Attorneys Against Hunger Fundraiser - Benefitting the Idaho Foodbank

Idaho Folks - The Idaho State Bar is asking you to participate in the 2018 Attorneys Against Hunger fundraiser benefitting the Idaho Foodbank.

The Idaho Foodbank fills a vital role in Idaho by providing food assistance to the 221,800 Idahoans who are food insecure. 13.2% of Idaho's residents are food insecure and 16.7% of Idaho's children are food insecure - that's 72,840 children.

On Wednesday, October 17, please go to Boise Brewing (521 W. Broad Street in Boise) from 5:00-7:00 to help benefit this great cause. Boise Brewing will be donating 10% of its sales to the Idaho Foodbank. In addition, food will be provided by Goodwood BBQ for a suggested $20 donation.

It's hard to know what to do after a car crash, but we can guide you through the process so you can focus on recovering.

It can be difficult to know what to do after a serious auto collision, but we can guide you through the legal process so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Auto collisions happen every day and serious injuries are common. If someone else caused your crash, you shouldn't have to pay for the consequences. We can help you determine who was at fault and negotiate with the insurance companies to ensure a fair settlement. Personal injury claims can be complex, requiring knowledge about laws, statutes of limitations, and negotiation skills. The laws surrounding personal injuries are complicated and it's easy to miss a deadline or overlook negotiation tactics. By hiring us, you can ensure the best outcome in your situation. Call us today at 253.858.5434 for a free case evaluation.

We represent numerous small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

We represent numerous small businesses and their owners, as well as several nonprofit organizations and churches, assisting these clients with the business formation and governance, contracts, leases, policies, and collection of delinquent accounts. If you're a small business owner and need assistance with your day-to-day legal needs, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can be of service.

Interesting Recent Decision Out of the Illinois Court of Appeals, Holding that a Testator's Delusions Didn't Affect His Testamentary Capacity - In re Estate of Myren, 2018 Ill. App. (4th) 170860-U.

Interesting recent decision out of the Illinois Court of Appeals holding that a testator's delusions didn't affect his testamentary capacity - In re Estate of Myren, 2018 Ill. App. (4th) 170860-U.

David Myren's children contested his 2012 Will, in which he left his estate to the National Rifle Association and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. They claimed that, due to "insane sexual delusions" regarding his children's activities, he was incapable of "recognizing and providing for the natural objects of his bounty" (the standard for capacity to make a Will).

The trial court ruled that although there was no basis for Myren's "delusional" statements, it did not find that "but for" the comments, he would have made the Will in question. The Illinois Court of Appeals agreed.

Testimony from Myren's long-time lawyer, doctor, and banker indicated that while he made unfounded comments about his children's sexual activities, he showed no confusion or neurosis that would cause him to favor charities over his children. Instead, the Court found, Myren was bitter that, following his acrimonious divorce from the children's mother, they sided with her. He also complained to acquaintances that the children did not allow him to see his grandchildren, they did not help with the farm, and they only showed up during deer season when they wanted to hunt on his land.

The appellate court said the ultimate question was whether his alleged sexual delusions destroyed his testamentary capacity, adding that even if a testator has an insane delusion, "if the property and objects of bounty are known by the testator, and the property is disposed of according to a plan, the Will will not be set aside for lack of testamentary capacity." Nothing indicated that Myren, who was a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment and enjoyed elk hunting, would not have made this Will but for his delusions. Myren had an obvious plan for his estate and legitimate reasons to disinherit his children, the Court determined.

If you have questions about capacity to sign a Will or Will contests, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can be of service. We proudly represent clients throughout Washington and Idaho and are available to meet in person, by phone, or via Skype or FaceTime.

Interesting Recent Ruling from the Internal Revenue Service, Letter Ruling 201825003

Interesting recent ruling from the Internal Revenue Service, Letter Ruling 201825003:

An art collector entered into a deed of transfer with two museums in a foreign country to pass title to the artworks at her death. During her lifetime, the owner was entitled to keep possession of the artwork, subject to a favorable ruling from the IRS that the transaction is not a completed gift.

The art collector asked the IRS to rule that the deed of transfer not be treated as a completed gift for gift tax purposes. The IRS noted that, under the deed of transfer, the donor has retained no power to change the disposition of the collection to the museums. Her grant to the museums of the "legal title, naked ownership and remainder interest" in the collection would be a completed gift for gift tax purposes, but for the condition precedent of the receipt of a favorable IRS ruling.

Sounds complicated, huh? Estate and gift tax matters usually are. If you have questions about how the tax laws affect your estate planning, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can be of service. We proudly represent clients throughout Washington and Idaho and are available to meet in person, by phone, or via Skype or FaceTime.

Interesting Recent Court Decision Overruling a Jury's Decision that a Will was Valid: In re Estate of Fraccaro, 2018 NY Slip Op 319

Interesting recent decision out of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York regarding a jury's finding that a Will was valid. In re Estate of Fraccaro, 2018 NY Slip Op 319:

Antonio Fraccaro's 2012 Will left his estate to a hospital. In 2015, shortly after moving into an adult home and while terminally ill with cancer, Fraccaro signed another Will leaving half of his estate to Alberta Ross, the operator of the adult home. He died three days later.

The hospital, the NY State Attorney General, and the Executor of the 2012 Will challenged the validity of the 2015 document, saying it was not properly executed, Fraccaro lacked capacity, and Ross had exercised undue influence over Fraccaro. The jury found Fraccaro was competent, there was no undue influence, and the Will was properly executed.

The appeals court noted that the Will was entirely handwritten by Ross, with no lawyer present at the signing. One of the two witnesses to the Will - a resident and employee of the adult home - said Fraccaro had not eaten and she had given him oxycodone about 30 minutes prior to signing his Will. She could not recall if he had his glasses, which he needed for reading the document. The second witness - also a resident of the adult home and a friend of Ross - gave testimony with "multiple inconsistencies" and in conflict with her deposition testimony, the Court said.

New York state law requires that a Will submitted for probate be validly executed and express the testator's intent. The Court found the jury's verdict to be "against the weight of the evidence" and insufficient to support the finding that the Will was valid and properly executed.

Making sure your Will is properly prepared, signed, and witnessed is important. If you have questions about a Will, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can help. We proudly represent clients throughout Washington and Idaho and are available to meet in person, by phone, or via Skype or FaceTime.

Discounts on Estate Planning Legal Services for Cops, Firefighters, Preachers, and Teachers

In case you forgot, or didn't know, we offer certain discounts on estate planning services. Police officers, firefighters, ministers, and teachers we represent all get their fees cut in half for their estate plans. So if you're a cop, firefighter, preacher, or teacher or if you know one who needs a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, etc., give us a call at 253.858.5434. We proudly represent clients throughout Washington and Idaho and are available to meet in person, by phone, or via Skype or FaceTime.

Despite their funny commercials, insurance companies are aggressive, demanding, and not at all forgiving of claims for injuries resulting from auto collisions.

Despite their funny commercials, the insurance industry is aggressive, demanding, and not at all forgiving of claims for injury resulting from auto collisions. Innocent victims are often made to feel like liars, and real life tragedies are minimized by claims adjusters who are trained to act nice initially, and to then limit, deny, stall, delay, avoid, and ignore.

Without question, an auto collision victim is generally not equipped to deal with these trained insurance professionals. We highly recommend consulting with a lawyer when you've been hurt in an auto collision. If you, a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker has been injured in an auto collision, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to set up an appointment for a free initial consultation today.

What should you look for when reviewing a contract?

Most business people enter into contracts on a regular basis. They sign property leases, vehicle and equipment leases, advertising agreements, copier and phone system leases, web site development and maintenance agreements, banking documents, service contracts, and numerous other contracts in the usual course of business. Some of those contracts are simple, easily understandable documents while others are all but incomprehensible. It is not uncommon for otherwise very careful people to glance over a contract and just sign it without really knowing what it obligates them or the other party to do.

In its most basic form, a contract is merely an agreement between two or more people to do or not do a particular thing. That sounds simple, but when those obligations are buried in the fine print in the middle of a lengthy document, it may not be so easy to understand exactly what the parties are agreeing to do or not do.

So, what should you look for when reviewing a contract? Here are a few suggestions:

1. NEGOTIATE THE TERMS. When presented with a contract, remember that this is a starting point. You can negotiate the terms of nearly every agreement. You want to make the deal happen, but so does the other person. Ask for what you want. The worst that can happen is they say no.

2. IDENTIFY THE PARTIES. Use the complete name of the business to avoid confusion and identify corporate officers as such. Determine the marital status of individuals if spouses will be required to join in execution of the document.

3. FILL IN ALL THE BLANKS. Complete all blanks on any preprinted form because items left blank can be filled in later by someone else. Be sure all changes or deletions are initialed.

4. DOUBLE CHECK THE TERMS. Double check the business terms of the contract (price, amount, duration, square footage, etc.) to determine whether it accurately reflects the agreement of the parties.

5. AUTOMATIC RENEWALS. Look for automatic renewals. Do you have to give notice if you do not want to renew? Are there penalties if notice is not timely given? Is renewal on the same terms as the original agreement? Are there price increases? Consider adding options to renew on favorable terms.

6. ALLOCATING RISK. Risk is typically borne by the party in the best position to prevent loss. However, there may be reasons for a different allocation. Check insurance requirements. Will you be able to obtain the required insurance within your budget?

7. INDEMNIFICATION PROVISIONS. Check hold harmless and indemnification provisions. When you agree to hold someone harmless you are agreeing to not hold them responsible for liability that may arise out of the transaction. When you indemnify someone, you are agreeing to protect them from liability or loss that may arise out of the transaction. If you must indemnify the other party, limit the indemnification as much as possible. Negotiate the same indemnification for yourself. For instance, if you, as a buyer, agree to indemnify the seller of a business for losses they may incur as a result of actions after the sale, then they should indemnify you for losses you may incur as a result of actions before the sale.

8. INCORPORATED DOCUMENTS. When another document is incorporated by reference, always read the incorporated document. Don’t assume you know what it contains.

9. EVENTS OF DEFAULT. Determine what acts constitute events of default and whether you are able to enter into and perform under the contract without causing a default. Also consider what should be included as events of default by the other party.

10. REMEDIEIS. Review remedies provisions. Determine the worst that can happen to you if you default. Explore ways to limit your liability. Also determine what types of remedies you need in the event of default by the other party.

11. TERMINATION. Review causes for termination. Consider including ways to terminate the contract if it is not working to your benefit.

12. DATES AND DEADLINES. Always keep a calendar of dates and deadlines for important events and anything required to be done by you or the other party.

13. WARRANTIES AND REPRESENTATIONS. Review and understand warranties and representations given by you and the other party. Don’t give any representation if you do not actually know that the representation is true or if the other party is in a better position to know the facts being represented. If you must give warranties, try to limit them as much as possible. For example, a warranty in a deed might say that you warrant title to the property. You can limit the warranty by saying that you warrant title to the property only during the period of time in which you owned the property. Remember that the other party is trying to do the same, so watch for disclaimers or limitations.

14. RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES. Carefully read the entire contract because rights and responsibilities are typically scattered throughout the agreement.

15. DISPUTE RESOLUTION. Determine how you want to deal with resolution of disputes. An arbitration or mediation requirement could ultimately save you lots of time and money. However, there are times when you may want to go to court to resolve the dispute. When appropriate, try to give yourself some flexibility.

If you are a small business owner and have questions about the contracts you enter into during the course of business, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can help. We proudly serve clients throughout Washington and Idaho and are available to meet in person, by phone, or via Skype or FaceTime.

The Personal Representative's Tasks in Administering an Estate

Whenever a person dies, their estate needs to be collected, managed, and distributed. Estate administration involves gathering the assets of the estate, paying the decedent's debts, and distributing the assets that remain in the estate.

In recent years, state legislatures have attempted to reduce the complexity of estate administration. Currently, about 20 states have adopted some version of the Uniform Probate Code (UPC), which was designed to simplify the estate administration process and provide similarity among probate laws from state to state.

The first task in a probate proceeding is appointing a responsible party to manage the estate. This person is usually called the Personal Representative. In some states, this position is known as the "Executor." The PR may be an individual or a company, such as a bank. The PR may have been nominated by the decedent in their Will. If there was no Will, the court will usually appoint the surviving spouse or another family member.

After being appointed, the PR is expected to inventory all of the decedent's assets. The PR must also inform the decedent's creditors that the decedent has died. If the decedent's probate assets are sufficient to pay the creditors, the PR will pay them from the estate. If the probate assets are insufficient, the PR may need to obtain court approval to determine which creditors should be paid.

If there are any assets left after the creditors have been paid, those assets are distributed according to the Will. If there is no Will, the decedent is said to have died "intestate." State laws vary as to how to distribute the assets of an intestate decedent.

The PR will also file any necessary tax returns. If the estate is owed any money, the PR may need to bring a lawsuit in order to collect it. If the Will is contested, or if there is any other dispute over how to distribute the estate assets, the PR may have to "defend" the Will in court.

If you have questions about the probate process in Washington or Idaho, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can be of service.

Our estate planning services are designed to offer you the peace of mind you deserve, no matter your age, the size of your estate, or the state of your health.

A lot of people think estate planning is something only the elderly or the wealthy need to think about. But if you have a family that depends on you, then the reality is that it’s never too early to put an estate plan in place. We’re here to help you make the right decisions for your estate and your family. Our estate planning services are designed to offer you the peace of mind you deserve, no matter your age, the size of your estate, or the state of your health.

Whether you need to create a Will, establish a Durable Power of Attorney, or set up a Trust, we’re here for you. Our goal is to help you protect you and your family’s future by planning out every detail of your estate.

Decisions regarding your estate shouldn’t be left up to just anyone. We'll work hard to make sure that your best interests are represented. We give personal attention on every matter to help ensure all of our clients’ wishes are met. Our estate planning services include:
* Long-term care provisions
* Drafting documents such as Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Living Wills, and more.
* Estate administration
* End-of-life arrangements

Call us today at 253.858.5434 for more information about our estate planning services or to schedule a consultation.

When do you need to hire a lawyer after you've been in an auto collision?

When do you need to hire a lawyer after you've been in an auto collision? No matter the property damage, severity of injury, or insurance situation, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney. As soon as an insurance company is notified of a collision, they are figuring out how to pay as little as possible for your claim. They make a lot of money using this business practice. The only way for you to level the playing field is to hire a lawyer right away. If you hire the right lawyer, you can actually gain the upper hand. If you wait, you’re late. They have a head start and now you have to catch up.

You have a life and you need to live it. Maybe you have a job and/or a family to take care of, maybe you are a student with classes and tests. Everyone has responsibilities, so when you are injured by someone else’s driving, you shouldn’t have to take on the responsibility of handling that case on your own. Let a trained professional handle every aspect of your personal injury case. All you should be worried about is treating your injuries and handling your responsibilities. Let us handle everything else.

If we can be of service to you, your family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to set up an appointment for a free initial consultation today.

What Start Ups Should Consider When Hiring a Lawyer

Hiring and working with a lawyer is often confusing and daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. But when you’re starting a business, it’s crucial. With the right expertise on your side, you can feel confident you’ve got your ducks in a row as you’re getting down to business.

When you're starting up a new business, what should you look for when hiring a lawyer? First and foremost, look for “fit” (i.e., someone you trust, get along with, enjoy working with, feel has an interest in you and what you’re working on, and can relate to you).

Just as important, you want someone that is competent, responsive, and experienced with the types of legal issues with which you will need help. The considerations that go into starting up a restaurant, say, can be very different from the considerations for starting up a software company.

Priorities that need to be addressed early on include:

* Establishing a business entity of some sort (LLC or corporation) to protect you personally from business liabilities.
* Establishing the ownership and equity rights of the company if there are multiple founders.
* Ensuring the business’s intellectual property is protected and owned by the company (especially if it is being developed by independent contractors).
* Making sure you are paying attention to the tax consequences of what you do, particularly when it comes to granting people equity.

We have nearly 22 years' experience representing people starting up new businesses. If we can be of service to you, your family, friends, or neighbors, give us a call at 253.858.5434 today.

When someone dies, there are many legal issues to handle regarding their estate. We're here to help.

Have you been named as the Executor of a family member's estate? Are you trying to sell property that you inherited from a parent or grandparent? Maybe there’s a family business that has lost its leader, the family patriarch? Whatever your family’s circumstance, you’re trying to figure out how to sort through an “estate,” which is a legal term for everything owned and owed by a deceased person. We’re here to help.

When someone you love dies, there are many legal issues to handle. If the deceased person owned real estate, stocks, bonds, or had a bank account or a vehicle, it is likely that probate proceedings will need to be started with the court so that someone can be appointed to handle his or her affairs. This is true whether the deceased person had a Will or not. Depending on the circumstances, the person who is in charge of the estate – called the “executor,” “administrator,” or “personal representative” – may be required to post a bond, publish legal notices in the paper, and file reports with the court after opening the estate.

Death is a stressful, emotional time, and inheritances sometimes come with unexpected emotional baggage. Don’t worry – we can help when everyone is on the same page, or when there’s a fight about who should be in charge and who should get what.

Once the estate is open, the deceased person’s assets and property have to be collected, creditors have to be paid, and what’s left is given to the deceased person’s heirs or beneficiaries, depending on whether there was a Will. (When there’s a Will, that’s a “testate” estate. When there’s no Will, that’s an "intestate" estate.) Once all creditors have been paid, all of the deceased person’s assets have been transferred, and all required reports have been filed, the Personal Representative will need to file a "Declaration of Completion" to close the estate and be officially relieved from the fiduciary responsibilities associated with the position.

Though the probate process in Washington and Idaho is not as expensive as in some other states, it can still be confusing upon your first encounter. We know that stepping into the shoes of a deceased parent, grandparent, spouse, or friend to conclude their affairs can feel like an overwhelming burden. You want to do what’s right and respect your loved one’s wishes, but you just aren’t sure how to do it. That’s where we come in. Our mission is to provide skilled, responsive representation in estate cases. We take the burden off of your shoulders. We guide you through the court efficiently. We direct you through the maze of estate administration, explaining the “legalese” we encounter along the way. We make estate administration easy on you.

Give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can help.

Life changes - Your estate plan should be reviewed and updated with some frequency to ensure it reflects your current situation and wishes.

The only constant in life is that it is constantly changing. Relationships begin and end, children grow up and move on, and loved ones pass away. Due to the shifting nature of our lives, it only makes sense that your estate plan should be updated with some frequency to ensure that it reflects your current situation and wishes. We can help you review your estate plan and determine whether any changes need to be made.

We have been helping people plan for the future for nearly 22 years. Whether your estate plan is decades old or relatively new, we can guide you through each aspect to ensure that your wishes will be carried out how you see fit.

When should you consider updating your estate plan? The obvious answer is whenever you experience a substantial change in your life's circumstances, such as a death, divorce, or a remarriage that results in a blended family. However, even if nothing in your life has changed and you still wish for your assets to go to the beneficiaries named in your initial estate plan, it can still be valuable to look over your documents.

Changes in the law can impact your estate plan. Congress makes changes to the estate tax laws with some regularity and your beneficiaries may find themselves facing a more significant tax penalty than you had initially contemplated. Privacy laws are another area of concern and they may make it harder for your loved ones to learn of your medical status or to make medical decisions on your behalf. In addition, technology changes and a large portion of our lives now exist online; it is important to ensure that your loved ones have access to your passwords and digital accounts.

There is no hard and fast rule for how often you should review your estate plan. Obviously, anytime there is a divorce, remarriage, or a death in the family, it is wise to review and update your estate plan. Barring any substantial change in circumstances, we generally recommend that you review your estate plan and meet with a lawyer to go over any potential changes every three or four years. Even if we didn't initially prepare your estate plan, we are happy to look things over and to help you better effectuate your goals, if necessary.

It never hurts to have a qualified lawyer review your estate plan. There may be issues that come up that you had never considered. Contact us online or call 253.858.5434 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.