Thoughts On Law

March 29, 2011 9:30am

Insolvent Probate: Sometimes when it rains it pours. The death of a spouse is always hard. Then add an illness leading up to the death and a lot of debt can pile up. Sometimes Probate can be a great tool to help the surviving spouse resolve this debt and keep up to $125,000 in assets. Click the above link to see my article about how completing a probate can help.

November 30, 2010 1:05pm

Death with Dignity: See this article, 'Last Right,' Bellingham Herald, August 29, 2010. I am a Whatcom hospice respite care volunteer. I have no doubt that Whatcom Hospice brings tremendous relief and support to families when a person is dying. This article highlights an important issue our society grappels with. In the bigger picture, I find backwardness in the current arrangment of spending more on the last months of life than the first months of life.

November 9, 2010 10:00am

Burial or Cremation Planning: Burial arrangements were discussed briefly at the 55th Annual Estate Planning Seminar in Seattle recently. This article is my write up of the important law, planning opportunities, and proposed legislation in this area. Like any other estate planning, making your burial/cremation wishes known to family can greatly reduce the risk of conflict during a tense and emotional time.

October 6, 2010 10:35am

Legal Capacity Questionnaire: The situation I see often is an Adult Child Caregiver calls my office and wants to schedule an appointment for their elderly parent to update their will. The attorney must confirm that the parent understands and is deciding on certain planning as appose to the adult child influencing the parent toward certain action. A source of certain conflict is when a will is being changed to exclude a family member. As a starting place, an attorney should use something like this informal questionnairre to document what level of capacity exists in a potential client. Doctor reviews and further documentation regarding capacity may be prudent depending on the circumstances.

April 14, 2010 3:24pm

Health Care Directives: Friday is National Health Care Directive Day. I wrote this article to help people understand what how a Health Care Directive works. NPR recently reported that in La Crosse, Wisconsin, over 90% of patients presenting to the Emergency Department have a signed advance directive.

September 24, 2009 3:24pm

Dog bite. OUCH!: Yesterday I attended the dog bite insitute. There are some stiff laws to make sure dogs do not injure people in Washington State. This article covers only some of the most basic topics discussed.

Auguest 24, 2009 2:51pm

Self-Settled Special Needs Trust: There are some tricky requirements for this trusts. I think many professionals go along in their work largely unaware of how their advice will affect a medicaid beneficiary. I hope family law, personal injury attorneys, estate planners, insurance agents and financial planners will read this article.

April 15, 2009 3:35pm

Guardianship for Adults: In our old age we may not be able to care for ourselves properly. If this inability causes a significant risk of physical or financial harm then a guardianship may be necessary. The state will require that all less restrictive alternatives be considered and will appoint a Guardian ad litem to investigate what the best interests of the Alleged Incapacitated Person are. Read this article to learn more.

February 11, 2009 1:41pm

Community Property Agreements: I recently helped a client administer the transfer of her husband's estate under a community property agreement. Use of this document by couples in the appropriate estate can make dealing with the estate of a loved one as easy as possible for the surviving spouse.

January 6, 2009 4:49pm

Unlawful Detainer Actions: During the December County Bar meeting I signed up to volunteer for the Eviction Clinic happening this winter at the County Courthouse. I wrote this one-page article describing the evictions process as part of an effort to better familiarize myself with the law.

January 5, 2009 2:00pm

Vacating a Criminal Conviction: Under RCW 9.96.060 a person meeting certain requirements can petition their sentencing court to vacate their conviction. Because the judge removes the conviction, the petitioner can truthfully say to employers and anyone else, "I have never been convicted." However, this can only be done for one conviction. I have created a test here to determine eligibility (the test is still pretty low tech).

December 3, 2008 10:23am

Third-Party Special Needs Trusts: In my practice I am always trying to offer service that creates the most value to my clients. Special Needs Planning is an area where my clients who are elderly or are parents with disabled children can see a real impact from their planning. Check out this article to see some important points about Special Needs Planning.

October 31, 2008 10:20am

Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA): An attorney's work is filled with elaborate processes. Even getting a check from a client requires multiple letters, accounting statements, and trust accounts. Here, I have review the basic rule for safeguarding client property and I condense the most useful information from the article, "Managing Client Trust Accounts." by WSBA. May 2007.

October 21, 2008 5:33pm

Origin of the term Boilerplate: I have heard an attorney friend and mentor of mine criticize other professionals as being "Hacks," meaning that they do not do their own thinking in their legal work. As a new attorney I feel a sting when he uses this term because as I strive for expertise much of my practice focuses on reviewing what more experienced attorneys do. In this article I process briefly my thoughts on originality and the law.

September 21, 2008 - 10:30am

The intersection between law and mediation: Clients hire lawyers to resolve disputes. Lawyers gather facts and apply knowledge of the law to advise clients on how to avoid a dispute, manage the conflict before it grows, negotiate a settlement, or in the worst case, litigate. After taking a 40-hour facilitative mediation training I have learned that mediation is a cheap, low-risk, highly successful and satisfying option for clients. In this article I wanted to process where mediation fits amidst the legal work lawyers do to resolve disputes.