Thank you to all the clients, friends, family, and neighbors who donated toys and cash for our annual toy drive. Yesterday, Jesse, our official toy drive organizer, was able to donate gifts for 103 children to the YWCA Emergency Homeless Shelter in Downtown Seattle. This was our most successful drive to date. The agency was very grateful and Jesse is already gearing up for next year.
Holidays can be hard for families with divorce. At Phinney Estate Law we help families end their marriages with non-litigated alternatives such as collaborative law, mediation, and other unbundled support for reaching settlement. Whenever those divorces involve children the families need to determine how they will spend the holidays. People relying on courts to make those choices for them will get a clean and somewhat arbitrary schedule. People who make their own plans and can supplement that schedule to include the option of spending time together.
Spending the actual holiday together may be a lofting goal and one that can be achieved in the long run. (Weddings and holidays in our extended family often include some ex-spouses.) But it can be a little much when feelings are still raw or when spending time with new partners is too uncomfortable. Spending the holidays apart is probably better than spending them together and fighting. Something that might be easier to pull off and without discomfort or spite is a holiday outing on neutral ground. Woodlawn Park Zoo's Wild Lights Festival would be a good option for such an outing. Relatively short in duration, festive, fun, lots of distracting things to look at and do so less pressure for chit chat than a dinner, and not so family focuses that in-laws and new partners would feel slighted to be left out.
Other ideas that work for you family that you would like to share? Let us know we are always looking for ideas that can help newly divided families co-parent in positive ways.
Hoping to handle your divorce is a way that will maximize your chances of working well as family after the marriage ends? We highly recommend exploring the various options for doing so that don't involve litigation fights and court imposed decisions. Call us to schedule a free consultation to learn more about those options and find one that works best for your unique case. Tel. 206-459-1908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a day when same sex couples all over the state are celebrating their new right to marry in this state, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear two cases this term about same sex marriage: a challenge to a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the case against Prop 8.
Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) requires the federal government to discriminate against married same-sex couples and treat them as if they are not married resulting in increased estate tax burdens, lack of access to health benefits, and unequal treatment for government pensions, social security benefits, and vetran's benefits.
This law has been hurting legally married same-sex couples and their families for 16 years and will continue to make same sex marriages less than equal until the law is struck down or changed.
Several circuit courts have found the law unconstitutional but this is the first time the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the issue.
The Court also agreed to review the challenge to Prop 8 brought by AFER, the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
Phinney Estate Law is now offering a discount of $100 of Estate Plans for members of the Phinney Neighborhood Association. To redeem the discount, members should print the coupon off the DoPhinneyWood Website coupon section and present it at their initial consultation along with proof of PNA membership. While you are there check out the other great discounts from local PNA business members. There are some great deals!
When you think about giving gifts to older family and friends you may not automatically think high tech but there is some nice new technology out there to help seniors age in place, stay healthy, and maintain independence. And isn't that better than another bar of scented soap. Here are three of our favorites.
1. VTech's CareLine phone -- could be useful. The VTech has large buttons and a visual ring to help with vision, hearing, and dexerity issues. But my favorite feature is the photo speed dial to make it easy for seniors to reach out to caregivers and family without having to remember the every changing phone numbers of a younger generation. Seniors seeking to remain independent need help finding the right people at the right time. Studies also show a strong correlation between staying connected to others and the health of older adults. A Harvard University report said odds of mental decline doubled for seniors with no social ties compared to those who had frequent contact with relatives and friends or participated in social activities. Researchers in another study found individuals with a rich social network lived at least 1.6 years longer than their peers. The ability to connect easily increases safety and health.
2. The FitBit is a nice tool that allows someone to track their activity levels and sleep patterns. With encouragement to get active and move and useful information on sleep issues, it can be a real boon to seniors trying to stay active to maintain their health and independence. Seniors can also easily share their progress and challenge each other with online applications and encouragement.
3. Failing to take medications properly is one of the biggest health risks seniors' face. Failure to properly manage medications is such a common cause of temporary mental incapacity that as a Guardian ad Litem for seniors I am trained to look for it in every case. It is also one of the reasons why there is a death in American from accidental overdoses of prescription drugs in America every 19 minutes. Want to help avoid that with seniors in your life. There is an app for that. Irody is a smart phone or tablet application that records medication prescriptions, gives reminders to meds, and can identify medications visually for patients confused about which pill to take.
At Phinney Estate Law we are always seeking ways to help Seniors maintain their sense of independence and dignity while helping families cooperative manage the challenges that can come with aging. A good estate plan that includes complete powers of attorney and an advanced health care directives is one of the most powerful tools seniors and their families can use to meet those goals but we encourage families to look for other tools as well and technology is an overlooked option. For more information on aging in place technology check out this dedicated blog. And remember, an estate plan makes an unique and useful gift too! To find out more or to schedule a free half hour consultation, contact us at email@example.com or (206) 459-1908.
This Blog is written by Seattle Attorneys Jamie Clausen & Michael Ballnik.