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Friday, December 9, 2016

Financial elder abuse is on the rise

To those of us who work with seniors and their legal documents every day, this headline is hardly a surprise. I agree with the author of the article, though, that the general public is not aware of just how prevalent elder financial abuse really is.

Click here to read an article from www.BoomerandEcho.com that talks about the rise of this type of abuse in Canada.

The article mentions abuse by children of their parents' Enduring Powers of Attorney, and I agree that more parents need to be cautious about appointing their children with blind faith that is misplaced. However, there is more that a parent can do to protect himself or herself when having an Enduring Power of Attorney prepared. Here are a couple of ideas for things that can be included right in your document:

1. A clause saying that if one of the kids acts under your POA, he or she has to give a regular, written accounting to someone of  your choice - your other kids, your siblings, your accountant, etc.

2. A clause saying that the POA cannot be used in any bank or other place unless and until it has attached a certificate from a lawyer saying that the person appointed under the POA had consulted the lawyer and was fully advised of what he/she can and cannot legally do under the POA.

3. A clause saying that if one of  your kids acts as your POA, on your death if any money is missing or unexplained, that is coming out of that child's share of your estate.

4. Specific instructions that the kids are NOT to give any money to themselves under any circumstances except as specifically allowed by your POA document.

Finally, seriously consider hiring a trust company as your executor and to act under your POA. They charge a fee but it's a reasonable fee, especially when compared to the risk of everything you own being stolen or squandered.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Top 10 fun Christmas gifts for lawyers - 2016 edition

Christmas wouldn't be complete without my annual list of fun gifts for your favourite lawyer. I've always aimed this list at my fellow wills and estates lawyers but this year I've decided to widen the net. This year's list contains goodies for all your lawyer buddies, no matter what kind of law they practice. Get the credit cards out, and enjoy!

10. Jurisprudence cupcakes

Let's start off with something sweet. Who wouldn't want to find these adorable little cupcakes in their Christmas stocking, to make them wish they weren't at home opening presents but back at the office.



9. Google Search mug

Even if you've never actually said this to anyone, don't deny that you haven't secretly wanted to.



8. What Every Lawyer Thinks About Besides Sex book

If you're a lawyer, maybe this would be a great book to give to the non-lawyer in your life to help them understand you better.  It gives wonderful insight into the minds of legal types. The kicker? The book is completely blank. 

7. Just Time for a Sentence pack of postcards

If you're vacationing down south this holiday season, maybe send one of these back to the poor sods who ended up working over the Christmas break. I'm sure they'll appreciate it.



6. Lawyer rubber duck

You need this because it's a duck wearing legal robes. And a wig.
5. Courtroom Quotes set of prints
Get them here

Are these prints, or giant flash cards?



4. Mug Shots set of 6 shot glasses

For the criminal law  lawyer in your life, this set of shot glasses features a gallery of notorious baddies such as Al Capone. Hopefully drinking from this motley crew will make their own clients seem a bit less...bad...


3. "You Have Been Served" cake or fish knife

Does your office have Cake Day? If so, this cake server will give you a chuckle with each and every slice. And if  you don't have Cake Day, you should start. Right now.




2. "I can please only one client per day" note pad
Get it here

I know, I know, some days you can't please ANY of them, but let's stay positive.

1. Free Legal Advice grenade

Tempting, right?








Friday, December 2, 2016

Forget coffins! This company will swirl you into beautiful glass creations when you die

The funeral industry has come a long way and it seems to come up with more and more innovative ideas. The newest fad is have a spoonful of your cremated ashes added to a glass mixture that is swirled into a lovely, individual glass orb. Each orb has an engraved message and the name of the loved one. What do you think? Would you rather have this on  your mantel than the traditional urn?

Click here to read more about these glass swirls and to check out several more photos.The attached photo accompanied the linked article at www.canyouactually.com.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Not as they intended: Estate plans gone wrong

Estate planners like me are always telling people to make their plans and get them onto paper in the right way. But even planned estates occasionally go off the rails. Sometimes it's because of an essential detail that got lost in the shuffle, and at other times (okay, let's be real here, MOST times) it's because beneficiaries behave badly after the death of a testator.

I recently came across an article in which www.financial-planning.com talked to a number of legal and financial advisors to find out the worst estate disasters they had seen. It's actually very eye-opening because it shows that no item is too small (a recipe box, for example) or too large (such as a big trust fund) to be the cause of an estate dispute. It also demonstrates very clearly that you don't have to be super-wealthy to get benefit from proper planning.

Click here to see the story.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Corona Beer founder Antonino Fernandez makes entire village millionaires in his will

In August 2016, billionaire Antonino Fernandez died at age 98. In his will, he left his entire fortune to the folks who live in the village of Cerezales del Condado, where Mr. Fernandez had grown up in a large, very poor family. Each villager will receive about 2 million British pounds.

This incredibly generous gesture is certainly one way to be remembered.

Click here to read a news story from http://www.telegraph.co.uk with  more details about the bequests and about how Mr. Fernandez went from rags to riches with Corona beer.

I like this story because it shows how a person can use his will to express himself and attain goals that are important to him. Mr. Fernandez must have felt real compassion for the people living in that village and wondered how he could make the best use of his fortune to help as many as possible. He gave his life's work great meaning by using it to ease the burdens of others.

If Mr. Fernandez hadn't left a will, we wouldn't now be talking about what a generous and great guy he was. His fortune would have been divided among his family members. The only way to make sure that wishes like this - whether it's to give $500 to the SPCA or to share billions among a village - are carried out after your death is to plan in advance and have a strong will made.

The attached photo of Mr. Fernandez accompanied the article in the Telegraph and is credited to ABC.ES.

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