<![CDATA[Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Nickerson - Blog]]>Thu, 18 Apr 2019 13:43:52 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Runnin' Down Tom Petty's Dream: His Estate Plan & Blended Family Dilemma]]>Wed, 10 Apr 2019 19:08:50 GMThttp://jeffreycnickersonlaw.com/blog/running-down-tom-pettys-dream-his-estate-plan-blended-family-dilemma
Written by Robert T. Nickerson

If you've seen The Sound of Music or The Brady Bunch, you'd think that the blended family life is all laughs, songs, and potato sack races with no problems. The children with new brothers and sisters are now smiling and happy that they've got a new parent. The truth is that not all set-families are lucky this way. There's also the unfortunate "Cinderella" situation when an original parent dies, leaving their child with the stepparent they married. Let's just hope they don't end up in Cinderella's situation where she's valued less then the stepsisters.
 
Unfortunately, should a parent pass away, its common that stepchildren and stepparents' relationships don't improve. It could even get worse. 
 
Popular musician Tom Petty died in October 2017 at sixty-six from an accidental overdose. He was survived by his adult children, Adria Petty and Annakim Violette, and his wife, Danna York. Danna is not the daughter's mother and the children came from Petty's first marriage. This has led to a feud between the daughters and the stepmother as their relationship was already not on the best of terms.
 
On paper, it seemed that Tom Petty was ready for death. He had a trust plan to help distribute and control his assets at his passing, giving his wife legal power with additional input from his daughters. A trust, if set up properly, can help families avoid the trouble of probate court and make the process of transferring assets and inheritance to a successor fiduciary. In this matter, it was for Petty's spouse. In most cases, this is a good thing as inheritances will be able to process faster and the overall administration becomes less bureaucratic and expensive. But because of a situation involving Petty's family, they are finding themselves in probate court. 
 
Because of some apparent tension and anger between the stepmother and stepdaughters, the widow had recently filled a petition asking the court to appoint a manager to handle the decision-making for Petty's estate. Dana had claimed that Petty had tried to work with his daughters, but disagreements had made things harder. It seems to revolve around unreleased music tracks that were made twenty-five years ago. Dana had wanted those recordings to be included on an anniversary rerelease of Petty's album, Wildflowers. His daughters disagree. 
 
Adria Petty then filled a petition in probate court saying that because Dana failed to make a limited liability holding the artistic properties of Tom Petty, per his estate plan. The company, she claims, would be divided amongst the widow and children. 
 
This happens a lot more then people realize. Blended families and multiple marriages can create these kinds of situations when an estate is administered. Parents of children from previous marriages will usually employ legal techniques to help their non-marital children are cared for upon one's passing, in addition to a surviving spouse. 
 
There are a lot of route this could go without proper planning. A lot of spouses could set things up so that the children of one who passed can receive an inheritance, even if their not the children of the decedent. But it could also lead to a third or forth spouse to use the inheritance through their lifetime, leaving no assets for the children to receive. 
 
The artistry and creativity in the estate of someone great like Tom Petty was going to create a lot of emotional decisions for his survivors. It seems like Petty tried his hardest to make his children and spouse a part of the decision making as best as possible. You really can't blame him for this kind of thing. It just so happens that people are going to have different sides to what they think their loved one "would have wanted to happen". In any estate plan management, firm management is needed. There not there to make everyone happy, but to see that action is taken with the guidelines set in. 
 
When choosing administrators and fiduciaries, make sure they are willing and ready to make sound decisions and if they can handle that kind of responsibility. Or in the words of Tom Petty, "Someone who won't back down". 

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<![CDATA[Estate Planning Around College Bound Children]]>Thu, 04 Apr 2019 21:11:35 GMThttp://jeffreycnickersonlaw.com/blog/estate-planning-around-college-bound-children
 Written by Robert T. Nickerson

​Upon scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feed each spring to see posts about parents and their child's acceptance into college. It's an exciting time for them and the next chapter in both their lives. The children are growing up and the parents are going to face a new challenge of guiding that.
 
What this also means are the new things parents are going to want to help in; suggesting college majors and classes, getting the right dorm room, making sure they'll get a long with their roommates, maybe encourage them to join a fraternity & sorority. It's a lot to consider with the possibilities, but it's no secret that parents will also think about losing control of their child once they become independent on their eighteenth birthday. 
 
Many parents will have not considered an estate plan yet at this point, as they'll assume they need to wait until their older or wealthier. There are many reasons why estate planning should be thought about when their child is going off to college. 
 
Estate Planning is more then a will. Estate Plans will contain a bunch of documents that are legal binding and play a part in a variety of life events. One of them is a will and end of life plans. It may also be wise to think about healthcare proxies, a durable power of attorney, and a living will before they go off. But does this all mean?
 
  1. A will outlines plans for dealing and assistant in personal property.This can all include a vehicle, computers, smartphones, digital accounts, and even home collections they started back in high school.
  2. A power of attorney can establish parents to legally help with financial and education information for their adult child.This allows parents to access digital accounts, student loans, and even bank accounts. 
  3. A Health care proxy can help parents make medical decisions in the event of a problem or accident.Let's say your nineteen year-old got into a car accident after a night of partying, had to be admitted to the hospital. Due to laws in places, the parents wouldn't be able to access medical records or make the necessary decisions. A health care proxy is one of the important things to set up. 
  4. A living will can help a child die with dignity.As dark as this subject is, this is also important to discuss. Should a child get into a situation that puts them in a vegetable state, they may not want to stay on life support and live that way for the rest of their life. 
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<![CDATA[5 Estate Planning Tactics for Singles]]>Tue, 26 Mar 2019 19:49:01 GMThttp://jeffreycnickersonlaw.com/blog/5-estate-planning-tactics-for-singles
Written by Robert Nickerson

Are you about to face retirement, but are single without any children? If that's you, then chances are you haven't thought a lot about estate planning and what that entitles. Perhaps you spent most of your time putting all your focus on your career and saving your money. Maybe you spent a lot of time on exotic vacations and education instead. No one lives forever and as you get closer to retirement, thinking about an estate plan will become more crucial. Here are some things you ought to consider doing as your first steps. 
 
Execute a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy
These are important for when your still alive and will give you the ability to appoint someone to make medical and legal decisions if your incapacitated. As you are single, you'll need to find someone you can trust with those hard problems. Once you die, then the both Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy are no longer binding, so this is where a will and trust is preferred.
 
Make a Will
Who do you want in charge of your estate and your assets? This is the person you trust that'll be able to maintain your responsibilities, pay required income and taxes, and even probate the will if needed. Whoever you want to benefit from you will, should be set up through a revocable trust.
 
Create a Revocable Trust
When you are alive, you should be the primary beneficiary. But this becomes different when your dead and need to figure out whom you want to receive your assets. This is called naming beneficiaries. Do you want to provide a loved one with a place to stay? Or do you have a collection that you feel someone is deserving of? If there is something else, like a cash fund you want to give to someone that's young, but too young to receive them at the moment. That's when you set it up so that they don't receive the benefit until their old enough to manage the money. Who will control that? That's called the trustee and can be set up for anyone. Perhaps it's you? Or you want to name a successor for that trustee to manage that fund? As a single person, this will be a curtail thing to consider when dealing with beneficiaries.
 
Fund the Trust Now
This is also important; If you start putting something away into the fund now, the trustee will be able to manage it with ease once you gone. If you don’t, then someone close too you will have to petition it in probate court in order to be approved. This will become an expensive and time-consuming problem to deal with later on. Funding the trust will give you the ability to control that and pick who will manage that. 
 
Consider Estate Taxes
This is one area that doesn't get looked at as single people usually don't care if their beneficiaries receive less while the government gets more. There are some options available to increase the amount beneficiaries receive. Charitable donations don't have to surrender as much. Lifetime gifts are also a good option. 
 
Single people have no reason to wait to the last minute, even though a lot of people do. Death bed planning is a major burden and a waste of your lingering time. Call our office to plan something out and avoid a headache. 
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<![CDATA[DOG BITES: WHAT DOG BITE VICTIMS AND DOG OWNERS SHOULD KNOW]]>Wed, 13 Mar 2019 18:13:57 GMThttp://jeffreycnickersonlaw.com/blog/dog-bites-what-dog-bite-victims-and-dog-owners-should-know
BY MORTON J. GRABEL, ESQ. & MARK R. DENNING, ESQ.
THE LAW OFFICE OF MORTON GRABEL, APLC
 
As I am sure you can imagine, all dog bites are shocking to the victim especially if it was unexpected and unprovoked. Further, some dog bites result in serious injuries; and in the worst case death can result from the most vicious attacks. Also, a dog bite can result in permanent scarring, nerve damage and a significant risk of infection. Often there is residual psychological harm that extends far beyond the physical injury. Therefore laws have been passed to protect and/or compensate the victim of a dog attack based on the legal theories of strict liability and negligence.
 
I) You should note in California, there is no "one free bite" rule.
 
II) STRICT LIABILITY.  Certain California dog bite statutes impute strict liability on the dog owner for damages to any person bitten by the dog.  It is not even necessary to show the owner was negligent, or had knowledge the animal was vicious.   
 
California Civil Code section 3342 provides as follows:
3342.  (a) The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.......etc etc  
This statute is “designed...to prevent dogs from being a hazard to the community.” Davis v. Glaschler (1992) 11 Cal.App.4th 1392, 1399. The policy behind the law is that innocent victims should have their damages covered by those who choose to own dogs that bite. In essence, “the owner is virtually an insurer of the dog’s conduct”, a dog owner is expected to be vigilant in preventing his dog from biting anyone.
Under the dog bite statute, all the victim needs to show to recover from the dog owner is the victim was “in a public place or lawfully in a private place” when bitten. See Delay v. Braun (1944) 63 Cal.App.2d 8, 146 P.2d 32 (plaintiff was lawfully on defendant’s property when bit by defendant’s dog while walking on the driveway of the home to find the defendant to discuss defendant’s tutoring of plaintiff’s grandchild).
 
III) There is also a second theory of strict liabilitywhen the dog owner defendant knows of certain propensities, for example a tendency to bite, attack, scratch or aggressively jumping on humans [ a leaping dog]. (See Drake v. Dean (1993) 15 Cal.App.4th 915, 19 Cal.Rptr.2d 325).  This theory is useful when there is no actual bite. For example, if the dog jumped and knocked the victim down as in Drake v. Dean.  The owner’s or keeper’s knowledge of a dog’s vicious or dangerous propensities may be inferred by (1) the general reputation of the dog, (2) the size and breed of the dog, or (3) the fact that the dog is kept chained or muzzled. (Smith v. Royer (1919) 181 Cal. 165, 170).
 
IV) NEGLIGENCE-  Another theory of liability is to show the dog owner was negligent.  One way to show negligence is when the owner allowed the dog to run uncontrolled in violation of the local leash law; for example inboth Temecula and Murrieta, there are municipal codes, and often other local laws intended to protect the public from animals that are unleashed. This is called ‘negligence per se” and places the burden on the defendant to give explanation for the violation of the local law.
 
V) LANDLORD’S LIABILITY. A landlord can be held liable for failure to remove a tenant’s dangerous dog from the property. In Portillo v. Aiassa (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 1128, the court stated: “We hold that a landlord has a duty to exercise reasonable care in the inspection of his commercial propertyand to remove a dangerous condition, which includes a dog, from the premises, if he knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care would have known, the dog was dangerous and usually present on the premises.”  In that case, the plaintiff was bitten in a liquor store by a dog owned by the tenant who was operating the business. The court noted it is reasonably foreseeable that guard dogs in commercial establishments open to the public will injure someone. The court also held the landlord could not avoid liability by failing to inspect the premises and thereby claim that he had no knowledge of the dog.
residential landlordwith actual knowledge of a tenant’s dangerous dog can be held liable to an injured victim, but the landlord has no duty to inspect the premises for such an animal.  The landlord is under no duty to inspect the premises for the purpose of discovering the existence of a tenant’s dangerous animal; only when the landlord has actual knowledge of the animal, coupled with the right to have it removed from the premises, does a duty of care arise.” Uccello v. Laudenslayer (1975) 44 Cal.App.3d 504.
 
*The Office of Morton Grabel, APLC represents dog bite victims under Civil Tort Law. This office has recovered millions of dollars for our clients in Riverside County. 
 
Please note by reading the information above & herein, no attorney-client relationship has been created. Moreover, the information provided herein is not be relied upon as legal advice for your specific legal needs. Should you have legal questions feel free to contact Attorney Morton J. Grabel in Temecula at (951) 695- 7700. Mort, originally from Philadelphia PA, attended an ABA Law School, has an MBA, a Real Estate Broker's License, a CA Nursing Home Administrator's License and is a member in good standing of various local Chambers of Commerce.  

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<![CDATA[A Gift or Loan? Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid]]>Wed, 06 Mar 2019 21:25:13 GMThttp://jeffreycnickersonlaw.com/blog/a-gift-or-loan-estate-planning-mistakes-to-avoid
Written by Robert Nickerson

Here's a quick scenario for you. Let's say you have a child that wanted some extra money to help buy his dream home. You want to be sure that he'll be safe with it, but you also want to check your estate plan (if you have one already). You understandably want to figure out how to handle this kind of gift if you can even call it a gift at all. So your question is probably whether to make reference to it in the estate plan or to treat it as an early development inheritance.

In order to figure that out, here are some things you need to figure out.

You first need to figure out what it is you want to give your child: a loan or a gift. It's hard to figure that out as the lines are often blurred. It's best to remember that the two are completely different things. A loan is when you expect to be paid back, and I mean that fully. Not a partial loan or a "Pay when you can and maybe get it all done" loan. Even if it wasn't documented, if it's something your gonna get back, then it's a loan. If it's in the category of not expecting any payment back, then it's a gift.

There are a cople of reasons why it's important to distinguish the two. If it's a loan, then there is a set debt and is now an asset of the estate. For example, if you were to loan out $200,000 to a child and it's not repaid before you die, they'll still owe money to the estate.

If it was a gift, then the only thing you'll need to think about is with it be being reported as a gift property. It will not likely affect the estate unless noted.

A good way to handle a gift is to note that the gift was an advancement and to use that as a reduction in the inheritance share.

It'll be more complicated if the funds were a loan. The debt can be forgiven, but it'll be a tax nightmare without the right paperwork. Since it would be a part of the estate, a personal representative should be able to recover it. It'll help calculate it in terms as a part of the inheritance. 

Anyone has a lot of options with how money and inheritance is treated when their alive. When their dead, the options become narrow, so it's better to think about this now. Talk to your attorney about it. 

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<![CDATA[No Kids? Why You Still Need an Estate Plan]]>Thu, 14 Feb 2019 20:40:43 GMThttp://jeffreycnickersonlaw.com/blog/no-kids-why-you-still-need-an-estate-plan
Written by Robert T. Nickerson

Estate planning is not a process where one style will do for anyone. It's very personal that requires each one to be customized. Perhaps with the exception of a significant other, it can become intimidating to figure out those tough decisions when there are no close family members. It's more common then people realize, which makes a lot of people put off their strategy to finish their estate plan or not even at all. If your having trouble, here are some ideas that can put you at ease.
 
Plan for Incapacity
Everyone should have someone ready to direct their decisions for health care and a power of attorney. This is best done through an advanced directive for healthcare document. This be able to legally determine how your demands are carried through, in the event where something bad (car crash, coma, etc…) prevents you from making those decisions. Without this piece of paper, not even your wife can make legal choices for you. Without it, your relatives with be dealt with a bureaucratic court proceeding to plan out a guardianship or conservatorship to appoint someone to make these decisions (which could end up as someone you don't know)
 
Consider a Trust
This is a legal document that can used to manage your assets and help carry out your decisions in the event of your death. Its has two elements in your favor. A trust will avoid a probate issue and it allows you to give out an inheritance in a protected manner. 
Probate is a court development that figures out who is entitled to an asset in your name when your dead. The American court system will send out notice to your closed relatives, known as heirs. If your not married or ever had children, then your closest would be your parents. Don't have parents? Then your sibling get control. No brother or sister? Then it's be your grandparents, then great aunts, uncles, and cousins. It’s a possibility that your closest relative on paper could be someone you've never met or don't want in charge. 
If you don't have at least a will, the "state determined closest relative" will be the one to inherit your stuff. Though even with the will, they still have a chance to interrupt, find out about the worth of your assets and go to court to try and change that. 
The best strategy is to have a trust created. You should plan to have your assets own within the trust, thus avoiding a potential probate issue.
 
Whose is Charge?
Each trust needs someone to be the leader once your gone, which is called a "trustee". A trustee can either be a real person or a business like a financial institution. A trustee ensures your assets are distributed to the guidelines you’ve set into place. This is why it's important to chose someone or something that is responsible and trusting. 
If there isn't anyone one you trust, then your best bet is to select a professional, such as an attorney, accountant, or a trust company. These people will charge you for their services, but it’s often worth it to know that your assets are in good hands.
 
What to Do with Your Assets
Let's say you have parents you want to be sure are taken care of. Or someone else in the family or even a friend. It can be difficult to figure out just how one is benefited from your assets. Your attorney can review the best way to be carried out. Again, a trust may be the best way. 
Charities can also be included in estate plan. If the gift to the charity is…generous, then the organization can be contacted before to ensure that the contribution is going to the area you desire. 
 
Don't Forget the Animals
We don't want to keep Rover or Lassie out of your plan. Of course we want to make sure that your pets will be cared for after your gone. This can be done by leaving them with someone who can be a good owner. Or a pet trust can also be set up. It's just important to plan out for your pet, just as a parent would for a 
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<![CDATA[Wildomar Library hosts fraud prevention workshop]]>Thu, 07 Feb 2019 20:28:25 GMThttp://jeffreycnickersonlaw.com/blog/wildomar-library-hosts-fraud-prevention-workshop
Written by Jeff Pack

​Fraud prevention experts provided insight Saturday, Jan. 26, to a room of roughly two dozen attendees at Wildomar Library at an event sponsored by the Friends of the Wildomar Library.

Attorney Jeffrey C. Nickerson, who specializes in estate planning with a focus on special needs trusts spoke at length about elder abuse and fraud.

He told the crowd that $40 billion is lost in telemarketing fraud each year. 

He said, worldwide, nearly 35.6 million people live with dementia and that the number of people suffering from the disease will double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050, according to the World Health Organization. 

A person in the U.S. develops Alzheimer's disease every 66 seconds. 

"That's because people are living longer," he said. "So it's important to recognize that those elderly people are vulnerable to things like fraud and abuse."

Nickerson said that according to the National Council on Aging – 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse.

The National Center of Elder Abuse said that in 2010 there were 5,961,568 elder abuse cases brought in the United States.

"But this is a really underreported crime," Nickerson said. "Most of the time, if a family member is suspected of doing something like this, the victim mostly just wants someone to go in and make the family member stop abusing them. They don't want their son or grandson arrested."

Nickerson said that California has the highest number of reports of elder abuse and that Riverside County had 71 cases last year. 

"Although I think that number is relatively low," he said. 

First, Nickerson said, the most important way to minimize the chances of an elderly person in the family suffering from abuse or fraud is to visit them often and consistently. 

Nickerson identified "anyone" as a perpetrator of fraud, but said more often than not, people that take advantage of the elderly are caretakers, friends and most often, relatives. 

He shared stories generated from his office that surrounded family members "making up stories" to get money from parents or grandparents.

"They call and say they forgot to make a mortgage payment and they are going to lose the house," Nickerson said. "If they don't get $3,000 or $4,000 today, the bank is going to take it."

Obviously, Nickerson said, that parent or grandparent doesn't want to see their grandkids without a place to live, so they get the money to them. 

He said one indicator of fraud and abuse is exploitation and suggested that family members pay attention to sudden changes in their loved one's financial situation and changes to their personality and mood. 

"They may seem uneasy or almost scared," he said. 

He said another big indicator is the behavior of the caretaker. 

"Sometimes you will go to visit a loved one in a care facility and the caretaker says the family member is asleep or isn't feeling well," Nickerson said. "Isolation is a big one. These people will isolate the victim from family members that could discover the crime."

Nickerson shared resources and information for people that suspect that a loved one is being taken advantage of and abused. 

Adult Protective Services can be reached at (951) 791-3250, and the Riverside County Office on Aging and Disability Resource Center is available at (951) 867-3800. 
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<![CDATA[When Should You Consider Suing a Nursing Home?]]>Fri, 01 Feb 2019 00:21:58 GMThttp://jeffreycnickersonlaw.com/blog/when-should-you-consider-suing-a-nursing-home
By Morton J. Grabel, Esq.
Although no one really wants to sue a nursing home or elder care facility because it is a place of good intentions and a provider of care primarily to the elderly. However, there are times when the facility should be held legally accountable for their negligent and/or abusive conduct. For example, a lawsuit should be filed when:  1] negligence, 2] neglect, or 3] abuse on the premises causes injury.

What Kind Of Actions and/or Failures To Act Should Lead To the Filing Of A Lawsuit?
There are numerous accidents, willful and/or  intentional acts, and failures to act that may cause  a health care facility to be legally responsible; either based on the conduct of an employee or on a policy, procedure or on-going practice in the facility. Here are a few examples:

  • Failure to keep the premises reasonably safe and free of hazards when: dangers in the facility and its staff are aware of, those dangersorthey should be aware through proper attentiveness. This includes everything from preventing slip and fall accidents to preventing one resident from attacking another resident.
  • Negligent hiring, training or negligent supervisionof an employee who ends up neglecting, abusing, or otherwise intentionally harming a resident. For example- not properly screening prospective employees who subsequently steal from residents or commit sexual acts upon the residents and have a record of prior criminal acts.
  • Negligent supervision of residents who  fall and injure themselves. Here is an example- resident is given a "Risk Assessment" during the admission process and was determined to be a high risk for falls. The resident is admitted and the facility did nothing  to protect the resident from falls. The resident falls and breaks a hip.
  • Failure to maintain adequate health and safety policiessuch as keeping clean and sanitary conditions in resident rooms and in common areas such dining halls. 
  • Failure to provide adequate medical treatment that meets the medical standard of care under the circumstances. When the provision of sub-standard medical care causes harm to a resident, there may be a case for medical malpractice against the nursing home facility and/or against a medical professional.

There Are Regulations On The Standard of Care in addition to State of California Statutory Scheme:
In addition to state laws, if a nursing home accepts Medicare, the facility must follow Federal Regulations that establish the standard of care. One of these regulations is 42 CFR sec. 483.25 (h) which provides:
  •  The resident environment remains as free of accident hazards as possible; and
  • Each resident receives adequate supervision and "assistance device" to prevent accidents.
If the nursing home fails to comply with these regulations and a resident is injured, the nursing home is liable .

Proving Liability Can Be Complicated

When a resident is injured at a care facility, it is not always obvious what exactly went wrong and who might be legally responsible. The evidence available is often incomplete or medical records may be self-serving for  the nursing home.  Examples such as medical record pages either "disappearing" and or  re-numbered or being re-written to camouflage negligent conduct or overt abuse. In cases like these, your best first step would be discussing the situation with an experienced attorney like Morton J. Grabel, a former Nursing Home Administrator and Hospital Administrator.
 
*This office sues nursing homes and related health care providers/facilities. This office has recovered millions of dollars for residents of the Inland Empire.
 
Please note: the information provided herein is general and not be relied upon for your circumstance. For further information or if you have any legal questions please call the Law Offices of Morton J. Grabel, in Temecula at (951) 695-7700. Mort originally from Philadelphia, PA is a graduate from an ABA Law School, has an MBA, a California Nursing Home Administrator's License & a California Real Estate Broker's License [both active and in good standing]. 

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<![CDATA[For Young Adults: How to Adult with Estate Planning]]>Wed, 23 Jan 2019 22:52:07 GMThttp://jeffreycnickersonlaw.com/blog/for-young-adults-how-to-adult-with-estate-planning
Written by Robert T. Nickerson

I have a question for you all? Did you fulfill your New Years Resolutions or at least get a head start on it? For a lot of young people, one common resolution is to try and be more of an adult. Some of those goals include getting to the gym more often or eating more then Doritos, but another relatable one is to be wiser with their finances. Though anytime is good, perhaps today is the right time to build a new checklist that could apply for an estate plan.

Here are some things to add to that last to feel more like a mature adult.
 
  1. Write a Will and Testament: Contact a local attorney and talk about how your assets and guardianship of your offspring will be dealt with when you pass away. A will is highly recommended to those over eighteen. In the event of your death, a will helps make the legal process less hectic. Depending on what state you live in, they will determine who gets what and which relative will look after your children and gain custody. Don't be the one to say "It won't be my problem because I'm dead". Help your family avoid a potential conflict by having a Will ready to go.
  2. Make a Power of Attorney: This paper record allows someone to step in to make legal decisions when your not able to (whether it's death, medical related or even legal related). Power of Attorney's will give the individual power of deal with finances, bank with those finances, file taxes, and even sell assets like houses.
  3. Execute a Health Care Proxy: A lot like a power of attorney, this will allow someone else to make medical decisions should you be unable to. It's important to think about who will be the best to carry out what you would want, especially if it was a life or death situation.
  4. Purchase a Life Insurance Policy: In the event of your passing, this will help your family deal with the eventual financial burden. There are different styles and levels of life insurance, depending on how much you want to leave them. An agent can help determine what area you'd fall in and how much you can afford. 
  5. Check Beneficiary Designation Forms: If you or your employer has set up a retirement or insurance account, as about them. Check to see if a proper designee or a successor is listed. Also check with your bank accounts to see if those same beneficiaries are listed. This is all a part of making the process without out easier for the family. 
  6. Think about long term care and disability insurance: This is a good thing to consider in the event of an illness or act-of-god catastrophe. Ask your insurance provider about your options.
  7. Consult with a Financial Advisor: There's nothing more mature or adult then getting your savings in control. Consult with a financial advisor if your trying to find better strategies to put more money into your accounts. Perhaps you need a second job? A promotion? Cutting back on essentials? They'll be more then happy to look into your budget and find the best solutions. They ma even work with your attorney to be sure that it coordinates with your estate plan.
  8. Talk to your parents and grandparents about their estate plans: No one wants to think about their peers and parents gone, but we need to ask them sooner then later about their own estate plans. Most of the time they have, but they may have not been updated them on new beneficiaries, new medical problems, or more. 
  9. Think about burial options: This isn’t something to dwindle on for too long. But this is something you shouldn't do on your own either. Talk to your family about how you want your remains to be handled. Buried? Burned? Donation? You want to get your wishes out so everyone knows what will happen to you.
  10. Count your assets: go around your property, and inventory everything you own, and this includes cash, jewelry, art, stocks, commodities, and other assets worth something. If your not sure you’re the full owner of something, be sure to get that issue resolved as we don't want another party coming in to claim something. 

Contact our office (Through the contact page, email or phone) for more information if you'd like our help with any of this.
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<![CDATA[Happy New Year! Five Essential Estate Planning Goals]]>Thu, 10 Jan 2019 22:54:34 GMThttp://jeffreycnickersonlaw.com/blog/happy-new-year-five-essential-estate-planning-goals
Written by Robert T. Nickerson

It's now 2019. We like to see January 1 as the beginning of something good. This is the time to look into the clutter and figure out what needs to be cleaned up and up to date. One of those things should be your estate plan. Even if this is something that can't be done today or tomorrow, when is a good time to do this. Here are five easy things you can accomplish to have a better ease of mind for your estate plan.
 
1. Sign your Estate plan.
You'd be surprised by how often a lot of people put off something simple as using a pen to make the estate plan official. Perhaps now is a good time to give your attorney a call to get that out of the way. Let's give you a situation; someone close to you has just passed away. You'd probably get into contact with whoever did your estate plan to ensure that everything was good to go for their plan and yours. Any will and trust attorney will be able to meet, discuss, redraft, and finalize those ideas, get it down on paper, and be ready for you to dot the line. All you'd have to do then is sign and you could better in a better state of ease.

2. Call Your Attorney if you have nothing planned
Now is the best time to look through your local directory or even Google search to figure out how to serve your needs the best. Yes, getting around to making these decisions can be difficult, but it's better to tackle the stuff now rather then face a flood of problem in the long run.

3. Be sure your have the right successors on paper
 
If you do have something prepared, you may want to get them out the check and see if the people set to run your estate are still the people you want. This also includes personal representatives, doctors, lawyers, and anyone else you see playing a key figure. You want the right people making the right decisions if something should happen to you.

4. Think about your beneficiaries
Did you name your spouse as a beneficiary? What about your brother or your sister? Your children maybe? Just somebody that you want to receive something? Now is the time to look into your bank and retirement accounts to see who is a confirmed beneficiary as what you have down on an estate plan may not be in sync with your financial department. Make sure that your institution is aware of who you want as a beneficiary.

5. Write a digital asset instruction letter
Law offices typically have this form and your attorney can help write one with you. In this day and age, people use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and a variety of types of social media, along with the login information for other useful websites like banking, health care providers, online shopping, and more. If your one of these people who like to stay connected, then you should let the people you want to have a way to gather that information of usernames and passwords once your gone. You'll have to decide that if you have an Instagram account whether you want it closed or not once your gone. If you figure this stuff out in advance, your family and friends will know what their supposed to do. 
 
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