Two Alarm Fire

As many of you have already heard, there was a two alarm fire early on Sunday morning, September 21, 2014 at the Satellite Hotel, where Quick Law, LLC’s Colorado Springs office is located.  Consequently, we have vacated the Satellite Hotel.

Some client originals (not all were in the Satellite office at the time of the fire) smell of smoke but none were lost or destroyed.  The firefighters broke the locks and doors of each office during their fire mitigation efforts.  The double glass doors of the A110 suites will still be locked after hours; however, an additional level of protection client originals and confidential information previously had no longer exists at the Satellite Hotel.  There are extensive remediation and remodeling efforts currently taking place at the Satellite Hotel which significantly impacts Quick Law, LLC’s operations and creates hazards for Quick Law, LLC staff and clients.

Client appointments will be re-located outside of the Satellite Hotel.  For clients with existing appointments or upcoming signing meetings, a home visit or appointment at a coffee shop or library, etc. will be arranged at no additional charge.  Clients in northern Colorado or who are not inconvenienced by the trip are welcome to meet at Quick Law, LLC’s office space at 19th and Grant in downtown Denver.

Prospective clients will be charged a $75.00 fee (which can be paid over the phone with any credit card or the appointment may be confirmed once a check or cash is received).  The $75.00 fee for the initial consultation will credited in full to any services engaged at the initial consultation.  If no additional services are engaged, the $75.00 fee covers the cost of the consultation.  A prospective client receives a great deal of legal advice during an initial consultation.  If a prospective client is not home at the time of their appointment, the $75.00 fee covers the ‘no show.’  Also, those in the Denver metro area are subject to a trip charge for home visits because there is an office in their area.

Quick Law, LLC can be contacted at 719-210-4202 or mquicklaw@rocketmail.com

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Be careful to keep an eye on your home!

We have many cases where a senior ends up in a nursing home, perhaps after a hospital stay.  In one such case recently, it was discovered that a stranger and scam artist who calls himself “Paul” emptied the home, put a lock box on the door and had prospective renters coming to view the property even though this “Paul” does not own the home!  He told the neighbors and police that the previous owner had died and that he purchased the home at a tax lien sale even though neither of those statements is true.  A police report was filed for the serious charges of theft and burglary against an elderly person.

In times like this when there is a strong real estate market, even large companies can begin playing fast and loose.  Smaller scam artists like this become prevalent as well.

Since an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure, we strongly encourage you to keep tabs on your loved one’s home when they are hospitalized and/or enter a nursing facility.  Be sure that trustworthy neighbors know that the owner is alive and still owns the property.  They should be familiar with who will legitimately clean out and/or sell the property.

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What is Medicare ACP?

ACP stands for Advance Care Planning, which is a matter of having conversations about your health care wishes, organ donation preferences, medical agent and advance directives with your physician.  Some offices may also permit these conversations with a nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

ACP conversations are important because studies have found that talking about choices for medical care, regardless of the specific care choices you make, increases patient and family satisfaction with their care.  Having an accessible advance directive is a benefit to physicians, patients, and their families.  This planning also has been shown to reduce the emotional burden and stress on caregivers.

Medicare now pays physicians in half-hour increments to have conversations with you about your medical wishes.  There is no co-pay when these discussions occur during your Medicare Annual Wellness Visit.  There may be a co-pay at other times, depending on your Medicare plan.

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How much of my estate plan can I deduct on my taxes?

Estate planning includes having an attorney prepare such items as a Will, Trust, Powers of Attorney and/or Living Will.  A great aspect of having an attorney prepare your estate plan, beyond the assurance that it is done correctly, is that you can deduct a portion of it on your taxes.  Generally, the IRS allows you to deduct between 20% and 40% of the legal fee for your estate planning.

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Does my Attorney Love the Frustrations, Inefficiencies and Unfairness of the Law?

No. Just because attorneys work in a system that is not perfect does not mean they love those imperfections. Many attorneys went into the law to help curb those issues. Unlike other professions, the rules governing attorneys allow them to advocate for reasonable changes to the existing law.

Other professions, such as medical professionals, are held to the standard of what others in their field normally do, often times regardless of what is actually best for the patient. Attorneys also strictly govern themselves by holding rural and new attorneys to the same standards as big city and experienced attorneys, which is not the case when it comes to the standard of practice for physicians.

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Did my Attorney Write the Law?

That is unlikely. While a number of legislators are attorneys they often are not practicing attorneys. Many times those who had practiced law did little of it before becoming politicians.

A small portion of practicing attorneys are involved in creating laws; however, the laws that are adopted often are quite different from what they recommended because competing interests won out. Most practicing attorneys do not have the time, patience or interest in getting involved in making the laws – a process that has been compared to making sausage. The end result may be all right but it might be stomach-turning to see how it is made.

Your attorney probably did not write the law and may not agree with it any more than you do. But both of you have to abide by it.

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Can I wait until I see incapacitation coming before getting a Power of Attorney?

A person could do so; however, that is a risky, inadvisable approach.  Powers of Attorney appoint someone to take care of medical decisions or financial business if you are unable to do so yourself, whether temporarily or permanently.  They are important for any adult regardless of how much they have in the way of assets.

It is risky to delay getting Powers of Attorney because incapacitation is often a sudden and unexpected event.  A car accident, for example, that leaves a person unable to make or at least communicate their own decisions cannot be anticipated far enough in advance to obtain Powers of Attorney for the occasion.  If it could be predicted, the accident could simply be avoided.

In addition, a common symptom of dementia is the feeling that a person is as sharp as ever.  This makes it unlikely that a person in the early stages of cognitive decline, who is perhaps only experiencing a little short term memory loss, will obtain a Power of Attorney while they are still able to understand what they sign.  The person signing a Power of Attorney needs to understand it at the time they signed in order for the Power of Attorney to be valid.

It is important to obtain Powers of Attorney proactively.  This saves your loved ones from much stress and expense to petition a Court for the authority to care for your business.  Finally, it is also essential to obtain a Power of Attorney that grants the proper authority to trusted friends or family members; therefore, the assistance of an estate planning attorney is highly recommended and may even make your advance planning tax deductible.

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How can those who are ill cope?

It can be a devastating change of circumstances to become seriously, perhaps terminally, ill.  There is a no easy answer and sometimes it will feel like prior progress has been lost.  Nevertheless, once the initial shock is over, there are ways to cope.

Learning about the illness with the aim of finding out what you can still do rather than focusing on what you can no longer do is important.  Many have found that by setting realistic goals, they maintain their motivation and in time they may even be able to accomplish more than they ever thought possible.

It may be possible to invite friends and family over to visit you and help keep your spirits up.  While they will be interested to know how you are doing, it may be wise to limit conversation about your illness for the sake of all involved.

It is also important to mentally take a break from the illness by engaging in a relaxing or creative activity, whether at home or even by taking a trip if that is possible.

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