Has it been a little while since you’ve seen our team? If so, there may be some new faces!
And if there are some folks you need to meet, it might be a good time to review your estate planning documents. Remember, it’s a good idea to have our attorneys take a look at your plan periodically to ensure that any changes in the law won’t affect you. If you’ve experienced any of the following, updates are a must:
- Divorce or remarriage, whether doing so personally, or if anyone in your family does
- Loss of a loved one, particularly if that person was given gifts or responsibilities in your documents
- Relocation, especially if it is out of state
- A significant change in assets, be it real estate, personal property, financial, or business-related
- Retirement, as this may affect your assets and investments, and your overall tax profile
- New child or grandchild, through birth or adoption
The list could go on, and still miss the reason YOU may need to visit. We look forward to working with you to craft your personal plan, tailored for your unique story.
Occasionally, someone in our professional network sends along some information that strikes a chord. Dave would like to share one such instance with you.
In her article, The #1 Thing To Say Instead of “I Know How You Feel”, Amy Florian of Corgenius recognizes how helpless many of us feel when we’re talking to someone coping with grief. Maybe you’ve been tempted to say, “I know how you feel.” The reality is, no, we don’t have any idea how they feel. Even if we have lived through similar circumstances, everyone is unique, and so is their journey through grief.
Another almost default phrase is, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.” Sadly, this can make the grieving person feel isolated and even more lonely.
So how can we offer compassionate, kind words, that recognize the uniqueness of someone’s situation while drawing them into a conversation that demonstrates your empathy? Try using a phrase like:
- “In a situation like this, I bet that a lot of people have told you they can’t imagine what you’re going through. If you could get into their imaginations, what would tell them?”
- “I’m trying to imagine what this is like for you. What can you tell me that will help me better understand?”
Remember, too, that many of life’s changes can trigger a grieving period. In addition to the loss of a loved one, people can grieve the dissolution of a marriage, an empty nest, or even retirement.
Kindness and compassion is appropriate in every situation, and learning the best language to use can ease that situation for many. If you know someone coping with some of life’s challenges, maybe you can benefit from the tools shared in Ms. Florian’s article. And, as always, let us know if we can help.
Many of our clients are aware of DocuBank, a service that provides immediate access to healthcare directives and emergency medical information. We’ve helped some of our Family Heritage (trust) clients enroll over the years, and we look forward to helping many of you do the same in the future.
We’ve received word that DocuBank has added an easier way for clients with COMPLETE memberships to add and update their list of medications. The two new online options will allow clients to type their medications right into an online form or upload a PDF file they have already created.
This information will be transmitted to doctors whenever the card is used. DocuBank has offered medication list storage for years and will continue to accept handwritten or emailed forms from clients who prefer this method. These new options allow for instantaneous additions and updates and make it easier to use and manage their medication lists. You can watch a demo here.
Our DocuBank clients should receive an email about this, but if you have any questions, please contact DocuBank.
Toll-free Customer Service is 866-362-8226 and is answered live M-F from 9 am to 5 pm EST.
We know that some of our clients are impacted by the Sygenta lawsuit and its related issues. In an effort to keep you as up to date as possible, here’s an article we received from colleagues:
Dave would like to point out that, “no matter what anyone says, this litigation is a long way from being a ‘slam dunk’. The facts are complicated (who has the burden of proving commingling of grain or the lack of it, whether commingling or contamination actually took place, etc.) and the legal issues related to the responsibility of Sygenta and others for consequences triggered, at least in part, by the action of a Sovereign nation are subject to limited precedent (statutes and prior binding or even analogous legal rulings), if any. It is impossible to predict how this will turn out.” If you’d like to talk with him further, you can contact Dave in our Paris office.
The landscape of estate planning is ever-changing, due in part to how frequently new legislation affects IRAs, taxable income, and charitable giving. Our clients often have a lot of questions about this aspect of their estate plan, and we do our best to present them with current news. This is a good explanation of the PATH Act and how it might affect your planning.
If that seems pretty dense to you, you’re not alone! Sometimes the best approach is to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys in Effingham or Paris, IL or in Terre Haute, IN. Even if you have an existing plan, new legislation might change the way it affects your family! Reviewing your documents periodically is always a good idea!
We spend a lot of time talking about and educating folks about what happens to their physical assets following their death or disability. Have you ever given any thought to what happens to your digital assets? We spend hours and hours on the Internet, and many of us have multiple online accounts: banking, credit cards, investment services, even shopping profiles. In fact, some people are such avid gamers that they buy and sell accounts, or hand them off to successors. While that probably doesn’t describe most of us, we still encourage our clients and friends to, at the most informal, leave a list of their online activities for their trusted loved ones, or, more formally, include digital information in their estate planning documents. (Get in touch with us to talk about this in greater detail.)
Many of us also invest a great deal of energy in our social media identities. Have you ever wondered what happens to, say, your Facebook profile once you’re no longer able to maintain it? Recently, our friend and colleague Anna Eckert Byrne brought the following information to our attention:
Facebook allows you to designate a “Legacy Contact” who will be allowed to access your Facebook profile if necessary. In order to add a Legacy Contact:
- Click the arrow in the top right corner of Facebook and select Settings
- In the left menu, click Security
- Click Legacy Contact
- Type in a friend’s name and click Add
- To let your friend know they’re now your legacy contact, click Send
Google has an “Inactive Account Manager” tool that allows you to set an amount of time you want Google to wait before taking action (3, 6, 9 months, or a year).
One month before that deadline, if Google hasn’t heard from you, it will send you an alert by either email or text message. If that month closes out and you still have not re-entered your account, Google will notify your “trusted contacts” — you can list up to 10 — and share your data with them if you have so chosen.
You may also set your account to delete any and all of the information in your Google account. To utilize “Inactive Account Manager”:
- Click your photo in the top right hand corner of your Google account
- Click My Account
- Under Personal Info and Privacy click Control your content
- Scroll down and click Change this Setting in the Inactive Account Manager box
- Click Setup
It seems that LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter do not yet have similar options, and we haven’t caught up with some of the other social media ‘you kids’ are using. Are you tech savvy, and know something we don’t about creating legacy or trusted contacts on social media? Please email information to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can update our list!
Mayor Jeff Bloemker of Effingham signed a proclamation declaring this Special Needs Law week. Over the years, we’ve learned that families whose loved one has special needs often have questions about how they can provide for their family member without hindering that individual’s ability to receive assistance from other sources. Sometimes, they have questions about guardianship, or what their rights are in cases of emergency. We have the answers you’re looking for, and we’d like to share them with you. Contact one of our offices; we’re looking forward to meeting your special family!
Farm families have a lot on their plates, considering they make sure that the rest of us have something to put on our plates at suppertime. All too frequently, we meet families who haven’t formalized their business or succession plan for their farm. It’s easy to assume that the kids are going to continue doing things the same way we’ve done them, but, for starters, we know what happens when we assume, and, furthermore, since when do kids do what’s expected of them?
Even if your family is mercilessly free of uncertainty and drama (congratulations!), we think the peace of mind that comes with a well thought-out estate plan is absolutely priceless. We enjoy working with Water Street Solutions, because they share a similar attitude about the importance of protecting the future of the family farm. Their publication, Smart Series, is a great resource for families who’d like to set their business on the right course.
If you’d like to read more, we recommend this article about Legacy Planning: The legacy talk, How to get started and don’t forget to visit www.waterstreet.org for additional information.