Roberson Law Focusing on Estate Planning, Trust, Probate and Elder Law

Newsletter

End-Of-Year Checklist 
For Getting Your Legal Affairs In Order

1) If your spouse died this year or you got divorced, you should update your estate planning documents in order to remove your former spouse's name as a beneficiary, agent, executor, and trustee.  
 
2) December is the most popular month to get engaged.  We encourage all of our clients who are getting married or re-married to consult with an estate planning attorney and make an informed decision about getting a Premarital Agreement (Prenup).  The motivation for obtaining a Prenup is not because the marriage may not last. Without a Prenup, the inheritance that you intended to leave to your heirs could instead go to your new spouse upon your death.  You probably don't want to disinherit your children.  
 
3) If anyone who is listed in your Health Care Power of Attorney or Living Will has moved or changed phone numbers, you should update these forms with current information so that your health care providers can connect with your contacts in case of an emergency.  (We have complimentary blank forms in our office that we will give you for this purpose, but remember that you will need to get them witnessed and notarized.) 
 
4) Review your will and trust to make sure that they still reflect your current wishes about whom will serve as your executor or trustee and how your assets will be distributed after your death.  Because people die, babies are born, and relationships change, you should annually review your documents.
 
As always, if any of your estate planning documents are more than ten years old or you have moved to a different state, you should have your documents reviewed and updated to ensure that your estate plan still reflects your wishes and the current laws where you reside.

Elderly Woman

Elder Care Corner: Elder Law Advice...by Telephone?

Have you ever had a legal question that didn't require an hour-long meeting to get answered? Are you frustrated because you called our office to schedule an appointment and were told that it would be weeks before you could get in to meet with an attorney? Do you have transportation issues that prohibit you from coming to our office?

In 2011, the attorneys at Roberson Law launched a new consultation service, for established clients only, that allowed for one-on-one telephone appointments with an attorney within one week of the request for an appointment.  Our clients responded so favorably to the new service that we decided to remind everyone again that this service exists.  Just call the office and mention that you would like to schedule a telephone appointment, and our staff will find a convenient time for you to speak with one of our attorneys.

Legal advice has the same value whether it is given by telephone or in person, so we charge the same fee for a telephone conference that we do for a face-to-face consultation. The only difference is that you are in the comfort of your own home or office. By having a telephone appointment, you don't have to allow time to travel, you don't have to get a sitter for the kids, and heck, you don't even have to take the rollers out of your hair!

As a reminder, whether you have a consultation with us in person or by telephone, we bill only for the time spent discussing your legal matters. We do not bill you for time spent chatting about your upcoming vacation, your new grandchild, your new addition to your home, or any other exciting news that you wish to discuss with us that is not related to your legal matter. In addition, unlike many law firms, we do not round up the time we spend in consultations to the nearest quarter or half hour. We bill our time to the exact minute.
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Did you know that we have a department dedicated to senior services?
  • Preserve your savings from nursing home costs
  • Keep your home in the family
  • Know when to apply for Medicaid
  • Obtain a Personal Services Agreement for your loved one who needs to receive at-home care from another family member or friend
  • Obtain "fiduciary services" from our office when you do not have anyone who can act as your personal Power of Attorney agent. 
Check out our web page on Elder Law! 
Just For Laughs!
                 

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Although our newsletter goes out only once a quarter, we make posts to our Facebook page once a week.  That means liking our page gives you weekly access to what is going on at our firm.

We post everything from pictures of staff members to articles about the latest topics in our area of law.    

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Meet The New Guy

If you call our office for an appointment you will quickly learn how busy we are.  We have known for awhile that we needed extra help, but wanted to find the perfect fit. We took our time searching and after prayerful consideration, we chose Attorney Will Jennings to be part of our team. Will is a former solo practitioner whose firm was based in Toledo. 

Read Will's biography here to learn a little more about the newest addition to our team!







 Our mission is to  provide excellent, compassionate legal services to help people plan for the unexpected and prepare for the inevitable.

News You Can Use
In This Issue:  
  • End-Of-Year Checklist  For Getting Your Legal Affairs In Order
  • Annual Roberson Law Christmas Letter
  • Is Your Will Valid If You Terminate Your Marriage?
  • Character Counts
  • Quick Tip: Are Your ICE Numbers In Your Cell Phone?
  • Elder Care Corner: Estate Planning and Elder Law Advice...By Telephone
  • Nancy Roberson Gets Re-Certified
  • The Matching Game: Does The Driver's License Match The POA?
  • Upcoming Widows Grief Support And Resources
  • Need A Speaker For Your Next Event?
  • Meet The New Guy
  • Timeline Reminders For Clients Who Are Current And New
  • Just For Laughs!
Annual Roberson Law Christmas Letter  
Every year we mail a holiday letter to stay connected with our past and current clients and advisors.  This is a twenty-five-year tradition.  The letter is mailed through the United States Postal Service to every active client from the past 30 years we have been in business for whom we have a current mailing address.  This  is the only correspondence that some of our clients receive from us all year.  
 
Although this email newsletter is sent to over 3,500 people, we do not have everyone's snail mail address in order to send our holiday letter.  For that reason, we have included a copy of our holiday letter in this email newsletter for anyone to read who may not have received our holiday letter through the United States Postal Service.  Read a copy of the letter  here  and enjoy!  
Character Counts
Why would a law firm give two hoots about character? Unfortunately, some lawyers have character defects, but  Roberson Law strives to dispel the negative image of lawyers. For that reason we choose to monthly focus on a character quality with a monthly subscription to Character Core Magazine published by Strata Leadership, LLC, a leadership company based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

One of the character qualities highlighted this fall was Resilience.  According to the September 2017 issue of Character Core Magazine, "Resilience is recovering from adversity.  Rather than remaining a victim, we make a decision to give it another try, even if it is difficult."  At times, we all experience roadblocks, and our lives do not go the way that we would have liked.  When this happens we need to get back up, dust ourselves off, and make a different action plan, rather than wallowing in defeat.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." --Jeremiah 29:11

The action plan for practicing resilence is: 
 
 1) Acknowledge your situation.
 2) Make a new plan. 
 3) Pick yourself up and try again.
Is Your Will Valid If You Terminate Your Marriage?  
by Kayla Helm, Probate Paralegal

Are you getting divorced, obtaining a dissolution, or annulling your marriage? If so, then you should consider reevaluating your estate planning documents as soon as possible.

According to Section 2107.33(D) of the Ohio Revised Code, once a person has signed a will, if he or she is divorced, obtains dissolution, obtains an annulment, or separates from his or her spouse, any provisions in the will granting power or appointment of fiduciary to the former spouse will be revoked unless the will specifically states otherwise.  For example, if Mary's will appoints her husband John as executor of her estate and then they get divorced, John's appointment of executor becomes null and void, and the next person in named in the will becomes executor. 

Additionally, according to Section 2107.33(E) of the Ohio Revised Code, a former spouse will not receive any property owned solely by the decedent through a distribution in a will revoked based on termination of marriage. The property will be distributed as if the former spouse did not survive the decedent.  For example, if Mary's will gives all of her property to her husband John and then to her sister Beth if John doesn't survive Mary, but then Mary and John get divorced, all of Mary's property would go to Beth as if John died before Mary. However, if the property is owned by both parties, the former spouse has the ability to attempt to obtain the deceased spouse's portion of the property.

If a couple remarries, the will's powers and distributions remain as if the couple never terminated the marriage.  A different law applies to beneficiary designations of payable on death assets, so a re-marriage will require new beneficiary designations.

Further, if a former spouse marries a new spouse, the new spouse will have rights known as statutory marital rights defined in Section 2106 of the Ohio Revised Code that allow the new spouse to obtain certain property before any beneficiaries identified in the will obtain their distributions. (This is a compelling reason to get a Prenup!)

While Ohio law automatically enforces the revocations of power and distribution, it is much easier and efficient to update your estate plan documents to reflect your true intentions, whether or not your intentions include your former spouse.
"Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime that you haven't committed."
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Quick Tip: Are your ICE numbers in your cell phone? car accident

Because we are a firm with a mission to help people prepare for the unexpected, we also feel obligated to inform our clients of ways to take the necessary precautions to plan for an emergency.

In case you didn't know, ICE is an acronym that stands for "In Case of Emergency." This is an acronym that medics look for in the address books of accident victims' cell phones to find the contact information for the person or persons who would make medical decisions for the victim. In addition to entering the contact information of these people under the acronym ICE, medics also suggest that you indicate any special medical conditions or allergies that you may have or medications that you use.

Taking a few minutes to enter your ICE numbers into your cell phone might save your life and ensure that no time is wasted when paramedics are trying to determine whom to contact if you are in an accident and are unconscious or unresponsive. Entering these numbers is easy and free, so why not do it right now? If you get into an accident, you never know how this simple action might impact your outcome, so please don't hesitate in taking this precautionary step today.
Nancy Roberson Gets Re-Certified    

On December 4, 2017, we received word from the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) that Nancy Roberson was re-certified as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law.  This news was a big deal because of the stringent requirements that an attorney must meet in order to become an OSBA Certified Specialist.  Being a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law is the highlight of Nancy's career because Nancy was one of the first approximately 100 attorneys in Ohio to become certified in her area of practice.
The Matching Game: Does The Driver's License Match The POA?

Financial institutions are becoming increasingly finicky about General Durable Power of Attorney (GDPOA) documents.  The GDPOA documents that we write are 11 pages long in order to cover all of the bases, yet there are instances when we are still asked to provide additional substantiation that a GDPOA is valid.  

One area over which we have no control is when the person who our client chooses to serve as his or her agent gives our client a different name to use in the GDPOA than the name that is on the agent's driver's license.  This could be because of a marriage, a divorce, or because the person just misspelled the person's name.  Regardless of the reason, instances are occurring where a bank is refusing to accept a GDPOA because the name of the agent in the document does not match the name in the agent's driver's license. This reinforces the point that simply confirming the legal names of the people who are in your documents is not good enough.  You need to also ask for a copy of their driver's licenses so that the attorney who is drafting the GDPOA can confirm that the GDPOA and the driver's license names match.

As a reminder, the date that the GDPOA was signed is another factor in determining whether or not a financial institution will accept a GDPOA.  For that reason, we suggest to all of our clients that they contact us every five years to have their GDPOA refreshed with a more current date to avoid having a bank reject the use of the document due to its age.  You do not want your agent to be in a situation when your GDPOA needs to be used to assist you, but the bank won't accept the document because the GDPOA is outdated. 
Need a Speaker For Your Next Event?
                                                                       
The last half of 2017 was one of Nancy's busiest speaking seasons to date, but Nancy enjoyed every minute. One of Nancy's passions is educating the community about the importance of planning for death and disability by sharing her presentation titled, "Are You Prepared?"  Part of her speech includes Nancy sharing her personal tragic story about the event in her life that compelled her to pursue her practice area of law.
                           
If you would like Nancy to speak at your next event, please call 937.643.2000 or email Amy Cary at acary@dayton-attorney.com to book your event.  In addition, if you would like to know where Nancy's next speaking engagement is being held, please email Amy and she will provide the details for the upcoming event. 

As always, we do not charge a fee for our professional speaking services as long as you confirm that at least ten people will attend.  If fewer than ten people attend the event, then we request that a donation be made to the Miami Valley Widows' Support Groups.  You may also go to our speaking engagements page on our website to read some testimonials from past attendees and to obtain more information about speaking topics.  
Upcoming Widows Grief Support And Resources

This is a reminder that the Young Widows' Support Group (under age 50) meets on the first Thursday of each month from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and the Widows' Support Group (over age 50) meets on the first Friday of each month from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  (Dates may change, however, due to holiday conflicts.)  Both groups meet at Normandy United Methodist Church, located at 450 West Alex-Bell Road, Centerville, Ohio.  There is no cost to attend.

The upcoming meetings are:

January 4, 5     "New Beginnings"

February 1, 2     "Valentine Memories"

For more information about the Young Widows' Support Group, visit the website, call Pam Walker at 937.672.8810, or email DaytonYWSG@gmail.com.
 
For further information about the Widows' Support Group, call Sherry Matsel at 937.878.9707 or email imboo25@yahoo.com.
Timeline Reminders For Clients Current And New  timing

In order to provide the best service to our clients, we want to give everyone some friendly reminders about about our scheduling and file management procedures.
  • If you are a teacher and need to schedule an appointment with us during your summer break, please do not wait until school is out in June to call us.  A lot of our clients are teachers, so our calendar during the summer months fills up very quickly.  Please call us by March, or April at the latest, to schedule your appointment.
  • If you are travelling and desire to have your estate planning documents updated before you leave town, please give us a call to schedule the appointment to update your documents as soon as you book your trip. Simply getting in the office to discuss your document changes is not good enough; we need time to draft the documents and meet with you a second time to sign your documents.  For that reason, we need you to schedule your appointment at least four months before you leave on your big adventure.
  • All of our clients sign two sets of original documents: one set to keep at home and one set for us to keep in our client files.  Instances occur when you may need quick access to some of your documents, and you may not be able to easily find them in your home.  If you foresee that you will need us to retrieve any of your documents out of your file, please call us a few days before you need them.  We do not have enough space in our office for the volume of files that we have accumulated over the past 30 years, so files that are not actively being worked on are sent to our archive files location from which it can take up to 48 hours to retrieve the file. 
  • If you are having surgery and want your documents reviewed or updated, please call us as soon as you have your surgery date so that we can finish your documents before the surgery. Again, expressed intentions don't count.

Our bottom line is that we want to help, but we don't always have sufficient time to do so.

All material in this newsletter is Copyright © 2017 by Nancy A. Roberson. All rights reserved.