March 31, 2017

Don't Put Off Planning for Your Loved Ones

The Hon. William D. Missouri

Spring Greetings:

Yes, spring is in the air and it’s time for some spring cleaning. In the case of this month’s Voice of Experience, and the Senior Lawyers Division, it’s time for some spring planning. There’s an old idiom that says, "Never put off 'til tomorrow, what you can do today." People often put off planning for their loved ones once they are gone. They fail to leave behind an estate plan or instructions for their family in the event that they are unable to maintain things on their own.

This month’s issue has three fine articles dealing with the most important estate planning documents. Attorneys are familiar with estate planning, but their clients are often puzzled by all the different terms. Questions arise such as: Why do I need to estate plan if I don’t live on an estate? What’s a power of attorney? Do I need one? Why do I need one? When? What about trusts and wills? Is there a difference? What happens if I die without a will? Who gets what and what about the children? These three articles, written by attorneys who are leaders in estate planning, are excellent reads for other attorneys as well as family members and clients unfamiliar with what’s what and what they need to do.

Jerry E. Shiles breaks it all down in the article, "Avoid Estate Planning Blunders." The article discusses HIPAA release, health care POA, living wills, durable POA, last will and testament, living trust, and what needs to be done and kept updated.

"Essential Estate Planning Documents: Wills & Revocable Trusts," by Dawn D. Hallman of Hallman & Associates, PC in Oklahoma explains for clients what a trust is and who might need a trust for multiple reasons. The article details how trusts work, the benefits of trusts, what they do and don’t do, and how a will works with a trust.

Selby C. Rains, also an attorney with Hallman & Associates, PC. but in Dallas, has contributed the article "Essential Estate Planning Documents: Power of Attorney." The article serves as a guide to the different kinds and uses of power of attorney (POA): general POA, durable POA, springing POA, and medical POA.

Estate planning is important for our clients and while we are helping them plan we must be prepared to do some planning for ourselves.

Speaking of preparing, the SLD is in the process of preparing for the Spring Planning Meeting on May 4-6, 2017, at National Harbor, Maryland. We invite you to attend and participate in the interactive event on Friday, May 5. This all-day program will feature several speakers for the program, titled Hidden Epidemic: Seniors and Opioid Addiction. The program price is $75 and CLE credits are available. You may register online at:

We look forward to seeing you there. Meanwhile, enjoy the pleasant spring weather.

Respectfully with best regards,
William D. Missouri, Chair 
Senior Lawyers Division

The Hon. William D. Missouri