Not Quite Dead Yet Documents

Who can make decisions on my behalf if I am not able to do so for myself? That’s the central question we all should be asking ourselves as we become adults. It’s a grown up issue that requires grown up thought and decisions. Failure to designate someone who is competent and trusted to uphold your wishes is a vital mistake. The moment when your family needs clarity the most is not the time to try and figure this issue Read More

Proving the Will: The Meaning of Probate

In my estate planning seminars, one of the first subjects we address is estate probate. In fact, at the last seminar, a guest asked what was the origin of the word “probate”? I had to confess that I didn’t know. My assistant looked it up during the dinner and we were able to report back that it comes from the Latin word “probare” meaning to test or prove. So to probate a Will is to “prove” it officially so as to Read More

Shacking Up? Protect Yourself!

In my family law practice I am increasingly being asked to help couples develop a "no-nup" agreement - essentially a prenuptial agreement for couples that have no intention of marrying. It seems that this increase is caused by a) more couples simply putting off or eschewing marriage all together, and b) older couples who have been burned by divorce previously and want to avoid it this time around. In some Read More

Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

What are the estate planning implications of gifting property or money to your heirs? I often get this question during the seminars I give regarding estate planning and Medicaid eligibility. People want to know what happens if I give my heirs some money now? How does that effect my estate? How is it taxed? And is it a good idea? And what is the origin of that silly phrase “Don’t look a gift horse in the Read More

Dead Men Tell No Lies – Nor Where Everything is Located

Joyce Wadler, a brilliant humorist who writes the “I Was Misinformed” column for the New York Times, recently penned an essay titled “The Sex Toys in the Attic” in which she suggests that in addition to designating someone to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated, we should also identify an “Eradicator” to come into our home after we die and remove all of the embarrassing items less they be found by Read More

Let Me Check My Calendar!

I'm a little obsessed with my computer and internet based calendars. And for good reason.  I can't remember when to do anything unless I have it "written down" somewhere. Ironically, in the age of the DayTimer calendaring system, I never maintained a written schedule. But the practice of law involves a host of dates and appointments such that the process is much more complicated - and that's where I look to Read More

Law Practice Management Using Daylite 3

When I first opened my solo practice, one of the first questions I confronted was "What am I going to use to manage my practice?" Being a long time Apple Mac fan boy, I knew that it had to be Mac based as that is the only hardware platform I would consider. At the time, there was no iPhone nor iPad to extend the office virtually so my focus was on a package that could run on both my office and home systems. And for Read More

The Trouble With Juries

I have recently had a run of cases which have gone to trial before a jury in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. It is said that only the most difficult of cases make it to a jury because the vast majority of cases are settled before reaching the trial stage. By definition then, once you get to the point that the case is being tried, anything can really happen. There are arguments to be made on both sides and Read More

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

That old adage, "a picture is worth a thousand words", is never more true than when litigating car accident cases. A good photograph of the accident scene can very often make or break one's case. Yet I can't tell you how often clients come to me without such evidence. This is even more surprising when you think how many people have smartphones that include cameras. A recent market research study indicates that more Read More

Don’t Win the Lottery Just Yet

A couple of weeks ago there was a story about a woman in California who came forward as the winner of the SuperLotto Plus Jackpot prize of $23 million just days before the winning ticket was about to expire. Apparently she never checked the ticket and had simply left it in her car. Luckily for her, her daughter recognized her mother's picture from a surveillance camera and alerted her to her winnings. Why hadn't she Read More