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


Roberson Law Acquires Will Inventory 
Gavel & Scales
After practicing for over fifty years, Attorney James Brennan has decided to retire and pass the baton to Nancy Roberson.  James has had hundreds of clients over his career and so he needed another experienced attorney to whom he could refer his clients after he retired.  James decided that Nancy was the person who he would trust with the large original Will inventory that James has accumulated since the 1960s. James formerly practiced at Young & Alexander and Pyper Alexander & Nordstrom, LLC.

Our office has slowly been meeting with James's clients to ensure that their estate planning needs are being met. If you are a client of James or know of anyone who may have been James's client in the past, please take note that our office may have your original Will for safekeeping. As a reminder, original Wills (not copies) are required by the probate court when you die, so it is very important to know where your original Will is located, whether in a law office or in your possession.

If you prefer to take possession of your original Will, please contact our office so we can arrange that.
Annual Roberson Law Holiday Letter

Every year we mail a Christmas letter to stay connected with our past and current clients and advisers.  This is a twenty-five-year tradition.  The letter is mailed through the United States Postal Service to every active client from the past 35 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!
Elder Care Corner:
The Importance of a Personal Services Agreement and Lease When Applying for Medicaid 

Two documents that we of ten prepare in conjunctio n with Medicaid planning are the Personal Services Agreement and Lease. Both documents can be very important proof for substantiating the money paid to a caregiver, who is often a family member, so that the money paid to the family member does not have to be repaid in order for the Medicaid application to be approved.
Without a Personal Services Agreement or Lease in place, the money paid to a family member for living expenses, caregiver fees, or other expenses could be determined to be a gift that must be paid back before the applicant could qualify for Medicaid.
As a reminder, we suggest that you schedule an appointment with us to assist you in developing a game plan to address long term care and caregiver expenses.  We
do not recommend attempting the Medicaid application process before having "all of your ducks in a row."  Don't do it alone; one wrong transfer may disqualify the recipient from receiving Medicaid.  
 __  __  __  __  __  __  __ __ __
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! 
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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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January & February 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 Friday after the first Thursday 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 meeting topics are:
January 3, 4   "New Beginnings"

February 7, 8  "My Valentine"  

For more information about the Young Widows' Support Group, visit the website, call Pam Walker at 937.672.8810, or email
For further information about the Widows' Support Group, call Sherry Matsel at 937.878.9707 or email
Need a Speaker For Your Next Event?
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 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.

News You Can Use
In This Issue:  
  • Roberson Law Acquires Will Inventory
  • Do You Know Your Name?
  • Annual Roberson Law Holiday Letter
  • Elder Care Corner:  The Importance of a Personal Services Agreement and Lease When Applying for Medicaid 
  • Roberson Law Staff Beginnings and Endings
  • How To Talk To Your Family About Your Estate Plan
  • My Health Care Wishes- ABA's Mobile App That Makes Advanced Directives Accessible When Needed
  • Swedish Death Cleaning: Making Your Loved Ones' Lives Easier
  • January and February Widows Grief Support And Resources
  • Character Counts
  • Need A Speaker For Your Next Event?
  • Just For Laughs!
Do You Know Your Name?
by Nancy Roberson

I'm writing this after meeting with yet another client who was surprised, upon seeing his birth certificate for the first time, that the name he was using was not the same as the name in his birth certificate.

For example, my friend Betty Schwab, who is also a client, thought her name was Elizabeth until she got her birth certificate and discovered that her birth name is Betty.  (I am giving this example with Betty's permission.)

This has happened with clients whose names are Allen/Alan, Joseph/Joe, and William/Bill/Billy, for example.

Why is this relevant?  Because identification is becoming increasingly important to financial institutions and the TSA.  We know of one financial institution that refused to accept a power of attorney because the agent's name in the power of attorney did not exactly match the name in the agent's driver's license.  As a result, in our document production process, we are now asking for copies of our clients' driver's licenses and also the driver's licenses of the agents whom the clients are naming as fiduciaries in their documents.  We do not mean to seem nosy, intrusive, or cause you extra work, but to help you with your documents being accepted.

The moral of this story is to keep in your permanent records a certified copy of your birth certificate AND to have the name in your driver's license match your name in your birth certificate.  Of course, if you have married and changed your name, the names won't match, so you should also have a certified copy of your marriage certificate in your permanent records.

You never know when you will need your birth certificate.  When my first husband, David Phillips, died, the Social Security Administration required me to submit my birth certificate with my application for benefits.  I did not have a certified copy of my birth certificate, so I ordered one from Ripley County, Indiana, where I was born.  This delayed processing the SSA benefits.  When the birth certificate arrived, it contained the wrong date of birth, so I had to order another one, which further delayed the benefits.

If there is a problem with your name and you want to change your name, you can do a name change proceeding with the probate court in the county in which you live.  We handle name change proceedings but, frankly, they are so easy to do that you may be able to handle your name change yourself by accessing the forms on your county probate court's website.

It seems like life gets more complicated all the time, doesn't it?
Roberson Law Staff Beginnings and Endings
By Kaitlin Webb, Legal Intern

This year Roberson Law hired two Administrative Assistants in the Records Retention Department. Samantha (left) and Madeline (right) Brandt are sisters who share the responsibilities of the department. Together they help the office run smoothly and keep all our records in order, which is a tough job to do. They do a great job working together to make sure the office is organized. 

Samantha (Sam) is a junior in high school who loves to study physics. She began working at Roberson Law in January. Sam's favorite part about working at Roberson Law is the people: "They are very welcoming and a joy to work with." In the future, Sam sees herself going to college to major in nutrition and exercise or become an orthodontist.  

Madeline (Maddy) is a sophomore in high school whose favorite subject is math. With her love of math, she plans on majoring in accounting when she goes to college and wants to play for a college soccer team. Maddy began working at Roberson Law in mid-October, and her favorite parts about Roberson Law are the people and also the job--she enjoys organizing and filing!

In unfortunate news, December 31, 2018, was Associate Attorney Will Jennings last day at Roberson Law.  Will and his wife, Gretchen, decided that it was time for their family to pursue a different life direction and move closer to family in Indiana. Will leaves us with deep appreciation and gratitude as he says to the Roberson Law staff, "Thank you so much for being mentors, friends and impeccable colleagues during my time at Roberson Law." We all shower Will and his family with prayers and blessings as they move on to this new path that God has taken them in Indiana.    
How To Talk To Your Family About Your Estate Plan
by Kaitlin Webb, Legal Intern

Talking about financial matters, end-of-life options and your eventual death is difficult, but especially with the ones closest to you. Your loved ones may not want to hear it, but they need to know what will happen after you die. 

Giving your loves ones an explanation of what you intend to do and why before your death will guarantee that they aren't left unprepared to handle fulfilling your last wishes. This also may help avoid hard feelings about inheritance issues.     
When planning your estate you will need to select family members or close friends for some very important assignments--these roles are a serious commitment. Check with your family members to see whether they are comfortable accepting these roles, as needed: 
  • Guardian of minor children
  • Agents in Powers of attorney
  • Executor
  • Heirs of complex assets  
But how do you actually sit down with your agent, guardian, executor or heirs and explain what's in your estate plan? Like most crucial family conversations, focus on values and relationships. Consider the relationship you have with each family member or friend you have selected to be apart of you estate plan and it's easier to see a path forward. There is also the option of  leaving a Letter of Instruction to be distributed after death to expand on and explain the desires of your estate.

My Health Care Wishes- ABA's Mobile App That Makes Advanced Directives Accessible When Needed
The American Bar Association's Commission on Law and Aging released a mobile application called My Health Care Wishes that lets users store and distribute health care advanced directives via their smartphone. This includes documents such as users' living wills and health care proxies. There is a free "Lite" version of the app that provides storage for one person's information, while the advanced "Pro" version, available for $3.99, allows the storage of multiple profiles.   
The ABA, mostly through its Commission on Law and Aging, has promoted advanced health care directives. Advanced directives such as a health care power of attorney or living will legally authorize another person to make health care decisions for an individual, in case the individual loses the ability to make decisions, and provide instructions on how decisions are to be made.  
The  My Health Care Wishes app attempts to ensure that advanced directives are easily accessible when they are actually needed. The app gives individuals and their family members the ability to store their own and each other's advanced directives, key health information and health care contacts on their Apple or Android smartphones. It also allows them to send advanced directive documents directly to health care providers by email or Bluetooth.   
Recognizing that people are reluctant to give up control of such personal documents to a third-party, the ABA Commission on Law and Aging created My Health Care Wishes so that the individual's smartphone itself becomes the registry, which is very handy.
For more information about My Health Care Wishes and a link to download the app click here
Swedish Death Cleaning: Making Your Loved Ones' Lives Easier
by Kaitlin Webb, Legal Intern
The art of Swedish death cleaning, or döstädning, is not as morbid as it  sounds. It's an end-of-life de-cluttering tradition in the Scandinavian  culture to relieve your family from the burden of what to do with your possessions after you're gone. In death cleaning you go through all your possessions and if you come across possessions that hold no significant meaning to you, discard them. Thinking of possessions in terms of memories and worth will make it easier to remove them from your home.

After your passing it can be very time-consuming for your family and loves ones to sort through and take care of your things. It can also be difficult for them to decipher what items were important to you. Instead of leaving the task to your family, talk with them about what you want to discard and keep. Going through some of your possessions with them and remembering their worth together will bring joy to the whole family.

As for the cleaner, when you focus on cleaning, this process can make you braver for what is to come. It also gives you a moment to reflect on the events and memories, good or bad, in your life.    

Character Counts
We know it's hard to believe, but some lawyers have character defects.  Roberson Law, however, strives to dispel the negative image of lawyers. For that reason we choose to monthly focus on a character quality with a subscription to Character Core Magazine published by Strata Leadership, LLC, a leadership company based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The character quality that was highlighted in November was Respect.  According to  Character Core Magazine, "Respect is treating others with honor and dignity." The components of respect are being considerate of other's feelings and practicing tolerance. 

Action plan for exhibiting respect:

1) Listen to what others have to say before expressing your viewpoint.
2) Encourage others to express opinions and ideas.
3) Treat people with courtesy, politeness, and kindness.
Just For Laughs!
(Because Nancy loves reading the comics)

"Funky Winkerbean" by Tom Batiuk & Chuck Ayres
© Copyright 2006-2018. Bantom, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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

All material in this newsletter except the comic is Copyright © 2019 by Nancy A. Roberson. All rights reserved.