheen saying that he had gone mad, “pulled out a knife,” and destroyed her workplace due to a violent reaction to nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas).   Sheen’s dentist/oral surgeon denied the allegations when questioned by the Los Angeles Police Department. In his professional opinion, the star’s reaction was a consequence of the anesthetic being mixed with prescription pain medication that Charlie was taking. In all likelihood, no charges will be filed against Mr. Sheen. This case underscores the value of HIPAA. It upholds (and has the...