Posts Tagged ‘Peace of Mind’

Another New Year! Time to review your estate plan!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone has a great and wonderful 2013.

And, to get things off to a good start, I’d like to suggest that you review your estate plan to make sure it is up to date and has taken into account all of life’s changes since you created the previous version.

New members to the family?  Some members no longer with us?  Perhaps a new pet that you want to make sure is taken care of if you are not able to care for him or her yourself?  Have you become involved in a new charitable organization that you think deserves a gift?  Perhaps the person you have named as the agent under your Power of Attorney is no longer capable or willing to do the job?  Perhaps someone in your family has received a college degree that would make them a better fit for the job of executor or agent?  Perhaps you have new acquisitions that need to be re-titled in the name of your trust?  Planning a job change this year?  Perhaps retirement?  Is your health status changing?

This is a good time to take a few minutes to just think about these ideas.  And if you think your estate plans needs to be updated, please give us a call.  We’d be glad to help!

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at

Being Prepared Works!

Monday, August 29th, 2011

I hope this finds everyone safe.  Hurricane Irene has come and gone and it appears that most of us on the Virginia Peninsula are ok, although some of us are still without power.

I know that in my family, we are fine.  We were pretty lucky in that the power in our house never went out.  However, we put all of our frozen foods into a cooler with dry ice ‘just in case’.  We also brought in everything from the yard that might be picked up in the high winds, tied down those things that couldn’t be moved inside, and got most of the ‘stuff’ off of the floor in the garage (our garage almost always floods in a storm).  We moved our vehicles to higher ground so they wouldn’t be flooded.

And then we left town since the area where our house is located was told to evacuate.

It was hard to sit and wait with that feeling of being powerless.  However, it helped that we had done everything we could to be prepared for whatever might have happened.

I think of this today as I am also grateful that we have the proper legal documents to assist our family if an emergency were to happen and we were unavailable.  We have the Power of Attorney so that someone could pay our bills.  We have the medical directive so that our family would know what to do if we were injured and unable to make our own decisions.  We have the Will and Trust documents so that our property could pass more easily in the case of our deaths.

Estate plans are just one more way to be prepared.

I could have been really irritated that we went to so much trouble last Friday to get prepared for things that (luckily) we did not need.  Instead, it was comforting to know that our preparations were done ‘just in case’.

If you want to discuss how you can be prepared for a personal emergency, call the office for an estate plan consultation!

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at

Back to School Emergency Cards

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

It’s time for a new school year and that means shopping for school clothes, meeting new teachers, and filling out emergency cards.

The emergency cards can be helpful in telling the school who is authorized to pick your kids up from school if you aren’t able to be there.  And it can help to make sure that your child is not sent home with a stranger pretending to be a relative, or anyone else that you do not want to be around your children.

What these emergency cards can’t do is authorize someone to temporarily take custody of your children if a serious accident happens to you during the school day (or any other time).  if something happens to you, the authorities can only leave your kids with their legal guardian.

So what happens if there isn’t a legal guardian?  The authorities will find someone in the foster care system to take care of your kids until ‘things can be worked out’.  That means that your kids will be with strangers during this emotional and difficult time.  Not with the neighbor who knows them or the parent of their friend from school.

Most parents know they should name a guardian for their kids in their Will, but a Will only becomes meaningful after your death, and even then it may take days or weeks to find the document and get it entered with the court.  What about in the meantime?  And what if you are injured and in a hospital instead of deceased?

In Virginia, you can draft something called a ‘standby guardianship’ which tells everyone who YOU want to have custody of your children if you are not able to take care of them yourself.

This important document should be drafted by every parent and reviewed on at least an annual basis to make sure that it contains your current wishes.  There may have been a change in your life, and there may have also been a change in the life of the neighbor or friend you had named before.  You should also make sure that your babysitter knows how to find a copy of this document, and a copy should be given to the school as well as the person named in your document.

We all have busy lives and we forget to do some things.  As you are filling out the emergency cards for school this year, take a minute and review your standby guardian designation to make sure it is still valid.  And if you don’t have a standby guardian for your minor children, now is the time to get this important document!

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at

A Unique Graduation Present

Monday, May 30th, 2011

May and June are busy months if you have a senior in high school or college.  There are graduation parties, plans for the future and the hunt for the perfect graduation present.

You want something ‘different’, not the same old ‘cross pen’ or ‘briefcase’ or whatever.

Why not a Durable Power of Attorney? or an Advance Medical Directive?

Lots of graduates don’t think they need these and many don’t think they can afford to pay a lawyer to have these critical documents drafted for them.  Unfortunately, the truth is that these are vital documents that every adult should have in place before they are needed. And young adults are one of the groups that is most prone to accidents and might need to have these documents in the next few years.

Once a person reaches the age of 18, he or she is considered a legal adult.  This means that Mom and Dad can no longer make legal decisions for them.  Mom and Dad can no longer call the school to make arrangements for school work if the child is ill.  Mom and Dad can no longer take the child to the hospital and authorize treatment.  Mom and Dad can no longer call the insurance company and take over after a car accident.

That is, unless the child has named Mom and/or Dad as their agent under a Power of Attorney.

This year, why not give the graduate in your life something really different?  (and really useful!)

To Learn more about Kristina Beavers, Attorney at Law visit the website at

Do you have a ‘special needs’ child?

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Most of us know that each child is special and unique, but in this case I’m talking about a child that has ‘special needs’.

These special needs can run the gamut from being mildly allergic to milk to being unable to care for themselves at all.

When the child is under the age of 18, the parent can make decisions for the child without question so long as they have not been removed as the legal guardian of the child.

But what happens when that child reaches the age of majority?  In most states, a person is presumed to be able to make their own decisions when they reach the age of 18.

If your child’s special need is to not drink milk, this is probably ok.  The child probably knows to stay away from foods that have negative consequences.  But what about a child that is not able to take care of his or her own self?

If the now-adult child is capable of understanding what it means, he or she can execute a power of attorney giving the parent (or someone else) the authority to act or make decisions on behalf of the child.  If the child is not capable of understanding what it means, the courts may need to step in to authorize someone to take actions on behalf of the child.  This person is usually called a ‘guardian’ or ‘conservator’.

As a parent, you also want to make sure that your young child is cared for in case something should happen to you.  While this is important for all parents, it is even more important for parents of special needs children who may not be able to successfully transition to the care of others in the case of an emergency.

There are also a number of financial and legal planning activities that the parents of a special needs child should know about in order to make the best decisions for the entire family.

If you have a special needs child, you probably already have a number of specialists working with you on your child’s medical and educational plans.  You should also consider having someone work with you on your child’s legal plan.

To Learn more about Kristina Beavers, Attorney at Law visit the website at