Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

PRENUP FOR ‘MATURE’ COUPLES

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

We’ve all heard of couples who have a prenuptial agreement to deal with inherited wealth, but we probably think a prenup is only for when one spouse is wealthy and the other spouse does not own as much.  That is just one of the situations where a prenup is a good idea.

Wealth is not the only criteria for creating a prenup, making sure you know about the resources that each spouse owns and how those resources will be distributed if the marriage ends in divorce.

Another situation where you might want a prenup is when this is not the first marriage for either or both of the spouses, especially if there are children of a previous marriage.  People often want to ensure that the resources they have gathered prior to this marriage are going to be used for their biological children in the situation where their marriage to someone who is not the other parent of those children comes to an end.  A good estate plan can assist with the distribution of assets, but an estate plan often comes into play only after someone’s death, and not when a marriage ends in divorce.

Age is another factor to be considered because future earning power often becomes limited due to a much shorter remaining life span.  For example, someone in their twenties has over forty years to earn sufficient funds to support their lifestyle, while the earning lifespan for someone in their forties or fifties is very much reduced.

Also, it is less likely that someone in their twenties will have established a large retirement fund while it is more likely that someone past the age of fifty has at least started to fund a retirement plan.

In addition, it is always a good idea to think about how a partnership will end while the people still like each other.  We usually suggest that people draft an agreement about how to end a business while they are drafting the business organizational documents.  It is the same with a marriage.

If you have further questions about a prenup, or if you need some help in getting started, please contact our office at 757-234-4650 to schedule a consultation. We would like the opportunity to help you get started!

Do I really need an attorney?

Friday, April 20th, 2018

The short answer is ‘no’. I am not aware of any law that requires you to use an attorney.

HOWEVER, (and this is a big however. That’s why it is in all CAPS) even if you aren’t required to have an attorney, you will be held to the same standards as an attorney. That means that you will be expected to follow all of the same rules that an attorney would need to follow. You will be expected to file the same papers in the same order as an attorney. And you will be expected to address the court in the same manner as an attorney.

Here is a true story that I’ll tell as an example.

I once had a leak (just a small drip actually) in the outside water pipe at my house. We decided that it would be too expensive to hire a plumber to fix it, so we decided to do it ourselves. How tough could it be? So we got a big wrench and started to undo the faucet that was attached to the pipe. It was hard to turn! So we tried harder. And then the pipe cracked! and not right at the end. No, the pipe cracked just under the ground. We had water everywhere! And we ended up having to turn all of the water off to the house. And of course it was evening, so we couldn’t even get anyone to come out until the next day. And of course the next day was a Sunday.

We ended up paying a plumber to come out on an emergency basis (double time) and on a Sunday (triple time, although since it was an emergency we were already going to be paying double time). And we ended up paying to have the entire pipe replaced including under the ground, which meant that my plants had to be displaced (and yes, they all died).

And we spent the night in the house with no running water.

The moral of this story?

It ended up costing me a lot more than it would have cost if I had just called the plumber in the first place!

Now, I really look at any leak to decide if I really, REALLY know I can do it myself. And if there is any question, I call a plumber.

And I go through the same thought process when it comes to hiring an attorney.

‘Do it yourself’ does not always save you money!

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com

What’s in a name?

Monday, January 8th, 2018

I have a name. Actually, I have lots of names. Kristina Beavers, Mom, Grandma Kris, and maybe some I don’t even know about. I’ve also had a last name when I was a child, and different last names when I was married to prior husbands.

A name is how people identify you. And it’s also how you often identify yourself.

So, what do you name your child when he or she is born? We all struggle over the first and possibly middle names, but did you know that you can also select a last name? And, no, that last name doesn’t need to be the same as the father, or the mother. What this means is that Susie Baker, who is married to Tom Taylor can have a child and name her Jane Smith. (note that these names are as samples only and not an indication of any real persons).

Is this a good idea? I don’t really think so. For one thing, people may assume that you and the child have the same last name. That can make things very confusing when meeting people from your child’s school. That can also cause problems when you sign permission slips for school trips or when you take your children on trips yourself.

I’ve even had clients that gave their children a last name that didn’t match the last name of either parent.  That was a little confusing.

So when you have a child and are thinking of a name, be sure to think about how that name might cause problems for you and the child throughout the child’s life.

And if you happen to have a name that you don’t like, you can usually get that name changed legally, but there are some steps that need to be followed.

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com

A New Year’s Plan

Monday, January 1st, 2018

The New Year is a great time to make resolutions and set goals.

But goals probably won’t be met unless we also have a plan of how to get there. If we are traveling to DisneyWorld, the goal is to get to the magic kingdom. But we can’t get there unless we know which road to take and calculate how long it will take us to get there. We might need to stay overnight on the way, so we need to find a hotel and make advance reservations. We might be lucky and just find a great hotel at a great price right where we want to stop at the end of the day. But, we might also be unlucky and find that we get tired of driving just after we go through the last town for 100 miles. If we plan ahead, we’ll know for sure that we have a room when and where we want one.

Now is a great time to think about what you want to do in the coming year, and to make the plans to ensure you get what you want.

Are you a young parent who does not yet have a Will or estate plan? Do you know who will take care of your children if anything happens to you?

Or are you an older person who’s children have grown up and are out of the house? Have you updated your will or estate plan to take these changes into account?

Are you thinking about starting a new business this year? do you know what steps you need to go through to get that accomplished?

Has your family life reached the stage that you just can’t stand it any longer? And you want to make sure that you and your children are protected financially?

Are you finally going to purchase that house this year?

One of my personal goals this year is to lose weight (yes, again). This time I have a plan of how to approach it and monthly mini-goals along the way so that I can adjust what I’m doing if it doesn’t seem to be working for me. And I have it on paper so I can touch it and read it every day to make sure I’m on track.

Another goal I have is to make sure that my own estate plan is up to date. My plan includes reviewing my living will to make sure that I haven’t changed my mind about any of my previous decisions. It also includes checking to make sure that any investments I’ve made this past year are included and that things I’ve sold are removed from my trust documents.

I have goals for my business and what I want to accomplish this year. My plan includes pieces on marketing, new subject areas and customer service. And I set milestones for each month so I can check my progress to make sure I’m still going in the right direction.

As you can see, I have lots of goals (and plans) for this new year.

If you need help with any legal aspects of your plans for this new year, call the office at 757-234-4650 and we can set up an appointment to discuss your goals and how to get there.

It’s that time of year !

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Sure, it’s holiday time and everyone is running around being busy. And the kids are going to be out of school for awhile. And the weather has taken a definite turn to the colder.

But, more importantly, the end of the year is approaching!

That means that most of us really need to start thinking about taxes and what we can do now to get ready.

If you had a great income this year (and I know there are some out there), you might want to consider paying some expenses before the end of this year, even if they aren’t really due yet. And it might be a good time to make a donation to a charity that needs your help more this year.

If you had a less-than-stellar year (and I know there are probably even more of these out there), you might want to consider pushing paying some of those expenses until after January 1st. Just be sure to get those payments in on time! A tax break next year won’t be worth as much as a late fee next month!

It’s also time to get your records in order. I always set up a large envelope on my desk so that I can just ‘shove’ in the tax records as they arrive. That way, I don’t have to go all through the house looking for that mortgage interest statement that came included with the December (or January) billing statement. I can always put the papers in order later, but at least I know where they are.

And also remember that nerves get frayed at this time of the year. Sometimes we get upset by things that normally would be overlooked.

So while you’re getting your tax papers in order, remember to count to 10 (or 20) and to cut everyone some slack as the holiday’s arrive. Hopefully, they’ll do the same for you! 🙂

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com

Keep copies of contracts!

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

I know you’ve heard it before….”An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on!”….But what about a written contract?

If you don’t have a copy to prove that it ever existed, it can be just like an oral contract.

Yes, oral contracts can be upheld. But it’s much harder to prove the agreement when there isn’t a writing.

And sometimes, there was a written contract, but we ‘trusted’ the other person and tossed our copy of the contract because we don’t want to accumulate clutter. This can be a problem when you need to prove that the contract ever existed, or when you need to prove one of the clauses in the contract.

Also, if you ever sign a mortgage loan document, make SURE to get a copy of the entire contract. And make sure that your copy contains the same terms as the copy you signed and gave back to the loan broker (or notary).

I like to trust people, but there are some very not-nice folks out there these days who are trying hard to make a living. And sometimes, those people do things that aren’t quite right.

There are also companies that are being bought or sold and perhaps with a name change.  In the process, their copy of the written contract may be lost by mistake.

It’s always better to be safe.

So protect yourself and keep copies of the contract. At least until the contract has been totally performed.

And yes, that means that you should keep your home mortgage contract for 30 years (if that’s the length of your mortgage) or until you receive notification that the mortgage has been paid off.

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com

Why use a lawyer?

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Sometimes, you need to use a lawyer because you are involved in a situation where doing the wrong thing will cost you a lot. For example, if someone files a lawsuit against you and you don’t respond in the correct manner and in the correct timeframe, you automatically lose.

Sometimes, you need to use a lawyer because the process is too confusing for you to do it yourself. No, the courts don’t really do that on purpose to support lawyers! But in order to make it fair for everyone, sometimes the rules can get really involved.

Let’s take a simple non-legal situation. You leave your teenager in the house while you run to the grocery store and you tell him “don’t leave the house”. That sounds simple, right?

But what if the house is on fire? of course you want him to leave then.

Or what if Grandma comes to visit and drops a package on the sidewalk? Wouldn’t you want him to leave the house to help Grandma pick up the package?

Or what if his best friend comes by to visit and purposely drops a candy wrapper on the ground? Would you want him to leave the house to “help the friend pick up the candy wrapper”?

So you change the rule to “Don’t leave the house, unless it’s imporant.” Well, I’ve had teenagers. “Important” to you and “Important” to a teenager can be completely different!

Pretty soon, you have a really complicated list of rules….or in our case, laws.

Sometimes the laws may not make sense to you. After all, if you don’t have a dog, you don’t understand the rule that says “it’s ok to leave the house to grab the dog before he runs into the street.”

Pretty soon, you have rules that you can’t just write on one piece of paper. Pretty soon, you have rules that take up books or even sets of books. And then you need a way to know what book to look in and what rule to use. And then you realize that you don’t have a rule that exactly fits your situation.

For example, what if Grandma drops a crumb from a cookie she is eating? Do you still want your teen to leave the house to help, even if Grandma doesn’t want to retrieve that crumb? Does it make a difference if your teen has a friend that is standing a few steps away from Grandma? Does it make a difference if there is a vicious pit-bull coming down the block toward Grandma?

Sometimes, it’s just tough to know what to do!

And THAT’S why you need a lawyer. Just like a doctor is trained to look at the body and discover an illness, a lawyer is trained to look at the rules and discover which rules apply and how to interpret the rules when your particular situation isn’t spelled out in black and white.

Sometimes you need a little help…

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

and you may not know where to look.

Even if you aren’t in my area of the country (that would be Virginia, in the historic triangle of Yorktown, Jamestown and Williamsburg!) you can see if I have a link to an attorney or website or blog that might have the info you are looking for. Even if the law firm isn’t in your state, they may have some good information to send you in the right direction!

I’m trying to get a wide variety of resources, so you can have a great choice. Here’s what I have so far:

Drugs Pharmaceutical ClassActions Products Liability

Elder Law

Criminal and DUI defense

Sexual Harrassment in the workplace

Business Law

Business Law

Personal Injury Law

Consumer Law

AVVO

Keep an eye on my blogroll info on the right hand column of this blog, I’ll add other sites as I find them. And if you find a site that you think would be helpful for others, let me know and I’ll check it out!

Where Should I keep my Will?

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

Your Will is a very important document that will be used to tell the Court how you want your assets to be divided in the event of your death.

Also, if you have minor children, your Will tells the Court who you want to have guardianship of your children in the event of your death. And of course, you Will names the person you want as the executor of your estate.

The Will really has no meaning until you die. Of course, if you have died, you won’t be around to tell anyone where to look for this very important document.

So that brings up the question….Where should I keep my Will?

In some states, a safe-deposit box in a bank can’t be opened until after the Executor gets the ‘letters’ from the court. But how do you know who the executor is without the Will in the first place? So in those states, your safe deposit box at the bank is a bad place to keep the Will.

Fortunately, in Virginia, the bank will allow the safe-deposit box to be opened for the express purpose of trying to locate the Will. If the Will is found in the box, the bank will make a copy of the Will, along with an inventory of the contents of the box, and you may take the original of the Will to Court while the copy and all of the contents (as well as the inventory) are left in the box.

I’ve also heard people say they leave all of their important papers in a zip-lock baggie in the freezer compartment of their refrigerator. That probably wouldn’t be my favorite place. The argument is that the freezer will probably be safe in the event of a fire or other disaster in the home, and they think people will know to look there. Personally, I only look in the freezer when I’m looking for ice cream!

You could leave the original Will with the attorney. But what happens when you haven’t been back to that attorney for a few years, and nobody in the family is aware of the attorney’s name or phone number? I guess each attorney could review the list of death notices every day to see if their client has died, but that’s just not going to happen.

My recommended place for your Will is in a fireproof box in your home.

The most important thing to remember is that wherever you decide to keep your Will (and all of your important papers, such as the deed to your house), you should make sure to tell your loved ones where they are!

I generally give my clients a binder with flexible sides so that it can forced to fit into a smaller space. This binder contains all of the estate planning documents in one place. I also include a section on ‘Important Contact Information’ so that my client can put in the names and phone numbers of all of the insurance agents, investment advisers, life insurance policy numbers, (etc.) as well as the contact information for all family members. That way, the loved one only has to pick up one binder and all of the information needed will be right there! I also suggest that my clients include a section on what they want to have done with their remains. That way, there is no question in the family about what you really would have wanted.

So, what is the right answer to my question, Where Should I keep my Will?

Wherever your loved ones will look for it!

Are you the perfect client?

Monday, June 19th, 2017

There is rarely a ‘perfect’ anything. but there are ways you can strive to be the perfect legal client!

1. Be willing to listen. You might not like my advice, or the facts I have to tell you, but I am working hard to represent you the best way possible. So hear me out. Don’t get immediately defensive and stop listening to my whole statement.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I am here to represent YOU, and that means that you need to understand what I’m doing on your behalf.

3. Be prepared to go through stressful situations. I’ll do my best to make this as easy as possible, but legal matters are often stressful. You might want to consider getting the assistance of a therapist or talking to your doctor about something to help with your anxiety. We can all make better decisions if we are thinking clearly.

4. Be respectful of me and my staff and our time. We are people too and we have families and commitments as well. Don’t call at the last minute and get angry if we can’t stay late to accommodate your change in schedules. That also includes being on time for appointments. We make an effort to be sure we are prepared for your appointment and to clear our desk of other items during that time. If you show up late, or if you don’t show up at all, that means that we could have been spending our time on something else. This may not make a difference to you now, but think about how it might impact you if we tell you we are booked on the day you want to come in, and then those people don’t show up. You could have had the appointment you wanted if only the other client had told us in advance that they were not going to show up.

5. Keep good records. This is an important one! Once you have retained an attorney it is a good idea to buy a notebook or folder of some kind to start storing all those documents relating to your case. Also, keep track of activities that relate to your case. If you have a child custody and visitation situation, keep track of the times that the other parent visits with the child (and also keep track of the times when the other parent said they were going to visit and they did not show up). If your situation has to do with payments of any kind (e.g., child support, spousal support, rent payments on a house) keep a detailed record of when those payments were due, when they were paid, how much was paid and sometimes the manner of payment.

6. Do not hide information. If you are a client, we have an attorney – client relationship. This means that everything you tell me is told in confidence, so tell me everything, even if you think it might make you look foolish. I’d much rather hear it in my office than hear about it for the first time in a courtroom!

By following these suggestions, you can greatly improve the attorney-client relationship. If we work together then we have a better chance of getting the results we are working towards.