Remote Legal Services during Covid-19 home-stay requirements

While the Home-stay requirements in Florida have brought new challenges to our provision of services and the services available through our local courts, we remain available to serve your legal needs, by Internet and phone conferences and mail and email transmission of documents.  Regrettably, the often tragic consequences of Covid-19’s infection make it essential that everyone have a Health Care Surrogate (HCS) executed and on file with your primary physician, with copies to the relatives named in your (HSC) who may be called upon, if you are unable to communicate with your health care providers during your care. (The HSC provides for assistance while living, but unable to communicate your wishes, as contrasted with a Living Will that states your wishes if you are in a terminable condition.)

This is also the time to review your will and any other estate planning documents (such as the designation on accounts of whom a bank or similar account will pass to, if you are not living) , or to prepare a will if you do not have one.   While attorneys can proceed with an estate through the courts if there is no will, a will simplifies the process of any probate matters that may be required, lessens the time involved and makes any expense involved substantially lower than when there is no will.

Most of these documents can be prepared for submission by email or mail, for signing at home.  Most do not require notarization, which currently requires the presence of a notary (though this issue is being revised for application in the months ahead). As a service to our community at this time, Harley Herman is offering his services in preparing wills and health care directives at significantly discounted fees.  Harley Herman is also offering these services to first responders and health care providers for a nominal charge.  He is available daily, evenings and weekends at by phone at 813-704-6892 and by email at [email protected]

While other Covid-19 legal issues are evolving daily, Harley Herman is studying the new laws and their impact on businesses and their employees as this area of law is implemented.  Unlike most areas of law in our practice, where we benefit from decades of providing services, Covid-19 law is brand new and no attorney has expertise as the law changes from day to day.  The best Harley Herman and all other lawyers can offer, is the knowledge acquired as these laws and ordinances are enacted and revised (often on the fly by the State and Federal government, which is not the best way for law to be created, but in these times, we must accept the law as it exists and as it changes).  Because of the rapidly evolving nature of this law, Harley Herman is not charging for phone consultations about legal issues involving Covid-19’s impact on businesses and employees. Should further services be required beyond the consultation, Harley Herman is providing those services at discounted fees.

Stay safe and be reassured, we will survive this time and prosper when all of this ends.  In the early days of my 42 years of practicing law, I met with and provided services to many retirees who had lived through and survived the Great Depression.  They were some of greatest and wisest clients I had the privilege to serve.  We are their descendants and we will make them proud!

Harley Herman, Attorney at Law

 

Wills protecting minor children – Why every parent should have one.

Rarely do parents with minor children provide for their children with even a simple will or trust.  While our practice has involved the preparation of thousands of wills, only a few hundred in over 35 years of will and trust preparation have involved wills or trusts prepared for parents of minor children.  This isn’t because we don’t offer these wills.  It’s because few parents of minor children think of the need to  have these essential care-planning documents prepared.  While senior citizen wills and trust are an important part of planning for our final years, their ability to simplify and reduce the cost of distributing estates, pales in comparison to the needs of minor children if unexpected illness or accident occurs while their children are minors.  A very primary issue even if the parent has few assets is who the child will live with and who will make his or her life decisions if the child’s parents are no longer here.  What could have been a simple decision can turn into a long and expensive court battle that didn’t need to occur and could even result in the child or children being removed from the relatives they have known all their lives.

For parents with assets, or for the child who receives a substantial settlement when a parent’s death is caused by the negligence of a driver or business, the lack of a will with trust provisions or a trust can deprive a child of support when it is really needed.  Few parties are prepared to set up a financial plan that provides for a child during his or her dependent years.  Additionally without trust provisions in a will (even at a time when the parent does not have many assets), a minor child in Florida is entitled to all of his or her funds when the child turns 18 years of age, even though sound planning would spread the inheritance over the child’s college years and a bit beyond, if possible.  Few children have the maturity to retain an inheritance when they just reach the minimum age of adulthood.  Even the few who begin responsibly, will soon find a crowd of “friends” who are far too eager to spend a child’s inheritance.  The classic lines from the old Billie Holiday song “God Bless the Child” still apply:

“When you’ve got money, you’ve got lots of friends, coming round your door.

But when the money’s gone and all their friending ends . . . They won’t be around any more”

A fairly simple and relatively inexpensive will with trust and guardianship provisions can prevent this disaster.  It may not be flashy, or score many Internet hits and it won’t be found on a U-tube video, but the gift of a will or trust that protects your children or allows your children to protect your grandchildren may be one of the greatest legal gifts you can provide to your loved ones