On a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon in early October, Jane despairs at the paperwork piles. Last year, a car crash took Mike, cruelly ending their ten-year marriage. Each year, Mike did the taxes while house bills fell to Jane. Now, it’s all on her. How can she do this alone? A young widow with two young children. Even after a year she cannot concentrate. “Widow’s brain” a friend calls it. A constant fog interrupted by family demands.

Mike and Jane meant to get organized, get their “ducks in a row.” But kids! Jobs! Church! Activities! She gave up her job after the second child. Daycare was so expensive and no family nearby. Jane’s new part-time job barely covers her expenses. What to do now?

Partial Plan Means Total Frustration

Jane could get the checking and savings because they were joint on those accounts. But her name was never put on that cottage Mike inherited. Mike’s life insurance from work is up in the air. They say the “paperwork” is wrong. Health insurance? That “COBRA” policy costs way too much! If Jane gets sick, who takes the kids?

First Things First

Jane and the kids need checkups. Physical and mental! Available without charge in most Michigan counties.

Plan Jane Plan

Jane needs expert help. Thorough review of family assets. Handle Mike’s probate estate. Get the insurance money. Plan for the future. Who gets the kids if she dies? Who will pay the bills? Who makes medical decisions? How can an estate plan that make life for her family easier and safer?

Carrier Law Can Help

A will and trust will direct who gets the kids and the money. No expensive and time-consuming Probate. Financial and health care powers of attorney will allow a loved one to manage her affairs.

Take the First Step!

Jane met experienced, competent counsel who helped her cut through the fog. Take effective action. Provide for herself and her children. As Jane now says, “It’s not about documents, it’s about peace of mind!”

By Claire Clary, Carrier Law Attorney, Widowed Persons Service – Board Member

Many of us enjoy DIY (Do It Yourself) projects. Your ambitions could range anywhere from minor painting to remodeling the bathroom. Why not tackle the whole house? Most of us have the skill to do some minor repairs. But how many have plumbing, electrical, or dry wall talents?

Minor cosmetic home repairs won’t get you in too much trouble. Leave those load-bearing walls alone! But… running electrical circuits or plumbing to a new room takes on some serious risks. Botched wiring means short circuits and fires… shocking! You’ll be crying a river when your amateur plumbing imitates Niagara Falls. Running a gas line to a stove or dryer? What could go wrong? Ka-boom!

What, Me Worry?

Usually when we do our own home repairs, we understand the risks that we are taking on. But what about drafting your own Will or Power of Attorney documents? What is the harm? Many folks think: “I can just download some forms, fill in the blanks and I am all set! So easy!” Right? It’s like using extension cords to wire your house. Scotch tape to seal plumbing joints! Why would you risk your life savings on “free” online forms?

Danger, Danger, High Voltage!

When home remodeling, beware bare wires, leaking pipes, asbestos, and creepy crawly’s. When remodeling your Estate Plan, here are some of your risks with DIY online forms:

1. Healthcare Power of Attorney. What powers should be in these documents? Do you know that if they are not drafted properly, you could be in Probate Court to have a Guardianship setup? This causes more stress, delays and (no big surprise) surprisingly large expenses. Did you forget the Advance Directive? HIPPA? Funeral designee?

2. Financial Power of Attorney. An appropriate Financial Power of Attorney document can preserve your assets… keep you from going broke. Proper advance planning minimizes risks. But what if your bargain basement POA lacks “extraordinary” powers? It may cost you very little or it could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why would you risk botching such an important document?

3. Trusts. When was the last time you drafted a Trust? How did that work out? What provisions are prudent for your specific facts? Should it be revocable or irrevocable, or one of each? What powers should the trustees have? These are a few of the questions to ask. Do you know how to fund a Trust, or even what this means? Do you think it could be expensive to have the wrong Trust setup that is not funded? Maybe “FREE” is the costliest of all…

Safe And Secure

Your LifePlan attorney has already helped hundreds of families like yours. You worked your whole life to save for the Golden Years. Now you are going to bet your life savings on generic, freebie forms. Thinking that you can save some money? You may never recover from that mistake if you don’t know what you are doing.

Written by Attorney Jim Henke

Call the Law Offices of David L. Carrier today at (800) 317-2812

We Make the Rules Work, for the Folks who Play by the Rules!

5 Immediate Steps and 5 Actions That Can Wait

Death may be sudden and shocking. Death may be expected and tragic. Whether anticipated or surprising, your loved one’s death will affect you in unexpected ways. There is nothing routine about it. Well-meaning friends and relations offer conflicting advice. Confusion reigns. But you can assert control. You can rebuild normalcy. You can do it! Here’s how.

You will be told to let some time go by before acting. On this advice, many families allow years to pass before settling matters. Uncertainty is prolonged. Family tensions can grow. Thoughtful, considered action is necessary for family harmony.

Do These Things Right Now!

1. Notify Family: Phone, Facebook, Text message.
2. Lock the Home and Vehicles (If there are other folks with keys to the home, who are not living at the home, re-key the locks.)
3. Look for Legal Documents: Trust, Will, Funeral Plans, Funeral Representative Designation.
4. Make Funeral Arrangements: Did the loved one make plans?
5. Care for Surviving Pets: This affects them too.

Get These Done In The Next Couple Of Weeks

1. Funeral Home: Secure Death Certificate. Get 10 copies (you won’t need that many, but better safe than sorry.)
2. Post Office: Forward the deceased loved one’s mail to the Trustee or Personal Representative’s address
3. Bank, Credit Union, Financial Advisor, Investment Company: Call them and let them know of the loved one’s death.
4. Cable TV, Internet, Cell Phone, Delivery: Cancel any optional services.
5. Law Offices of David L. Carrier: Give us a call, you have a friend who can help with the rest. At the free initial meeting, you get a roadmap for the process and advice from folks who have helped thousands like you. Do it yourself (no charge!) or have us help (fully disclosed, fixed fees), it’s 100% up to you.

Call Lea Dillard, Senior Trust and Probate Paralegal at (800) 317-2812

You may wonder what is going on. Why have governors, mayors, city councils betrayed the people? Did you suspect the cowardice now on display? How can months of rioting be condoned? Are robbery, murder, assault and mob rule “what democracy looks like”?

Almost 200 years ago, our nation faced similar issues. Mob rule replaced representative democracy. Murder, by hanging, burning alive, shooting, in the name of justice, “pervaded the country, from New England to Louisiana…” In January 1838, a 28-year-old lawyer confronted these problems. The lawyer’s name was Abraham Lincoln.

America Must Live Through All Time Or Die By Suicide

Lincoln acknowledged that no foreign danger could threaten the United States. “All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth… could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.”

Lincoln saw that risk comes from within. “[Danger] cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Although painful to admit, Lincoln observed that “Accounts of outrages committed by mobs, form the everyday news of the times. They have pervaded the country, from New England to Louisiana…” “[B]y instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint, but dread of punishment, they thus become, absolutely unrestrained.” Isn’t Lincoln describing Seattle, Portland, Kenosha?

Lincoln’s fundamental truth: “There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.” Anyone who says differently is selling something.

Lincoln Foresaw Today’s Situation

Lincoln observed that “whenever the vicious portion of population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision-stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure, and with impunity; depend on it, this Government cannot last.”

How can today’s politicians excuse their craven cowardice? Betrayal of middle-class Americans, whether 160 years or 3 months ago, has the same disastrous consequences. They cannot claim ignorance. Why have they abandoned their oath to preserve, protect, defend?

The Solution

Lincoln did not despair. He conceded the glamour of violence. He saw the selfish ambition of those who “thirst and burn” for fame. Our hope, Lincoln said, is that “the people [stay] united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate” the “mobocratic spirit.”

We have faced down enemies, foreign and domestic, before. We can do so again. Not by meeting violence with violence. But by steady devotion to our great nation and the rule of law. Do not despair, persist.
Note: All quotes from Abraham Lincoln, The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions: Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838

Every soldier and Marine, and some airmen and sailors, too, know the delights of the Combat Ration. Also known as the C-Ration or C-Rat. Packing 1200 calories into a small, brown cardboard box. Three olive drab tin cans. Main course, soda crackers, something spreadable like peanut butter, jelly, or cheese. Sometimes pound cake or cookies. Plus, a brown foil envelope: salt, pepper, coffee or cocoa, toilet paper. And a P38 can opener. It could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. As an Army ROTC cadet and on active duty, I ate quite a few.

Everyone said that some C-Rats came with cigarettes, but I never saw any. The best was the John Wayne bar: a disk of chocolate with toffee bits. Spread peanut butter on the soda crackers and make a sandwich with the John Wayne bar. Almost heaven. Getting a John Wayne bar was winning the lottery, and no one ever traded it away.

Printed on the top flap of the C-Rat box was the main course. Beans with Frankfurter Chunks in Tomato Sauce, Fried Ham, Chicken and Noodles, Spaghetti and Meatballs (like mama made!). There were others. C-Rats came 12 or 16 to the case. The case was always flipped upside down when you went to draw your ration. No picking or choosing!

My very first C-Rat was “Ham and Eggs, Chopped.” Scrambled eggs. With ham. From hens that had died during the Eisenhower Administration. In a can. (But I did get a John Wayne bar!!)

It taught me a valuable lesson. Never go on a Field Training Exercise without a bottle of Tabasco.

What has this got to do with LifePlanningTM? Everything!

LifePlan™ Basic Facts

FACT #1: Middle-class Americans cannot afford the $6000-$12,000 per month costs of long-term care.
FACT #2: Life savings evaporate like snowflakes on a hot griddle. (Don’t kid yourself about this. Folks with hundreds of thousands in savings go broke every day. You are not immune.)
FACT #3: When you are broke, then Medicaid, the government solution, kicks in.
FACT #4: LifePlanning™ enables you to qualify for Medicaid without going broke.

C-Rats, Medicaid, Tabasco, Long-term Care, Extras! The Government Solution

C-Rations are the government solution to soldiers’ need to eat in the field. Medicaid is the government solution to Americans’ need for long term care.

You Cannot Avoid the Government Solution.

There are no McDonald’s in the field. You cannot pack in enough sandwiches. You must eat the C-Rat. Long-term care is expensive. You cannot save enough to pay what it actually costs. You will go broke. You must take the Medicaid.

By Planning Ahead, You Can Add To The Government Solution.

Buy some Tabasco at the PX or Commissary. Bring it with you. Share it with your buddies. You’ll be glad you did! Preserve your lifesavings through LifePlanning™. Do not go broke when you need long-term care. Add the services you want and need by paying for them yourself. You choose. You decide.

Freedom, Security, Personal Responsibility

You have lifesavings now because you took personal responsibility for yourself, your spouse, your family. You did not shirk. You did the tough stuff. There are some people out there who did not. Those people will receive Medicaid benefits immediately. You will not. You will have to deplete your savings. Sell the cottage. No legacy. No ability to provide for your spouse. No choice.

How is that fair? I do not think that it is. That’s why I have developed and practiced the LifePlan™ strategy for the last 30 years. You are not a chump, a sucker, or a loser for having worked, saved, and cared for yourself and your family. We make the rules work for the people who played by the rules.

Get Information Now! Call 1-800-317-2812