Author: Bernie Greenberg

Estate Planning for Extended Families

The Complexity of Planning for Blended Families

Each blended family represents a unique act of loving combination and set of complex issues, finances and emotions. Estate planning for blended families takes on this complexity and uniqueness.

In this brief video we describe some of the issues and complexities to be considered:

As the video describes every blended family’s uniqueness and circumstances require careful and thoughtful planning. At the outset, any conflicts of interest must be examined and resolved to determine if more lawyers are required to represent individual family members.

Before proceeding with any planning exercise caution and make sure you are working appropriate specialists. For more information or to learn more about planning for blended families, contact our office at 303-688-3535.

coronavirus business practices

Best Business Practices During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged everyone worldwide. Owners of small businesses have faced threats to their survival no one anticipated or planned for. As our businesses begin to re-open and go back to work what best practices should business owners and managers deploy?

If you have access to HR personnel or services then rely on that expertise. Their expertise is critical in developing your re-opening policies for both employees and customers. Depending on which county your business is in rules which govern your re-opening will vary. Businesses with locations in different counties will be subject to different rules from one county to the next.

Make sure the guidelines you develop for your business are clear and in writing. Make sure your guidelines fully align and comply with the jurisdictions in which your business operates. Having your guidelines comply with your applicable jurisdiction is critical to maintaining compliance with legal rules and regulations and in promoting confidence of your employees and customers.

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For companies lacking access to HR expertise, it may be available to you through the company that administers your payroll, your liability insurance policy, your employee benefits plan or your unemployment insurance program. Should you have none of those, than your local chamber of commerce may also be of assistance. Making use of available resources is always a good business practice.

One source to avoid is social media. Should you face a lawsuit or enforcement action concerning your re-opening or safety practices, you will have no success in claiming that your “plan” was something you read about on social media.

Speaking of social media some businesses are announcing their intention to NOT comply with guidelines issued by any government authority. This is always a bad business practice as it ensures you will lose any enforcement action and is proven to lose you customers and your business reputation. Any money you believe you might make by breaking the law will be a tiny fraction of the money you are guaranteed to lose by breaking the law and flaunting it on social media. Defiance and criminal behavior will bring your business the following costs:

Loss of public trust. The public will always suspect your business may be breaking other laws. Building public trust and confidence is important to any business and is always difficult to regain.

Loss of credibility. There is no truth in business that “everyone loves a rebel.” Businesses, customers and the public look for predictability, consistency, steadfastness and trust. Don’t do things to break those down.

Loss of insurance coverages. In our lawsuit happy world you want to do everything you can to make sure your insurance coverages will actually cover the business should you be sued. Breaking the law will lead to refusal to cover or defend or the possible termination of your insurance.

Regulatory, compliance and defense costs. There is an old business adage: “Nothing will burn up cash faster than defending against the government, compliance complaints and lawsuits.”

We wish your business continued health and success as we navigate the stormy seas of these unprecedented times. We hope that these business practices also help you in moving forward.

How Estate Planning Helps Fight COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is on everyone’s mind and you can’t turn on the television without being reminded. Did you know that your trust and estate attorney has tools that help to protect you and your family? Estate law firms use these tools every day to protect clients and the tools can be very helpful during these stressful times.

Be HIPAA Compliant!

As a wills and estate attorney making these solutions available to clients is critical to the work of estate law firms. What are these tools and how can they help you?

Your first step should be to ensure all of your estate planning documents are HIPAA compliant. This is critical for powers of attorney, medical directives and all health care documents. You should also have a stand alone HIPAA Authorization.

HIPAA compliance is of utmost importance during any medical situation especially emergencies. The reason you create these documents is so the decision makers you choose are recognized in case of any emergency. This is even more important for any of your children over the age of 18 in order for you to have access to them in case of emergencies and guide their care.

Make sure your plan consists of the following basic components:

  1. A testamentary documents such as a trust or will.
  2. Durable financial power of attorney.
  3. Durable health care power of attorney.
  4. HIPAA Authorization.
  5. Living Will.
  6. Funeral instructions such as Colorado’s final disposition statement.
  7. Make sure ALL documents are HIPAA compliant.

Remember this is the basic list and your particular situation may require additional documents and planning. Be careful out there, be vigilant wash your hands and we will all get through this together.

Resolve to Complete Your Estate Plan

The new year brings excitement, opportunity and resolutions. Often people resolve to complete their estate plan in the coming year. Given that most people do not have a current, integrated and HIPAA compliant plan, that is a great resolution.

So how do you get started? Start by watching this video, especially if you have a family:

Your goal should be to have an integrated and HIPAA compliant plan. To learn what plan is right for you and your family, call our office today at 303-688-3535 to schedule your in depth estat planning assessment. You’ll be glad you did.

The Gift of Estate Planning

Many articles have been published about the gift of estate planning. In fact, it is one of the most important gifts you can give to your family and loved ones. A well crafted estate plan represents part of your legacy and how you will be remembered. How you would like to be remembered when you are gone and does your estate plan reflect those wishes?

Why can estate planning be such important gift for your family? Consider these benefits your family receives from your well thought out plan:

1. Protection for your spouse from creditors and predators. Are you leaving a plan which exposes your spouse to risk or protects them?

2. Protection of children from the over indulgence of youth, protection from creditors and protection against predators. Does your plan for your children provide these protections?

3. Inclusion of grandchildren or other family members who are disabled. Such issues should be considered in every plan. Are they addressed i yours?

4. Asset and probate planning. Do your assets create problems and are these issues addressed in your estate plan?

5. HIPAA compliance. Protection of your health information is important in our electronic age. Is your entire plan and all documents HIPAA compliant? If not it needs to be.

6. How recently have your reviewed your plan? Plans older than 5-7 years may create unexpected traps and negative results for your family. Has your plan been reviewed recently?

Does your current plan provide these benefits to your family? Now you know why estate planning is one of the best gifts for your family not only at the holiday season but also year round.

The Importance of Proper Beneficiary Designations

In estate planning the details matter. In fact they matter so much that the tiniest of details can derail your entire plan. A good example of that is your beneficiary designations.

Family Lawyer Castle Rock

Beneficiary designations can be on things like bank accounts, insurance policies, IRA’s and brokerage accounts. The key question is are your beneficiary designations synchronized with your estate plan? If they are not then your estate plan can fail.

To avoid the inadvertent failure of your plan, work with your estate planning attorney to check each beneficiary designation to ensure coordination with your estate plan.

K&G Partner Receives the 2019 Preeminent Award

K&G partner Bernie Greenberg receives the highest honor from Martindale-Hubbell, the 2019 Preeminent Award, Judicial Edition.

K&G is an AV rated law firm and Mr. Greenberg has held an AV attorney rating for 30 years. The AV rating is the highest rating any attorney can achieve from a peer review ratings agency.

Congratulations Bernie Greenberg!

Protect Yourself and Family from Scams and Fraud

Our firm is located in Castle Rock, Colorado, currently rated as one of the most desirable places to live in the U.S. As our community has grown it has attracted an assortment of scammers, fraudsters and con-artists. Each year we publish an article on the latest tips you can use to protect your family and yourself from getting scammed. Here is our 2019 update on avoiding fraud and cons.

Here are some of the latest frauds to watch out for:

1) Fake families begging at local stores.
2) Fake notices on obtaining recorded documents about real estate.
3) The ever popular robo call now also on your cell phone.
4) Skimming machines at local gas stations.
5) In good weather the always annoying door to door sales person.
6) Internet scams now appearing on your facebook and twitter pages and in the groups you follow there.

There are many more and scammers get bolder and more sophisticated each day. Your job, with these tips is to outsmart the con-artists. Here are several tips to use:

1) Any time and in any place that you feel threatened or uncomfortable, call the police or sheriff’s office. Nothing makes rats run away faster than the cops arriving.

2) If you are unsure about an offer or sales person, check them out before signing anything or giving them money. Use these links to get more detailed tips:
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-things-you-can-do-avoid-fraud

https://www.bbb.org/avoidscams/

https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/get-help/protect-yourself-from-scams

3) Ask your lawyer or CPA for their opinion before you hand your hard earned money over to someone. Your lawyer and CPA owe you what is called “fiduciary care” so they are required to have your interest paramount.

4) As hard as this may be to do, NEVER EVER give money to someone who is begging at the store. If you fail to follow this rule you will probably see that fake family at the car dealer buying their next car with your money!

5) As fun as it is to follow advice on facebook, twitter and nextdoor, don’t buy ANYTHING just because you see it there. I recently purchased a tool for my bike on facebook and, to my total dismay it was a total piece of garbage and I should have known better!

The basis rule in our law is Caveat Emptor. This means that only you can prevent fraud and only you are the best means to protect yourself from scams and con-artists. Remember this: Be careful out there!