Understanding the Intersection of Love and Law

In the grand tapestry of life, relationships weave intricate patterns of joy, love, and companionship. However, beneath the surface of every connection lies an inevitable truth: all relationships will come to an end, whether through death or divorce. While the excitement of everlasting love is thrilling, the reality that all human relationships come to an end is a harsh reality. As an attorney, understanding and addressing this reality is essential in guiding individuals through the complexities of planning for the future.

Love is wonderful—joyful moments, shared dreams for the future, and yes, some legal considerations too. In the realm of estate planning, the end of a relationship—whether by death or divorce—is not a matter of “if,” but “when.” Sadly, every relationship eventually will come to an end. When that happens, the most important thing is how you have planned for that ending. Your planning (or lack thereof) will impact you, your loved ones, your children, your family, and your assets. Recognizing this fundamental truth empowers individuals to take proactive steps to protect their assets, ensure the well-being of loved ones, and leave a legacy that reflects their values and wishes.

Some Things are Certain

As many of you know, I have had the experience of losing a spouse. I have walked that path and know well how life-shattering the emotional and financial realities of that loss can be. During this emotionally challenging time, estate planning serves as a compass, providing clarity and guidance amidst grief. From wills and trusts to advance directives and powers of attorney, thoughtful planning allows individuals to outline their healthcare preferences with precision and care, dictate the distribution of their assets, nominate guardians for minor children, and care for those they leave behind. For married couples, the law in the state where you reside at the time of death has a “default plan” that you fall into IF you have not done your own estate planning. That’s right! Your legislators have chosen a default plan you will fall into if you have not made your own legally effective plan. That default plan set up by your state legislators may or may not align with your personal preferences or the life you’ve built with your loved ones.

The Silver Lining: Protecting Your Property and Legacy

The silver lining? While we can’t prevent the end of relationships, we can prepare for it with compassion and strategic planning, which helps make the end the best possible foundation for a new beginning.

No matter who you are and how much you have or don’t have, the absence of a plan could leave you and your loved ones vulnerable. You can risk losing assets or being unable to make crucial decisions about your property, your business, your children, or your medical choices. Ownership rights of your family can be disrupted without clear, legally effective planning documents. Make sure your home is left in the hands of those you choose in the event of your death. Don’t leave your family of origin in dispute with the family you have chosen to do life with. Any business you own, including businesses owned with your partner, could be jeopardized without clear, legally effective planning and instructions. Don’t leave your loved ones in the position of finding themselves facing homelessness or significant financial loss without a rightful claim to the wealth you have worked for together.

In the unfortunate event of a medical emergency where one partner becomes incapacitated, lacking appropriate legal documentation could impede the other partner’s ability to make critical healthcare decisions on their behalf. This can lead to delays in medical treatment or disagreements among family members over the person’s treatment, causing unnecessary stress and complications during an already challenging time.

For couples with children, failing to establish guardianship arrangements in the event of both parent’s incapacity or death can have devastating consequences. Without a designated guardian, children may be placed in the care of individuals who may not align with your wishes or values, leading to potential custody battles and emotional upheaval for the children and your extended family. If you and your partner end your relationship without mutually agreeing on who may be a guardian for your children, things could get even more chaotic—especially if one of you has documented your desired guardian and the other partner hasn’t. Worst of all, typical wills don’t adequately plan for the needs of minor children. That’s why I offer the Children’s Protection Plan, specifically designed to ensure your children are never raised by anyone other than people you know, love, and trust and are never taken from your home into the care of strangers.

In each of the scenarios above, the absence of proactive estate planning measures leaves individuals vulnerable to legal and financial uncertainties. By taking proactive steps that consider what will happen when your relationship ends, couples can safeguard their assets, ensure their wishes are honored, and provide peace of mind for themselves and their loved ones.

My Role as Your Attorney

In the journey of life, relationships ebb and flow, but their endings are an inevitable part of the human experience. Through estate planning, individuals can confront the reality of death and divorce with grace and foresight, ensuring their legacy endures long after they are gone. As an estate planning attorney, I am dedicated to helping individuals chart a course that honors their past, protects their present, and safeguards their future. One of the best parts of my role is that it extends far beyond the legal realm—it is rooted in empathy, understanding, and a commitment to helping individuals navigate the what-ifs and complexities of the future.

Ready to get the conversation started? Give Cris Carter Law a call today.


Old-Fashioned Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Sweet, tangy, and oh-so-deliciously tempting, this dessert is the perfect ending to a meal (or a delicious start to the day with coffee!).

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 2 pounds rhubarb stalks, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with 3/4 cup of the sugar and let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In another bowl, toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the strawberries; discard any rhubarb juice. Add the cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla to the fruit and stir well.
Transfer the mixture to a 9- x 13-inch glass baking dish.

3. For the topping, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, mix the ingredients together until large crumbs form.

4. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue baking for about 30 minutes longer, until the fruit filling is bubbling and the topping is nicely browned.

5. Let the crisp rest for 10 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

6. Enjoy!
Food And Wine: Old-Fashioned Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Empowering Happiness

In the chaotic rhythm of our everyday lives, finding equilibrium between work, personal life, and self-care is pivotal for well-being. What a challenge it is to maintain your journey toward a healthier, happier life by prioritizing self-care habits, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, while ensuring your physical and mental health. And let’s not forget the importance of nurturing social connections. Research has proven time and time again that quality relationships are the heart of happiness and mental well-being.

As we navigate the intricacies of our own personal well-being, it’s equally important to shift our focus toward the future, contemplating the legacy we want to leave behind. Enter the subject of estate planning – a profound investment that truly transcends financial considerations. I want to share with you a few compelling reasons to prioritize this essential aspect of life:

  1. Safeguarding Your Loved Ones: Estate planning ensures that your assets are dispersed according to your wishes. Imagine the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved ones will be financially secure and your legacy will endure.
  2. Mitigating Family Conflicts: A meticulously designed estate plan acts as a safeguard against potential disputes among family members. The clarity it provides in asset distribution diminishes the probability of conflicts, particularly during an already emotionally charged period.
  3. Empowering Your Legacy: Beyond material possessions, estate planning allows you to sculpt your legacy. Contemplate charitable contributions or the establishment of trusts supporting causes that are close to your heart. This empowers you to make a lasting impact on the community, shaping a legacy that transcends generations.
  4. Adapting to Life Changes: Acknowledge the dynamism of life and its ever-changing circumstances. Estate planning, when approached with foresight, offers flexibility. Regular reviews and updates ensure your plan aligns with evolving goals, family dynamics, and financial situations.
  5. Financial Efficiency: Beyond asset transfer, estate planning plays a pivotal role in minimizing financial hardship on your loved ones after you have passed. A well-crafted plan can also potentially reduce the tax burden on your estate, leaving more for your loved ones and the causes you care about.

Empower yourself by recognizing that estate planning is not merely a financial task but a proactive step towards shaping your future and leaving a meaningful legacy. With careful consideration and foresight, this process not only benefits you but becomes a gift that resonates through generations. It can be a delicate dance between personal well-being and the legacy you choose to leave behind. Let Cris Carter Law help you navigate this life balance.


Herby Dutch Baby With Smoked Salmon

Take this classic breakfast dish for a spin with added herbs and smoked salmon. It is fast, fresh, and downright beautiful!

Ingredients:

  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • ¾ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 large egg white, room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 (packed) cup baby spinach
  • ⅔ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup tender herb leaves (such as dill, cilantro, basil, and/or parsley), plus more for serving
  • ⅔ cup (83 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon
Directions:
1. Place a rack in middle of oven and place a medium ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, on rack. Preheat oven to 425°. Place onion in a small bowl; squeeze in juice of ½ lemon and add a big pinch of salt; set aside. Slice remaining ½ lemon into wedges and set aside for serving.

2. Blend eggs and egg white in a blender on high speed until very frothy, about 1 minute. Add garlic, spinach, milk, and 1 cup herbs and blend on high speed until well combined and very green. Add flour, cornstarch, and ¾ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt and season with lots of pepper; blend to combine.

3. Carefully remove skillet from oven. Add butter to pan and swirl to coat bottom. Immediately pour batter into pan and bake pancake until puffed and brown around the edges, 20–25 minutes. (It will start to deflate as soon as it comes out of the oven, but don’t worry, that’s normal.)

4. Top Dutch baby with smoked salmon, onion, and more herbs; season with pepper. Serve with reserved lemon wedges for squeezing over.
Bon Appetit: Herby Dutch Baby with Smoked Salmon

Invest In Yourself

February, the month of love, is typically when we express our affection and adoration for others: our partner, children, parents, grandparents, and other special people. This year, I encourage you to honor that one very special person… YOU! Self-care is not a luxury; it is a necessity. It is easy to get caught up with meeting the needs of others and overlook our own needs. When we do that, it is to our detriment. Make February a month that you take time to appreciate yourself. Do those special things for you! Pamper yourself. Fill your tank. You deserve it. Think: What is one thing you can do to show yourself some love? Now Think Again: What is one more thing you can do to show yourself? See how easy that can be.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate covered strawberries are a classic Valentine’s Day sweet – and the perfect option whether you intend to share them, or devour them all yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • toothpicks
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves
Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  2. Insert toothpicks into tops (stem ends) of strawberries. Hold a strawberry by the toothpick and dip it into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Turn the strawberry upside down and insert the toothpick into a Styrofoam block or place strawberry on a sheet of waxed paper; allow chocolate coating to cool. Repeat with remaining strawberries.
AllRecipes: Chocolate Covered Strawberries

If You Have An LLC Or Corporation; Pay Attention To This New Law!

Many people think that the law is black and white; a rigid set of rules cast in stone. Being in the legal profession, I know the law is changing all the time. The changes in the law keeps me on my toes for sure as the law tries to respond to the ever-changing circumstances of our world. Sometimes those changes result in additional burdens; sometimes additional opportunities. Let’s look at two laws that have recently changed and how they may affect you.

If you have a beneficial interest in an LLC or a Corporation created before January 1, 2024, you are now required to file FinCEN’s Beneficial Ownership Information Form under the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). Even if your LLC is dormant (you don’t use it); or even if the LLC only owns one piece of rental property, each beneficial owner must file the document or be subject to a fine of $500 per day up to $10,000. Ouch! Let’s not take a chance on paying fines. You are deemed a beneficial owner If you own or control 25% or more of a “reporting company.” This reporting requirement is separate and apart and in addition to any state or local filing done to form a new business entity.

If you create an LLC or a Corporation after January 1, 2024, within 90 days of forming that entity, you must file a report with the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

Is There Any Good News for LLCs and Corporations?

I had to dig deep to find the good news. Good News: You don’t have to pay any filing fees. More Good News: One and Done. You only have to do this once per entity as long as the beneficiary ownership doesn’t change. Even More Good News: You can file online at the new federal database called BOSS (an acronym for Beneficial Ownership Secure System). Better Good News. The reporting is easy to complete. Given that the purpose of the reporting is to prevent the use of anonymous shell companies for money laundering, tax evasion, and other illegal purposes, you could think of yourself as a modern-day Robin Hood. I’m stretching high to pick that fruit.

You can satiate your curiosity here: Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting


Helping Your Grandchildren

We all know that there’s a special place in our hearts for grandchildren as they often bring joy and special moments to our lives. Well now it is easier for grandparents to help their grandchildren with educational expenses.

The FAFSA Simplification Act, which went into effect last month (Dec 2023), now makes it possible for grandparents to make contributions to a 529 college savings plan for your grandchildren without impacting the student beneficiary’s eligibility for federal financial aid. A 529 plan also applies to qualified vocational training and trade schools.

The 529 Account

A 529 college savings account is a special savings account designed to help individuals, including grandparents, set aside money for future college expenses. Although contributions aren’t federally tax-deductible, the earnings within the 529 account grow tax-free and remain untaxed when they are withdrawn for qualified education expenses.

What The New Rule Changes

When the account owner is a dependent student or custodial parent, the total value of the 529 plan is reported as an investment asset on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Previously, if a grandparent owned the 529 plan, any distributions were considered untaxed income for the student, potentially affecting financial aid eligibility. The upcoming change eliminates this concern.

In summary, a 529 plan owned by a grandparent will no longer require reporting on the FAFSA. Even more impactful, distributions from this grandparent-owned 529 plan will not be deemed untaxed income for the student. This allows grandparents to contribute to their grandchild’s education without jeopardizing financial aid eligibility.

Maximizing Grandparent Contributions

It’s important to keep the following in mind when you make contributions to a 529 account for a grandchild:

1 | Funds Must Be Used For Qualified Educational Expenses

Grandparents can use 529 plan funds for a range of qualified educational expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, supplies, laptops, and internet access. However, expenses such as insurance, student health fees, transportation, and extracurriculars are not covered and may incur a ten percent penalty if 529 plan funds are used toward these expenses.

2 | The Annual Gift Exclusion

While grandparents can contribute to their grandchild’s 529 plan, it’s essential to be mindful of the federal annual gift exclusion which currently stands at $18,000 for an individual ($36,000 if you file jointly with a spouse), which is the amount of money a person can gift to someone else without needing to file a gift tax return.

3 | Reconsider Payments Made Directly to The School

Distributions directly paid to the school from grandparent-owned 529 accounts will not affect aid eligibility. However, for now, it’s recommended to pay the grandchild directly.

4 | Timing Matters

The withdrawing of funds from the 529 plan must be done within the same tax year as the educational expenses in adherence to tax regulations.

5 | Watch Your Withdrawal Limits

The amount withdrawn from all 529 plans should be no more than the total cost of the qualified educational expenses billed by the school. Excess withdrawals may incur a 10 percent penalty, but there’s a 60-day window to rectify the situation without penalties.

Naming Godparents Does Not Create Legal Guardians

As we start this holiday season, it’s a great time to think about the love of our families. I hope you are blessed this holiday season and will have the opportunity to make many wonderful memories with loved ones.

As a parent, my top priority, of course, was the well-being and future of my children. I am sure that is one of your top priorities as well. You plan for your children’s future, their education, their health, and their happiness.

Godparents

Often, this planning includes the tradition of choosing godparents to guide and mentor your children if something happens to you. A godparent is traditionally someone you name to watch over your child and help them live according to your morals and values. Godparents are meant to be mentors and role models, guiding your child in matters of faith, morality, and character. The role of a godparent is deeply rooted in religious and cultural traditions.

While selecting godparents may be a meaningful tradition, it’s important to understand that naming a godparent is not the same thing as naming a legal guardian for your children. To put it bluntly, even if your child has godparents, if something happens to you, your children could end up in the care of strangers, child protective services, or in the long-term care of someone you would never want raising your children.

Legal Guardians

Naming a legal guardian for your child is a formal, legal process. A legal guardian is someone who has the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of your child, especially if you, as the parent, are unable to do so. This could occur due to your passing, incapacity, or even a temporary situation where you are not available to provide care or make important legal, financial, healthcare, or education decisions for your child. The responsibilities of a legal guardian encompass every area of your child’s life that you would normally manage as a parent. This includes everything from feeding and clothing your child to deciding where they go to school, attending parent-teacher meetings, and which extracurricular activities they participate in. Legal guardianship also includes the decisions about where your child lives and what medical treatment they should or should not receive.

Why Naming Godparents Isn’t Enough

While godparents may be deeply caring and involved in your child’s life, they have no legal authority to make decisions for your child unless they are officially appointed as legal guardians by the court. That means that until that happens (if it happens), your child’s godparents are not legally able to make any decisions for your children, including their basic care needs, education, and medical care.

Without a legal guardian designation (and, ideally, more than one) in writing and signed with the formalities of a Will, godparents may find themselves in an expensive court battle over custody rights, and they may not even be named as the legal guardians of your children at all. In fact, the court could name someone you would never want raising your kids as their legal guardian.

Life-long Legal Protection for Kids

If you’ve already chosen people you trust to serve as lifelong role models and spiritual guardians for your children as their godparents, why not give those people the legal authority to truly perform those duties if something happens to you?

But don’t stop there. The best way to keep your children safe and secure is to create a comprehensive protection plan that keeps your children in the care of the people you choose, no matter what. Ensure your children are protected. Ensure that the authorities know who to contact in an emergency and who can authorize prompt medical care. Make sure your children are never placed in protective custody – even for a minute.

Women Think Differently

Here’s the Scoop: Why, As Women, We Need to Plan

Ladies, whether we want to admit it or not, most of us, at some point, will find ourselves in an unforeseen situation with the rest of the family looking to us for direction. When this occasion arises, it is best to be prepared and have a plan laid out for whatever the circumstances are. I can’t tell you how many times I have worked with a woman left holding the bag after something happened to their spouse, parent, sibling, etc. This is why planning now could be the best gift you give to future-you.

  • Outliving Our Partners: Whether we like it or not, most women will outlive their partners. That means, ultimately, we will be making all the financial decisions. We need to be ready to take over when that happens, and, in the long run, it will benefit you to be proactive about it. The good news is we can begin together today. I encourage you to sit down and learn the various investments you have. Come up with a plan to provide a safe future for you and your loved ones, and ensure that you put in the effort and forethought now before you have to do it later.
  • Many Changes Occur When You Least Expect: Life can change from what you thought it would look like in the blink of an eye. Divorce, for example, is just one of those changes where friends say, “I never thought it would happen to me!” A sudden injury, disease, or disability are other changes that are hard to predict. When your life experiences change, your estate plan must also reflect these developments.
  • Health First: Health risks for women are much more likely to occur. Cancer and heart disease are equal opportunity risks. If your health declines, you will be thankful for a Healthcare Power of Attorney that sets forth your choices and specific directions. This is an easy step to take now that you will be highly grateful for later.
  • Modern Families: More than ever before, families today are blended families. Blended families can bring challenges and complexity because many moving parts and relationships must be considered. Thorough planning now will ensure that everyone is taken care of later, no matter what. If you die before your children’s step-parent, make sure your children still get what was important that you wanted them to have.
  • Likely Caregiver: Many of us will have no choice but to step up and become caregivers. This is an uncomfortable truth for many women regarding their spouses. Consider and plan for the possibility before it happens. Having this conversation now will also ease any tough decisions or discussions that will need to be had if the situation arises.
  • Boss Ladies: As you build your business, there are ways to protect yourself from the threat of liability. Now that you’re a Boss Lady let’s ensure your business legacy is secure and thriving by having the proper documents in order.
  • Single and Rocking It: Estate Plans aren’t just for married folks! If you are single and never tied the knot, it’s crucial to have an estate plan that lets those left behind know the choices you want made when you can’t make your own decisions and after you are gone. Your loved ones will thank you for making these decisions now, so they are not left guessing your wishes.

Estate planning is NOT a form you borrow from a friend. Estate planning is NOT taking chances with online services that warn this is “not legal advice” and “we are not your lawyer.” You are unique. Your family is unique. What you own and what you’ve built is unique. What you leave behind when you exit will be unique. Estate planning is about protecting you and your loved ones with a plan tailored to you and your life. Today is the day to start planning for your future and the probabilities and possibilities.

Let’s chat about crafting a unique plan for you and your legacy. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your specific needs. You can call to schedule an appointment at 719-434-0000.

Paying It Forward: How to Build Your Legacy Through Mentoring

I can readily look back and see those people who have profoundly impacted my success, both as a child and as an adult. I had, and still have, teachers and mentors that helped me build my character and ultimately assisted me in becoming successful. I couldn’t have done it without them. I will forever be grateful!

Opportunities to mentor abound. Have you tried it? One of the ways that I give back now is through the youth group at my church. Every Wednesday evening, you will find me sitting on the floor in a room with 7th-grade girls. Why? Because I know how important having a mentor can be and I have an opportunity to play a role in the lives of these young women.

By investing time and effort in mentoring, you demonstrate the essence of leadership and envision a brighter future for the coming generations by actively nurturing and passing on knowledge to younger individuals.

Mentees benefit when they are encouraged to pursue their goals and work towards a brighter future. Not only does mentoring give you the opportunity to invest in the life of another person, but it can also provide you with a unique perspective on your life and a chance to create a lasting impact in the community. As you engage in the mentorship process, you’ll find yourself reflecting on your own goals, seeking to provide a valuable experience for those you mentor.

As an Estate Planning lawyer, I recognize that true success and satisfaction arise from building a legacy that reflects who you are and your values as a leader- both personally and professionally. I have adopted a heart-centered approach to help individuals define and build their estate plans and their legacies. To discover how I can assist you in achieving your vision, schedule a free 15-minute call to discuss your plans and dreams for your family and your future.

Adulting 101

In today’s rapidly changing world, young adults often find themselves navigating a multitude of responsibilities and decisions as they embark on their journeys toward independence. While estate planning might seem like a topic more relevant to older generations, it holds a crucial significance for young adults as well. The truth is unforeseen circumstances can affect anyone at any stage of life, underscoring the importance of having essential estate planning documents in place. These documents provide a sense of security and control over one’s future and offer a practical way to ensure that one’s wishes are honored in situations that may involve medical emergencies, financial uncertainties, or unexpected life events. As such, young adults (and their parents) increasingly recognize the value of establishing these foundational legal instruments early on to safeguard their well-being and protect their assets.

What legal documents do your young adults need when they turn 18?

It’s great that you’re considering legal documents for a young adult at 18. At this point, individuals become legal adults and have certain rights and responsibilities. Some essential legal documents for a young adult to consider include:

1. Healthcare Power of Attorney: This document designates someone to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so themselves.

2. Durable Power of Attorney: This grants someone the authority to manage their financial affairs if they become incapacitated.

3. Living Will: Also known as an advance directive, a living will outlines their preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care.

4. Last Will and Testament: While typically associated with older adults, it’s never too early to create a will to outline how they want their assets distributed in case of their passing.

5. HIPAA Authorization: This allows healthcare providers to share medical information with designated individuals.

6. Digital Assets: As technology becomes more integral to our lives, it’s important to consider what should happen to their online accounts and digital property after their passing.

Some additional legal documents to consider include:

7. Rental Agreement: If they’re moving out of their parent’s home or living independently, a rental agreement can help outline their responsibilities as a tenant.

8. Bank Account Documents: If they’re opening a bank account, they will likely need identification documents and possibly a parent or guardian’s signature if they’re under 18.

10. Student Loan Agreements: If they’re pursuing higher education and taking out loans, they should be aware of the terms and conditions of their loans.

Remember, legal requirements can vary from state to state, which is why it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney when your young adult is ready to set up their first estate plan.

Why do parents want to have their 18-year-old child’s legal documents in order?

Parents often want to ensure that their 18-year-old child has their legal documents in order for several important reasons:

1. Healthcare Decisions: Legal documents like a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will can allow parents to make medical decisions on their child’s behalf if they cannot do so themselves. This becomes crucial in case of accidents, emergencies, or medical situations where the young adult cannot communicate their wishes.

2. Financial Management: With a Durable Power of Attorney, parents can manage their child’s financial affairs if the child becomes incapacitated. This can be especially helpful when the young adult is away at college or living independently and needs assistance with financial matters.

3. Peace of Mind: Parents naturally worry about their children’s well-being. Knowing that their child has taken steps to address important legal matters can provide parents with peace of mind, knowing that their child’s interests are protected even if they are not directly involved in every decision.

4. Asset Distribution: While it might not be pleasant to think about, having a Last Will and Testament ensures that the young adult’s assets are distributed according to their wishes in case of their passing. This can help prevent confusion, disputes, and potential legal issues among family members.

5. Privacy and Communication: Documents like HIPAA Authorization allow parents to access their child’s medical information and communicate with healthcare providers if necessary. This can be critical in situations where quick decisions need to be made about medical treatment.

6. Transition to Independence: As young adults transition to independence, having these legal documents in place empowers them to take control of their own lives while still having a safety net in case of unexpected events.

7. Avoiding Legal Complications: Without proper legal documentation, parents might face challenges in accessing their child’s medical or financial information, making decisions on their behalf, or managing their affairs if needed. These challenges can be avoided with the appropriate legal documents in place.

8. Educational and Employment Needs: Some legal documents, such as what is needed when signing rental agreements or managing student loans, might be necessary as young adults pursue higher education or enter the workforce.

By helping your young adult put their first estate plan in order, you, as a parent, demonstrate your support, care, and commitment to your child’s well-being and future. It teaches your young adult responsibility and becomes a great lesson that will benefit your child as they move through life. If you have any further questions about what legal documents your young adult might need, or you are ready to make some moves and start to get these in order, contact Cris Carter Law today.

Brains & Gains: The Importance of Brain Health

In an increasingly fast-paced and demanding world, the significance of maintaining optimal brain health cannot be overstated. Often dubbed as the body’s most intricate and essential organ, the brain serves as the command center for every facet of our existence, from decision-making and problem-solving to emotions and memories. As research continues to uncover the intricate interplay between lifestyle choices, mental well-being, and cognitive function, the imperative of preserving and enhancing brain health becomes all the more evident. Nurturing our brain’s vitality through mindful practices and informed choices is paramount to leading a fulfilling and cognitively empowered life.

I have shared below six tips for helping maintain brain health in your day-to-day life. These are easy to practice and will help your overall health, not to mention help keep your brain in tip-top shape.

Make Family Communication All That it Can Be!

No relationship is immune to conflict. Sooner or later, you, your partner, your children, and others in a relationship with you are bound to not see eye-to-eye about something. Research shows it is how you handle communication with others that will determine both the health and success of your relationships. And we all want our relationships to be as healthy as possible, right? Check out the infographic below from The Gottman Institute. Perhaps you have never heard of The Gottman Institute. The Gottman Institute is a resource that I have followed for years and that I have found to have great value in helping me understand how to communicate with others more successfully. What I have learned from The Gottman Institute has benefitted me personally, professionally, and in every aspect of life, which is why I am sharing it with you. I encourage you to learn about The Four Horsemen. Even more important is learning how to avoid having The Four Horsemen be part of your communication patterns. You can access more information from The Gottman Institute here.