Several articles came out this month about the new law firm! Here is a link to one and .pdf’s of the others. This is such an exciting time for us and I am thrilled that my wonderful community seems to share in our joy!
Adam and I would love to see you anytime you are in the down-town area – just stop in and say “hi!”
Sneak Preview Article
Ashland Living Article
Cheri Elson Sperber, Drescher Elson Sperber, P.C.
Estate Planning: it is something most Americans avoid and more often than not, never get around to. The excuses range from “Estate planning is too confusing” to “I don’t have anything to leave behind” to “I will get around to it next year.” By having an estate plan, however, one offers one’s family members peace of mind during a difficult period.
The four main documents in an estate plan are: Will, Trust, Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, and Advance Directive for Health Care.
A Will is the legal instrument that permits a person to make decisions on how his or her estate will be managed and distributed after death. If there is no Will, the person has died intestate and State laws will dictate how the estate is distributed. It is important to note that a Will does not avoid probate (the legal process in which a decedent’s assets are distributed under court supervision); however, it will ensure your assets are distributed to the people and in the manner you desire.
One of the simplest ways to avoid probate, a Trust is a legal arrangement in which a Trustee holds legal title to property for a beneficiary. There are three main “players” in a Trust: Settlor, Trustee, and Beneficiary. The Settlor is typically the only person who can make changes to the Trust document. In a conventional living (or intervivos) Trust, the Settlor, Beneficiary, and Trustee are initially the same person. It is only when the Settlor becomes unable to handle his or her own financial affairs that a successor Trustee (chosen by the Settlor) takes over the management of the Trust. The Trust assets are to be used first and foremost for the benefit of the Settlor, with the remainder beneficiaries receiving an interest in the Trust only after the Settlor’s death (the same way that a person’s estate passes to his or her beneficiaries under a Will).
The Durable Power of Attorney for Finances (DPA) names the person responsible for managing your finances in the event you are unable to manage them yourself. Even in a Trust-centered estate plan, the DPA plays an important role, governing the assets held outside the Trust. In the event of your incapacity, your successor Trustee will take over and manage your Trust assets while your agent under the DPA will manage all non-trust assets.
An Advance Directive for Health Care combines a power of attorney for health care and a living will, or directive to physicians, into one document. It allows you to name an agent to speak with the doctors and make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them on your own.
When properly drafted, an estate plan is a powerful tool not only in the event of person’s death, but also during the person’s life. When deciding on a professional to assist you in drawing up your estate plan, be sure to choose someone who specializes in this area of law. This will help ensure your plan works effectively not only after your death, but during your life as well.
As we move through life, what we want and who we want in charge changes. Estate plans are designed to grow and develop as we do and would be reviewed periodically. I recommend reviewing your plan on an annual basis – you may not need to change it each year, but looking at it each will help keep it fresh in your mind, as well as help ensure any necessary changes are caught and addressed quickly.
If you have an estate plan already in place and want to be certain it meets your needs, I am happy to review it with you. An estate planning attorney in California since 2001, and now also licensed to practice law in Oregon, I am uniquely qualified to review your current plan with you and help you make any changes which may be desired.
Welcome to my new blog – I am so excited to be here! I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself, both personally and professionally. My husband and I moved here from Southern California three years ago. I knew of Ashland because I had been here for the Shakespeare festival with my parents while I was in college. My husband had never been here, but knew about it and always wanted to see Ashland and the Shakespeare festival. In 2012, we came up together and immediately fell in love with the town. The culture, the nature, the warmth of the people here – it was everything we wanted in a community and Adam and I decided then and there that someday we would live here. After seeing all of our kids off on the college route, we realized our dream and moved to Ashland the summer of 2014. We continue to wake up every morning and pinch ourselves to be certain this is not just a wonderful dream. We really feel we live in paradise!
On a professional note, I have been licensed to practice law in California since 2001 and was certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Law. This past February, I sat the Oregon State Bar exam, passed, and am delighted to announce that I have begun practicing law once again!
I am now partners with Allen Drescher and will take over his practice on July 1, when he retires. Allen has been serving this community for over 40 years and has built one of the most respected practices in the Rogue Valley. This is an extraordinary opportunity for me and I am honored to have been chosen by Allen to carry on his practice.
Like Allen, my practice here in Ashland will focus on estate planning, estate administration, and elder law. I was very involved in the Senior Care Community in Southern California, teaching classes for the Alzheimer’s Association and working closely with those caring for our elderly. I have already begun making these connections here and look forward to being part of this community in Ashland. Being a specialist in estate planning, estate administration, and elder law helps me help both my direct clients and those who help them to the fullest. I will also be able to assist my clients with a variety of other issues, such as questions about businesses, incorporating, real estate, and general legal matters.
I love spending time with my clients and forming personal relationships beyond what most expect to have with their attorney. Helping my clients solve problems is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. It’s fun to get creative finding solutions to often complex issues.
If you see me on my bike around town, please say “hi” – I’d love to meet you! I also invite you to call my office and make an appointment to meet with me and see how we might work together.