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Estate Plans Fast!

I have been drafting estate plans since 1989 and now devote much of my practice to estate planning.  I can usually see new clients within a few days of their first call concerning their need for a customized estate plan. I can usually have their new estate plan ready for signature within a week of that first conference, so long as the client gets all of his or her essential documents (like deeds) to me right way.

I always suggest an estate plan that will avoid probate court fees and expenses for the heirs of an estate. This often requires the use of a beneficiary deed or a revocable living trust. In addition to these documents my basic estate plan typically includes a will, a durable power of attorney in order to avoid conservatorship, and a medical power of attorney in order to avoid guardianship.

Fees for estate plans usually range from $250 to $1500 depending on the documents needed.

Call Attorney Glenn Hall today at 573-729-2229 for your free initial consultation. Or, write an email to Mr. Hall at Glenn@Hall-Law.org.

 

Emergency Estate Planning

Just last week one of my long-time clients died. He had put off any estate planning until the very end and was in and out of the hospital the last four weeks of his life. I called him twice at the hospital to ask him if he wanted me to prepare any documents for him because I sensed that his life was coming to a close. The second time I called I asked him directly, “Do you think your death is imminent?” He answered “No” and did not ask me to prepare anything for him.

About one week later I got an emergency call from a close friend asking me to prepare certain documents. That day I prepared and emailed documents to that friend which were signed and notarized that day. These documents provided for the transfer of all of my clients assets, including two pieces of real estate, a business, and much personal property, without the necessity of filing anything in probate court.  This quick action will save my client’s beneficiaries thousand of dollars in probate fees and legal expenses.

Moral: take action to preserve your estate assets now! Call Glenn Hall at 573-729-2229 to discuss the estate plan drafted to your particular needs.

Estate Planning

Glenn Hall of the Hall Law Firm LLC has been drafting estate planning documents for clients for over 23 years now. Glenn received his Juris Doctorate degree from Regent University in 1989. Until 1989 Regent University was named CBN University after its founder, Pat Robertson, and his very successful Christian Broadcasting Network. Since the law school was part of an active Christian ministry many courses were devoted to estate planning with a view to caring for one’s family and the ministries which had been instrumental in a person’s life. Glenn took every estate planning course offered while he attended law school there and hit the ground running, drafting revocable living trusts, private irrevocable trusts, and other complicated legal estate planning documents soon after passing the bar exam in 1989.

Today Glenn regularly prepares trusts, wills, durable powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, and beneficiary deeds for clients. Call Glenn today for a free consultation regarding your estate planning needs.

Lifetime Ban for Drunk Driving?

Lifetime Ban for Drunk Driving

Well, it doesn’t say the driver was drunk, and I’m guessing that there was an original charge of drunk driving that the prosecutor ended up dropping, but this kid sure smashed up his car, badly.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/national_world&id=8566930&rss=rss-kabc-article-8566930

And so the Rhode Island judge banned him from getting a driver’s license FOR LIFE.

The first articles I read about the story bothered me—it sounded way too harsh. Then I read that one of his passengers ended up in a coma for weeks. No one died, but a week long coma?

What troubles me about the judge’s sentence is that he said he was doing it to “send a message” to others that Rhode Island doesn’t tolerate reckless driving.

That’s great, this teenager isn’t all those other drivers. He did what he did, and the punishment needs to fit his crime.

Banning people from driving can seem like a good idea because, theoretically, it keeps them off the road. After all, that’s what we want to accomplish.

In my limited experience, banning people from driving rarely keeps people off the road—it merely makes them repeat “criminals.” The people that suspensions and bans do keep off the road tend to be the people who learned their lesson and are not going to do anything stupid with their cars or while driving again anyway.

If this guy drives again while his license is still banned, he could end up in prison. If this guy doesn’t drive again, this act could possibly cause a detrimental impact on him for the rest of his life. If the injuries he caused to his passengers have long term detrimental impact, then maybe it is just and fitting to cause him problems for the rest of his life.

Also, I believe the Rhode Island law does permit a judge in the future to lift the ban and allow him to get his driver’s license again. Thus, if this guy rises above his past and proves he’s a responsible, hard working, diligent adult, then he may be able to see a little grace to soften the harsh justice his careless deeds ran him into.

I’m a bit torn about whether the punishment fit the crime in this case. I disagree that it’s appropriate to slam someone with a harsh punishment because the judge wants to send other people a message. Justice is about what the defendant in question did, not about scaring other people.

Further reading:

http://articles.boston.com/2012-03-02/news/31117742_1_ri-judge-lifetime-ban

http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20220305harsh_judgment_ri_jurists_lifetime_drive_ban_for_teen_went_too_far_say_bay_state_pols

http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2012/03/ri-judge-imposes-lifetime-driving-ban-on-teenager-for-serious-reckless-crash.html

The Best Interest of the Child

Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, has recently posted this article expressing concern about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child [CRC]. The fear is that the CRC would permit judges, and possibly even a committee of internationals sitting in Geneva, to probe into every area of the parent-child relationship and make determinations based on the “best interest of the child.”

The U.S. has yet to ratify this over a decade old treaty, but there is fear that under the new heavily Democrat Senate, it could be ratified in the near future.

If the treaty really allows the feared state (and even worse, international) intrusion into parent-child relationships, then it is not merely home schoolers who should worry, but every parent who, whether for religious or other reasons, believes that she has inherent authority to direct the moral, physical, emotional, and educational upbringing of her children.

As with so many other topics I have discussed in this blog, the issue comes down to one of authority. Who has authority over children–the state or parents? And if the state–is it the state governments or the federal government? If the Senate ratifies the CRC, it will have the force of a federal statute, and constitutionally, federal statutes are supreme over state laws.

But the CRC should never be imposed as law in the United States both because in an absolute sense, it surpasses the inherent authority granted to the state and in a legal sense, it is unconstitutional. The Constitution does not give the federal government authority to regulate the parent child relationship. This is why we have state laws governing divorce, child custody, child abuse, etc., rather than federal laws. However, as we know, the Supreme Court has allowed the Federal government to overstep its constitutional bounds in countless ways. It is possible that our current Supreme Court would rule the CRC unconstitutional based on the fact that the Constitution does not grant this authority to the Federal government, but there is a real risk that it would not.

And the risk that it would not leads me again to suggest that it might be a good thing that the Supreme Court upholds what it calls Substantive Due Process rights (which aren’t in the Constitution at all). One of these rights is the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. This right has proved impotent in many situations (such as when parents seek a constitutional right to opt their children out of certain classes in public schools), but it has been used effectively, even as recently as 2000, to prevent a judge from granting a grandparent custody rights against the wishes of a fit parent. See Troxel v. Granville.

It appears, then, that based on substantive due process rights, the Supreme Court still states that, as a constitutional matter, a fit parent can override a judge’s determination of the best interests of a child. The fear of the CRC is that a judg’es determination of the best interest of a child could and would override various decisions, such as relating to education and religion, of fit parents.

As long as the Supreme Court holds this view, the CRC would hopefully lose all or much of its sting.

[next post to discuss the concept of the Best Interest of the Child, the interesting situation of divorce, and various issues of authority relevant to these cases.]

The Hall Law Firm gets a new look!

Welcome to the Hall Law Firm’s new web page.  We hope that you will find all the information you need to quickly decide if you think we can help you with your special needs.  Please call us today for even more information.  You can reach Jaired at 417-967-0066 at our Houston office and Glenn at 573-729-2229 at our Salem office.