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Comic License:  Nick Galifianakis/Washington Post

License:  Fair Use/Education

What Is It With Sacramento?

Rosalie Achiu is a recently widowed Sacramento woman. Her neighbors described her as suffering from dementia. Shortly after she called the Sacramento sheriff for assistance in January, one of the responding deputies obtained her power of attorney, drilled a safe deposit box, moved her out of her house, and placed her on a plane to the Phillippines ostensibly to visit relatives there. The deputy claims that she did all of this at the behest of the woman. The deputy is now under investigation by her department.
A few points:
1. Color me skeptical that a woman would instantly give financial control of her assets to a law enforcement officer she recently met and that the officer would accept such power for benevolent purposes when social services and the probate court could assist the woman.
2. Mrs. Achiu should have executed a power of attorney prior to her husband’s death, or shortly thereafter, designating a trusted friend or relative as her attorney in fact for both financial and medical decisions.
3. In true 2018 fashion, the deputy claims that she is being investigated because she filed a harassment claim against her now current supervisor in 2007. This does not explain why her partner is also being investigated.
 
 
Photo Credit:  Unknown (AP?)
License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

We Rebelled Against Monarchy for a Reason

Times are slow in the estate planning news area. I have been awaiting the resolution of a court hearing in Hawaii about the estate of their last living “Princess” for the past month. Alas, nothing has been reported.

Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawananakoa is considered the last living Hawaiian princess. Her great-aunt was the last Queen of Hawaii. Her great-grandfather was a pineapple magnate who left her a fortune. The 91 year old survived a stroke last summer. Her long time attorney was granted control of her $250 million estate. Her long time 64 year old girl friend married her last Fall after initially breaking up with her because she wanted more than the $700K annual allowance she was receiving.

A few points of some pithiness:

1. Planning wise, Abigail should have had a financial power of attorney designating someone to handle her finances if she were incapacitated.

2. She also should have a medical power of attorney allowing someone to assist her with her medical decisions when necessary.

3. Hawaiians revere their royalty no matter how tenuously connected to the throne from 125 years ago.

4. Some (including me) might call a woman who marries an incapacitated wealthy woman 27 years older than her an opportunist rather than a wife.

Photo Credit:  AP

License:  Fair Use/Eduction

Not All Tattoos Are Pointless

When an unconscious Florida man was brought to a hospital without identification but a tattoo that said “Do Not Resuscitate” and a signature, doctors were surprisingly faced with what to do with the dying man. They first thought they should disregard the tattoo because it might not reflect his current wishes because he might have gotten it when drunk. An ethicist later over-ruled the doctors and said that his tattooed wishes must be respected.The man eventually died. An NYU ethicist quoted in the article said that people should carry their health care directives with them to prevent these problems.
 
Several points:
 
1. Sad that the hospital was at first going to ignore something as obvious as the man’s tattooed wishes. Even if he were drunk when he obtained the tattoo, he could have remembered to remove it any time whenever he saw himself and the tattoo in a mirror.
 
2. I have scans of all my clients’ documents and have occasionally been asked to send them to a hospital while I have been out of town. The cloud can be a tremendous tool.
 
3. Carrying one’s health care directives in case of emergency seems like an extreme command by the ethicist especially in the case of homeless folks who are simply trying to push a cart with their blankets and clothes and looking for food. Neatly preserved health care directives would seem to be low on the priority list.
 
4. Moving beyond homeless folks, asking folks to carry their health care directives while they run to CVS or Sam’s Club seems burdensome. This is further proof that the academic world is not the real world.

Prayers For Otto

Otto Warmbier is the Cincinnatian who was held captive by North Korea for 17 months for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda sign on a college visit. While starting to serve a 15 year sentence of hard labor, he was beaten so severely that he suffered a brain injury and returned home Tuesday night in a coma. Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center have described his condition as “unresponsive wakefulness.”

One small legal point:

1. Once a child turns 18, I encourage parents to have their child sign a health care power of attorney, living will, and HIPAA Release so the parents can access their child’s medical records and make medical decisions for them. Without those documents, the parents might be stymied in making decisions in the best interest of their child.

2. This story breaks my heart. No snark here out of respect for Otto and his parents. Tell your child you love him/her tonight.

Photo Credit:  Christopher Oquendo for dailymail.com

License:  Fair Use/Education

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All Posts By Jay Brinker

I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.