The Benefits of a Docubank Card

Modern medicine requires the use of medical directives, but having instant and easy access to them is equally important. As clients of the InSight Law Maintenance Plan, Docubank provides a wonderful service to you at no additional charge. Docubank provides immediate access to your healthcare directives and emergency medical information anywhere at anytime. This can be useful in an emergency situation, or even if you are going in for a scheduled procedure. You should have received a Docubank card shortly after we delivered your estate planning documents to you. We suggest you place this card next to your insurance card in your wallet so hospitals and helpers have easy access to this information.

This card gives your provider the information they need to contact Docubank and get a copy of your Medical Directives and healthcare checklists and instructions you have completed. It is important you let your provider know about this service and direct them to use it when asked for a copy of your medical directives. Additionally, make sure your family and helpers know about the Docubank card so they can direct providers to use it in the event you are unable to do so. There should be no reason to fill out another medical directive your provider gives you.

We routinely give clients the opportunity to review and update their Docubank information at our Annual Client Meeting in the Spring. You can also access your Docubank information at anytime by logging into their website (www.docubank.com). When we update your medical directives at the Client Update Program, we provide the latest version to Docubank. If you have not completed your healthcare checklists and instructions, you should have blank ones located in your Client Organizer. Please fill them out and send us a copy to provide to Docubank. If you have any questions regarding Docubank, or have misplaced your card, please contact Newsha at nna@insightlaw.net.

Baby on Board – Birth of New Child Spurs Estate Planning Attorney to Get His Estate in Order

My wife and I celebrated the birth of our first child in March 2016 and I thought it would be a good idea to discuss how I, an estate planning attorney, would start getting my estate in order.  I can tell you that having your first child is definitely a strong motivating factor to get your affairs in order.

Many people in this situation are spurred by a fundamental question – who will take care of my child and my financial assets if something happens to me and/or my wife? However, that is not where I am starting. Rather, I want to start with love and I want this to be the driving force behind my estate plan.  I want to make sure I capture certain memories so that I can pass them on and share them with my daughter, Nava (picture right).  Why not start from the beginning?

As I anticipated my daughter entering the world, I felt nervous and a lot of excitement.  On the one hand, I worried if she would be healthy and if I had what it takes to be a good father.  On the other hand, I could not wait to see her face and hold her.  I knew my parents raised me well and emphasized the importance of character and strong values. Also, I knew my wife Newsha has equally strong values and character.  Having this background gave me tremendous confidence as we were awaiting our daughter’s arrival.

I was present in the delivery room when Nava was born.  As an athlete, it was like being in the locker room before a big game.  We worked so hard to prepare for this moment and now we were on the goal line.  My heart was beating fast and it didn’t really hit me until just then that the little baby my wife was carrying for 9 months would be in our arms soon.  I couldn’t help but smiling and thinking that I wish my dad was here to see this.  My dad had the best smile that would light up the room. I knew now where that wonderful smile came from as I couldn’t contain myself with genuine excitement and joy.  We were lucky enough to have my mom present in the room to see the birth of her grandchild.  That meant a lot to me and I hope Nava realizes the magnitude of her being there. My mom is a legend in her own right and that is a story for another day.

When I first saw Nava and held her in my hands, there was a rush of adrenaline that went through me and my voice was shaking with genuine love.  I kept saying how beautiful she was and I thought about how hard my wife Newsha worked to get to this moment.

From father to daughter:

Nava, don’t ever forget how much your mother loves you.  You can’t measure the amount of love and dedication your mom has for you. She thought about you first every day and night for almost a year.”

Your mom chose your name for you many years ago. As a child, your mom always liked the name Nava.  The English translation is “music.”  When I heard the name, I thought how beautiful and perfect it was. There was no argument from me.  You definitely are music to my ears.  However, I chose your middle name “Seneca” which comes from an Iroquois Native American tribe.  The sport of lacrosse has been a big part of my life and it was invented by the Native Americans. I thought it would be nice to share that background with you.  I will leave it to you if you are interested in the game. I just thought I would give you a head start. 

So here is where I am starting my plan.  I want to start with values and stories.  I will continue building the plan and I will continue to share my progress.  I feel this is the best project in the world. It should, and will not be, a transaction.  Estate planning is about family, values and love.

Neglected Estate Planning By Prince Will Cost Loved Ones

World famous music star Prince reportedly died without leaving a will, trust, or any other estate planning documents for his friends and family. The consequence? His loved ones and business contacts will likely be fighting in court for years to settle an estate estimated to be worth between $150 million to $300 million, according to the Chicago Tribune.

To complicate matters even further, Prince was not married and had no children. This means there is not a clear beneficiary who will inherit the bulk of his estate. Instead, Prince left behind six siblings.

Here is an ABC News report on the estate controversy:

When someone dies without a will, it means they died “intestate.” The result is that your assets will be divided according to statutory law. For Prince’s estate, it is likely that each of his siblings will receive an equal share of the overall estate. This division applies even if Prince was not close or friendly with each of his siblings.

The irony is staggering. Prince spent years of his life fighting for control over the rights to his music. In fact, one of the key reasons he changed his name from Prince to an unpronounceable symbol was in an effort to gain more control over his music. It is clear Prince valued control over his persona and his incredible works of music. But in death, he now has no control. Without a clear estate plan, he ceded control of his property to the courts.

The End is Not Near for Prince’s Estate

In addition to subjecting his estate to the laws of intestacy, there is a good chance Prince’s assets will be subjected to lengthy and contentious litigation. Why? Because Prince had a complex estate with various business initiatives, property, likely multiple bank accounts, and so forth.  Most estate planning attorneys do not expect Prince’s estate to be settled for quite some time, according to the Star Tribune. In addition to all the questions surrounding the beneficiaries of his estate, it is likely there will be a large tax bill involved. Without some simple tax planning in place, a large chunk of his estate will go to the government instead of being planned for his loved ones or chosen charitable organizations. This means Prince’s family and friends will likely have to battle in court for years to get a final resolution to all of Prince’s assets.

Lesson – Sit Down with an Estate Planning Attorney and Put Together an Estate Plan

Prince’s estate provides a vital lesson for everyone, whether rich or poor – when you die without a will, you are giving up power and control and likely subjecting your loved ones to years of stress and uncertainty. Under the laws of intestacy, the statutory division of assets controls. Even if you despised a sibling or ex-spouse, it does not matter. The law controls rather than you controlling who gets your valued assets. Take the time to make an estate plan.

If you need help, contact an experienced estate planning attorney and schedule a time to meet with them to discuss the details of your plan.

Essential Small Business Advice – Follow Formalities

Many small business owners think that if they set up an LLC or corporation, they are fully protected from individual liability. Not true. While setting up the company structure is a critical first step, it is imperative that you  perform certain formalities throughout the year to maintain your liability protections.

  1. Annual Meetings

Corporations are required to hold an annual meeting every year and maintain a record book of the meeting minutes. While LLC’s are often not required to hold an Annual Meeting, we recommend that the members and managers of the LLC still hold a formal meeting on a yearly basis. The meetings are an opportunity to discuss and document important business decisions made throughout the year. Including your CPA, attorney, and other business advisors in the meeting will make the meeting even more productive. You can review tax planning for the year and make sure your legal documents are up to date to fully protect you.

  1. Written Documentation of Business Decisions

In between the Annual Meetings, the company should document all major business decisions and contracts. Employment contracts, company loans, significant asset purchases, and similar events should all be documented by written and signed resolutions.

  1. Separate Company Funds

Company funds and personal funds should be kept separate. If personal assets are co-mingled with business assets, it is much easier for creditors to gain access to them. The company should have its own bank account and in many cases will need a separate tax identification number.

Observing these formalities will provide you with a much stronger argument that your chosen corporate form should be respected from the challenges of creditors. The steps outlined above are especially important for single member LLC’s. We often see the owners of single member LLC’s skipping these important steps since they are the only person involved.  Simply forming an LLC won’t be enough to protect you when a legal challenge comes along.

If you’re interested in learning more about LLCs, here is an article on the advantages LLCs provide to business owners and entrepreneurs.

National Healthcare Decisions Day Provides Reminder of Key Planning Documents You Need

We have all heard horror stories about family members disagreeing over end-of-life care decisions. This can result in families ending up in protracted court battles while patients are kept alive on life support. All the while, no one really knew what the patient actually wanted. Do not let this happen to you. Provide your loved ones with some relief by planning ahead for your healthcare decisions.

On April 16, 2016, organizations throughout the country tried to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning. National Healthcare Decisions Day encourages people to express their wishes regarding healthcare. Ask yourself – do your loved ones know your wishes?

Here is a great video on this important issue:

Modern medicine can do some amazing things, but often requires complex and difficult decisions. Life support can keep people alive for months and even years, but people have various opinions about end of life care. Regardless of what your opinions are, your loved ones cannot act on your wishes unless they know them.

Legal documents such as Advance Medical Directives, Healthcare Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, and Do Not Resuscitate orders give agents legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. However, they generally give very little guidance on what your wishes would be in specific situations and what type of decisions you would want your loved ones to make.

Have the conversation.

Let your loved ones know what your wishes are and document those wishes. The legal document combined with the conversation is truly a gift to your helpers. This helps avoid confusion, guilt, and conflict in an already very stressful situation.

At InSight Law, we provide the legal documents, hypothetical healthcare checklists, and letters of instruction for client’s healthcare agents. If you are a client and have not completed these lists, we strongly encourage you to do so now. Please contact the firm if you need copies. Then remember, after the documents are completed the important part is the discussion with your helper. Things can happen at any time. It is important to be prepared. Additionally, keep your documents updated because your wishes may change over time. We recommend revisiting these documents to make sure your preferences remain the same.

The tools are out there. Be aware, spread the word, and help promote the importance of advance care planning.

National Healthcare Decisions Day Provides Reminder of Key Planning Documents You Need

We have all heard horror stories about family members disagreeing over end-of-life care decisions. This can result in families ending up in protracted court battles while patients are kept alive on life support. All the while, no one really knew what the patient actually wanted. Do not let this happen to you. Provide your loved ones with some relief by planning ahead for your healthcare decisions.

On April 16, 2016, organizations throughout the country tried to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning. National Healthcare Decisions Day encourages people to express their wishes regarding healthcare. Ask yourself – do your loved ones know your wishes?

Here is a great video on this important issue:

Modern medicine can do some amazing things, but often requires complex and difficult decisions. Life support can keep people alive for months and even years, but people have various opinions about end of life care. Regardless of what your opinions are, your loved ones cannot act on your wishes unless they know them.

Legal documents such as Advance Medical Directives, Healthcare Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, and Do Not Resuscitate orders give agents legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. However, they generally give very little guidance on what your wishes would be in specific situations and what type of decisions you would want your loved ones to make.

Have the conversation.

Let your loved ones know what your wishes are and document those wishes. The legal document combined with the conversation is truly a gift to your helpers. This helps avoid confusion, guilt, and conflict in an already very stressful situation.

At InSight Law, we provide the legal documents, hypothetical healthcare checklists, and letters of instruction for client’s healthcare agents. If you are a client and have not completed these lists, we strongly encourage you to do so now. Please contact the firm if you need copies. Then remember, after the documents are completed the important part is the discussion with your helper. Things can happen at any time. It is important to be prepared. Additionally, keep your documents updated because your wishes may change over time. We recommend revisiting these documents to make sure your preferences remain the same.

The tools are out there. Be aware, spread the word, and help promote the importance of advance care planning.