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If At First You Don’t Succeed, . . . . Forge? (No, Just Kidding).

This is out of a horror movie.  A Kansas City attorney was recently charged with murder for killing her father’s girlfriend of 20 years.  Her father was shot and his girlfriend was repeatedly stabbed then shot at their vacation home in 2010.  Her father did not die from his wounds.  The woman then allegedly forged a health care power of attorney so she could withdraw his medical support 4 days later.  She was charged with his murder a year ago.  Apparently, she was concerned that her father would leave all of his assets to his soon to be wife.  In an odd but clarifying footnote, her mother (her father’s first wife), had spent 11 months in jail for stealing $100,000 from her own mother by forging a power of  attorney 10 years ago.

Points?

1.  If the father had wanted to preserve assets for his daughter he could have executed a pre-nuptial agreement to set forth which assets he would leave his soon to be wife (and what would be left for his daughter).

2.  Along the same lines, he could have executed a trust to provide for his new wife while leaving the remainder to his daughter after the wife’s death.

3.  Preparing a health care power of attorney to address medical needs is essential.   So is ensuring that the person with that responsibility has a copy of the document and is aware of the duties.

4.  When a daughter resents her father and his girlfriend, and her biological mother has already stolen from her own mother, an active alarm system  and a multitude of security cameras would be a worthy investment.  And perhaps a Kevlar jacket.

Getting One’s Act Together

In the making lemonade out of lemons department is this story about a woman whose 43 year old husband died after his bicycle was hit by a motorist.  The couple had unsigned wills, no emergency savings, financial accounts with passwords the wife did not know, but some life insurance.  The widow created a web site to encourage others to avoid her financial calumny and to essentially take steps to become a responsible adult by executing a will and other financial documents and by assisting with passwords and other financial knowledge.

When prioritizing allocation of financial resources to major decisions, I recommend the following:

1.  Life insurance.  Provide financial security for the spouse and children.

2. Living will and health care power of attorney.  Do not bankrupt the family because medical decisions can not be made.

3.  Will.  Clarify distributions and designate a guardian.

Somewhat related, the article did nothing to dispel my fear of riding my bike on the road rather than a bike trail.

 

 

 

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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.