Category Archives: Wills and probate

The Attorney and Mr. Ghost

The Attorney was preparing for a hearing in the Faust case, when someone saying his name cut through his concentration.  He looked up to see a spectral image floating in front of his desk.

“You can see me!  Good!” said the Ghost, excitedly.

“Who are you and what do you want?”  The Attorney wondered what was in his coffee.  The Ghost looked and sounded familiar, though.

“Remember me?  I came in to see you just before I went on that trip to the North Pole last year,” the Ghost responded.

That did the trick.  “Ah, yes.  We talked about getting your will done.  You never did, though.  Your Widow hired us to help with your estate.  What possessed you to try to get a selfie with that sleeping polar bear?”

“The polar bear overreacted; I am not here about that.  My Widow either is ignoring me or she cannot see me.  Either way, I need you to tell her how I want things done.  Take my ’85 Yugo, for example.  I loved that car and I wanted it to go to my Cousin.  Instead, she is donating the car to that polar bear preservation charity.  I think she is doing that to spite me.  Then there is –”

The Attorney held up his hand to interrupt, “First, I am not sure this is really is happening.  Second, if this is really happening, you lost your right to say what you wanted to go where when you became polar bear chow.  Dead people do not have standing to come back and object to how their estates are handled.”  He could not believe he just said that.

“Seriously?!  I will sue!”

“Good luck with that.  Courts in this jurisdiction do not accept spectral evidence.”  The Attorney still could not believe he was having this conversation.  “Remember that I represent your Widow as the executor.  Consult with another lawyer about your rights.  Now, sir, please go.”

The Ghost grew angry, swelling in size.  “How about I just haunt this office until you change your mind?”  A strong wind centered on the Ghost whipped around the office, picking up anything light.  The wall hangings started to come off the wall.  A disembodied, unearthly wail rose in volume.

The Paralegal burst into the room amidst the chaos.  She was holding a book in one hand, tossing salt at the Ghost with her other hand, and saying something in Latin.  The Ghost looked shocked as it disappeared.  The wind and wailing ended just as suddenly.

“What was that?”  The Attorney asked, similarly shocked.

Holding the book up, the Paralegal said, “The copy of Exorcism for Dummies that I got for the office.  I thought we may need it once you started taking on clients who sold their souls to the netherworld.  Let me help you pick up this mess.”

“Good call and thanks.”

They both started picking up.  The Paralegal seemed to have read the Attorney’s mind when she said, “What are you going to tell the Widow?”

The Attorney sighed.  “Perhaps she will sell that Yugo to the Cousin and donate the money instead.”

The law has a formula for who handles the estate of people who die without a will.  The law or your heirs may want to divide your estate in a way that you do not want.  Take the time to get a will in place to express your wishes, or you take the risk that the law or your heirs get it wrong.

This post provides general information only.  This post is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to be legal advice about your situation.  A blog article is not a substitute for legal advice that fits your situation.  Laws change and your situation may be different.  You should consult with a licensed attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances.

© 2019 Matthew D. Macy

Happy 18th! Time to Make Adult Decisions!

Your child reaching 18 years old is a milestone.  Legally, your little one now is an adult with adult rights and responsibilities.  Here some of the ways the situation has changed.

“Our Son Does Not Want That” v. “ But He Told Me He Did if This Happened”

No parent should have a child become incapacitated through illness or injury, and be faced with making crucial health care decisions for your child.  Your child becoming an adult adds a layer of complication.  Georgia has an Advanced Health Care Directive that allows an adult to state what he or she wants for medical care in that situation, and designate who will make the decisions.  Other states use a living will, health care power of attorney, or a combination of the two.  Your now-adult child executing a clear and legally enforceable directive as to what your child would wants, plus who your child wants making the decisions, is a wise move.  This will reduce the risk of a legal fight that can cause more pain and suffering for all involved.

“Access Denied”

Your now-adult child has rights under HIPAA and other privacy laws that will restrict your access to your child’s medical records.  The child can give anyone permission to access his or her medical records – typically through a written consent or release.  The consent can be added to an Advanced Health Care Directive or in a separate document.

“Hands off My Money”

You child turning 18 means you will encounter resistance if you try to get information about his or her bank accounts, credit card accounts, and so on.  Your child’s right of privacy comes at a cost if your child cannot takes care of his or her affairs, be it because of illness, injury, or other reasons.  A power of attorney can be useful if the child wants to entrust someone to handle his or her financial affairs in those situations.  Your child making an adult decision like that can reduce the risk of having to rely on a judge’s decision. 

“But I am the Parent – Doesn’t that Count?”

It is risky to rely on a doctor, banker, and so forth to automatically defer to you as the parent of your now-adult child.  Lacking a power of attorney, directive, or written consent could put in you in the position of having to get a court order if your child is unable to give consent, when you need to have that consent.  It is easier on everyone to have that done in advance.

Whether your child will make a health care directive, sign a power of attorney, do a will, or any other adult decision is up to your child and your child alone.  Being an adult means having to make these decisions.  Have a talk with your child about this part of adulthood.  Suggest that your child speak with an attorney on how to get done what the child wants.  Hopefully, the paperwork gathers dust from non-use, but it will be there just in case.

This post provides general information only.  This post is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to be legal advice about your situation.  A blog article is not a substitute for legal advice that fits your situation.  Laws change and your situation may be different.  You should consult with a licensed attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances.

© 2017 Matthew D. Macy