You (Finally) Called an Attorney to Create an Estate Plan – Now What?

It is very common for estate planning attorneys to get calls from people who have been meaning to get their estate plan together for quite some time.  I often meet with parents of young children, who have been thinking about getting documents in order since they knew they were pregnant, but are now getting around to it when their kiddo (or kiddos) are toddlers or older.  It is ...
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Jumping to Conclusions – With Little (or No) Information

Chances are, if you’re being honest, that you jump to conclusions all the time, even when you don’t have the full story (or even a chapter of it).  All of the time we hear little snippets of information or see one interaction and we create a backstory for the people or things involved. This past week’s This American Life focused on stories about seeing something from the out...
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Can I Leave a Handwritten Note as My Will?

The short answer, at least in Oregon, is maybe – it depends where the will was created and whether or not it was properly witnessed. A “holographic” will, which usually refers to a document in the decedent’s handwriting without witnesses is not valid in Oregon (though other states allow holographic wills).  If the will was executed in a state that allows holographic wills, O...
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Saying No to Unreasonable Requests

A client recently reached out to me regarding an issue she was having with a cable company refusing to cancel her account and waive early termination fees, even though she was moving to an elder care facility.  When she contacted the cable company herself, she was told that she had to provide a letter from a doctor stating the medical reasons for her move. First, let’s be cl...
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Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys – Trying to Keep Perspective

"Not my circus, not my monkeys" is often attributed as a Polish proverb.  I don’t know whether that is true or not, but I do know that I repeat that phrase in my head multiple times a day (especially on the hard days). When you are working with people in difficult and sensitive circumstances, it is very easy to fall into mirroring their emotions and getting caught up in thei...
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Put Pen to Paper – The Power of Handwritten Notes

I write notes a lot – birthday cards, thank you notes, postcards, “thinking of you” check ins, etc. – and I handwrite them (at least most of the time).  From time to time, stories hit pop culture news about the dying art of handwriting and the demise of the written letter. Part of this shift is definitely generational and based in current access to technology.  This was brou...
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Cohabitation Basics for Couples Who Live Together, but Aren’t Married

Romantic partners are living together all the time these days without getting married (and even without the intention of ever getting married).  There are important considerations to keep in mind when you make the decision to live with someone else, especially when you are romantically involved. Some people choose to enter into cohabitation agreements.  A cohabitation agreem...
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Committed, but Not Married – Estate Planning Tips

Committed couples who are not legally married have a number of estate planning considerations to plan for if they want their partner to inherit from them, as well as handle their medical and financial affairs in the case of incapacity.  It is not uncommon for people to assume that their partner of many years will automatically be able to step into important roles, as well as in...
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