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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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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How can others support caregivers?

Because care giving is such a difficult and stressful job, it is important that those around them provide support, both practical and emotional.  Good communication helps the spouse of a caregiver and others to provide that support.  Empathetic listening is key.  Personal visits, a phone call, sending a card, giving flowers or another gift are some nice ways to show support.

Practical support can be provided by offering to, for example, wash dishes, make beds, do laundry, entertain the patient’s visitors, reading to the patient, caring for patient and even taking the patient out for a sojourn if that is feasible.  A caregiver will probably appreciate it if we were to let them know that we are going shopping and are seeing if there is anything we can pick up for them while we are there.  Some have purchased a notebook for visitors to write notes to the patient while the patient is asleep or otherwise indisposed.

While around the patient, keep in mind that they are likely aware of what is going on around them even if they seem unresponsive.  Thus, be careful not to say anything you would not want them to hear.  In addition, try to refrain from offering unsolicited advice to the caregiver and patient.  Even if you have some expertise, the family might not accept all advice so it is best not to expect differently.

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Ways to Cope as a Caregiver

Being a caregiver is one of, if not the most, stressful jobs.  How, then, can a caregiver cope with it all?

It is critical to have a network of trusted friends, family, neighbors and professionals.  With all of them, be clear about how they can help rather than hoping they will take a hint.  Making a schedule when certain individuals will perform certain tasks keeps your network involved and sets clear expectations.

In many instances, holding family meetings will be useful.  But keep in mind that siblings will not share equally in care giving and it will only lead to frustration to expect otherwise.  The brunt of the care often falls on one child because of geographical proximity, their other family responsibilities and the like.  Perhaps other siblings can assist by providing care when the primary caregiver needs a break or by contributing financially.

It is also helpful to obtain accurate information as to how the illness of the one being cared for will progress.  Learn about treatments and coping techniques.  Armed with that information, it will be easier to explain the nature of the illness to others and thus ease possible embarrassment over the strange behavior, etc. of the person receiving care.

The quality of care provided depends upon the caregiver taking care of themselves as well.  Hence, it is a disservice to both the caregiver and the one receiving care for the caregiver to run himself or herself down through the stress of non-stop care giving.  Other activities that were the norm before becoming a caregiver may need to be eliminated in order to maintain a humane schedule.  Taking time for oneself might be accomplished by utilizing an adult day care center.  There may even be community resources available to help with the cost.  Having someone to talk to and taking it one day at a time are citied by many as a critical means of staying sane as a caregiver.  However, if a caregiver begins to feel severe depression, it is important to seek the help of a professional right away.

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Are Mom and Dad Moving in with You?

As parents or other loved ones age or become ill, it might be necessary to provide in-home care for them, either in their home or your own.  But first, obtain an assessment of their actual needs.  It is possible that they could continue to live independently with some home modifications and/or with family, friends and/or neighbors checking in with them.  If it looks like they could remain in their own home with some adjustments, try the new adjustments on a trial basis to see if they really will work for all involved.

If it is necessary to move in to keep your loved ones safe and cared for, it is important to maintain privacy, both theirs and your own.  Certain places and times should be clearly designated as private.  Many have found it helps for both the immediate family of the caregiver and the patient to continue at least some of their separate activities and hobbies.  When moving loved ones into your home, be sure to bring some of their sentimental items with them.  Slips of the tongue will happen because of the frustrations of living together after perhaps decades of living apart but people find it helpful to apologize promptly and move on.  Finally, it is important to maintain a sense of humor when adjusting to these new circumstances.

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Why you shouldn’t add Your Kids to the Title of Your House

Many persons, especially seniors, wish to add their children to the title to their home as a means to pass their home on to their children without the need for probate.  While the wish to pass on their nest egg as an inheritance and do so as easily as possible is understandable, there are many disadvantages to doing so.  This applies whether the home is given entirely to the children or as joint tenants between the children and parent(s).

The parent(s) lose control over the home once it is titled in the children’s names.  The home cannot be mortgaged or given back to the parent(s) without the children signing off on it.  Once the children are put on title to the home, the home is up for grabs from the children’s creditors.  Though it is a situation one hopes will never happen, there have been many unfortunate instances where a parent was forced to leave their home because of their child’s creditors.

Additionally, a gift tax return should be filed with the IRS when the value of the child’s share of the home exceeds $14,000.00 this year.  There can be other negative tax consequences to the children as well.  The better solution is to place the home into a Trust or even a LLC.

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What is a Beneficiary Deed?

Beneficiary Deeds have been legally recognized in Colorado for the past decade.  Provided that it is recorded before a person’s death, it allows for real estate to pass to whomever one designates without probate.  A Beneficiary Deed has the tax advantages of no gift return needing to be filed and a stepped-up basis in the property upon the original owner’s death (for now).  It is an inexpensive way to avoid probate; however, in accordance with the adage that one gets what they pay for, there are serious disadvantages.

First of all, a Beneficiary Deed makes the owner ineligible for Medicaid, which is the benefit program used by most Americans to pay for their long-term care.  A majority of Americans will end up needing long-term care and, by extension, Medicaid, eventually.

Specific names must be listed on a Beneficiary Deed rather than merely a person’s children or grandchild because a generic description of a class of people requires Court determination.  Thus, if an additional grandchild is born they could easily get left out or if a child dies, the property will pass to their surviving children rather than to their children or spouse.  If an underage person inherits the property, a Conservator might have to be appointed for their share.  Further, it becomes difficult to manage cleaning out and selling or renting the property when multiple owners are involved and there are no clear duties for each one.

Moreover, those who inherit via a Beneficiary Deed can be personally responsible for the debts of the original owner for up to three years after their death; in which case, a creditor is likely to open up a probate anyway.  While a Beneficiary Deed allows one full control of the real estate during their lifetime, if control over what happens to the property after one’s death is desired, a Beneficiary Deed will not allow for that retained control; only a Trust or LLC will do so.  Hence, a Trust or LLC is recommended over a Beneficiary Deed in all but in a very narrow and uncommon set of circumstances.

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Can I just write my own Will and have it reviewed by an attorney?

With the advent of legal forms and computer software for drafting legal documents marketed to the general public, many people are writing their own estate plans in recent years. Estate plans can easily go awry if they do not have just the right language. Thus, many do-it-yourself (DIY) plans actually cause more problems than they solve and in the long-run are more expensive to fix than it would have been to hire an estate planning attorney to put together a comprehensive plan in the first place.

While it certainly is safer to have an attorney review a DIY plan than to go it alone with no professional review, the former course of action still might not save you time, effort or money. Most DIY plans do not have the right language. A typical review costs three or four figures. On top of that, a new document drafted by a law office will be recommended for any DIY documents found to deficient. Because most law offices use estate plans that are copyrighted and often subject to additional contractual restraints, you cannot simply be given the proper language to copy. Even in the rare events where there is statutory language you potentially could copy into your DIY documents by the time you go through an attorney review, you most likely have spent more time, effort and money than if you have contacted an estate planning attorney to prepare your estate plan for you from the beginning.

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

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