Thursday, February 21, 2013

Exciting News! Collaboration with Molever Conelly PLLC

I am happy to announce that as of February 4, 2013, I became “of counsel” at Molever Conelly PLLC, a boutique law firm in Scottsdale, that handles numerous types of business, litigation, employment, contract, and real estate matters.

I was asked to join Molever Conelly to bring the Empowered Legacy Planning process to their firm and to help expand estate planning options for their clients. We are all very excited about this new joint effort and look forward to a mutually rewarding and long-lasting relationship.

I will continue providing estate planning, estate administration and probate services, as well as the Empowered Legacy Planning Maintenance & Education Program at Molever Conelly.

Kristel K. Patton, Esq.
MOLEVER CONELLY PLLC
8161 E. Indian Bend Road, Suite 103
Scottsdale, Arizona 85250
480.268.2655
480.268.2654 (direct)




Friday, March 2, 2012

You Truly Never Know What Might Happen...

"You just never know."

That phrase could not be ringing more true for the Wilcox family of Barnett, Missouri.  On Tuesday morning, Marty and Elisa Wilcox were leaving the hospital with their brand new baby boy, Gabriel, and their 3-year old son, Marty Junior.  The Wilcoxes were en route to grandmother, Angela Hartwig's house with Marty and Elisa wearing seat belts and both children properly secured in the appropriate child restraint seats.  In a horribly tragic turn of events, the Wilcox car was hit head on by a Toyota who crossed the center line. Marty and Elisa were pronounced dead on the scene and little Marty Junior was taken to a nearby hospital where he died a short time later. Miraculously, Baby Gabriel, only 40 hours old, was thrown from the vehicle but suffered only minor scratches and was released from the hospital that same day. At barely two days old, he is now an orphan and in his grandmother's care. This sad story unfortunately gets sadder as the driver of the Toyota was 19-year old Emily Frakes--Elisa's co-worker who had celebrated Gabriel's impending arrival at a baby shower not two weeks prior.

All of us here at Kristel K. Patton, P.C. are heartbroken by this story.  But we feel compelled to remind our readers that anything can happen to anyone at absolutely anytime--even 40 hours after the joyous arrival of a brand new baby.  We encourage everyone to take some time this year to think about planning for your future.  Especially if you have young or dependent children, it is imperative to ensure that the lives of your family and loved ones continue on as uninterrupted as possible should the unfortunate occur.  It is unclear whether the Wilcoxes had their affairs in order. But if they didn't, it would be up to Grandma Angela to deal with probating their estate and possibly even fighting a custody battle over Baby Gabriel all while trying to grieve the horrific loss of her dear loved ones. Estate planning is not always the easiest topic to discuss and think about, but it is so important to take care of because you truly never know what might happen.

*This post adapted from "Infant sole survivor of crash that kills parents, brother" found here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Yellow Dot Program for Medical-Alerts

With approximately 32 million drivers in the United States being age 65 or older, a new craze called the Yellow Dot program is gaining nationwide recognition.  The Yellow Dot began in Connecticut in 2002, and it's premise is quite simple.  Drivers affix a yellow dot sticker to the rear windshield of their vehicle, and this would alert emergency rescue workers that the driver has vital information such as a list of medical conditions and prescriptions, a photograph, or emergency contact information stored in their glove compartment.

Alabama's Yellow Dot program has recently generated a lot of interest.  Lora Weaver, program coordinator for the Northeast Alabama Traffic Safety Office, says that she has sent out over 150 information packets to interested people seeking to start programs in their own state or county. Proposals to keep costs down such as not requiring registration are highly favored, also.

This is a great program for all drivers, not just those over age 65. The more information that is available to emergency responders, the better they can care for accident victims of any age and notify the victims' families.

If you would like to see a Yellow Dot program implemented in your city or state, contact your local highway safety governing board for more information.

*Story adapted from "Drivers hot for medical-alert Yellow Dot kits" article found here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We're in the Ahwatukee Foothills News!

On June 30, 2011 the Ahwatukee Foothills News ran a story featuring Kristel K. Patton P.C. and discussed the importance of estate planning.  We had a great time meeting with the reporter, and are thrilled that this information is reaching more and more people. Check it out HERE and share it with your friends!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July is National Recreation and Parks Month!

Did you know that 75 percent of Americans live within two miles of a public park or recreation facility, and that more than 75 percent of us visit them each year?  In recognition of the importance of parks and recreation facilities in our lives, and to foster the well-being of our environment and communities, the National Recreation and Park Association designated the month of July as Recreation and Parks Month in 1985.

As an estate planning law firm, we tend to focus on the financial security of our clients and their families.  Of course, we are also concerned with their physical and emotional well-being.  This is why we wholeheartedly support National Recreation and Parks Month and hope that it will serve as a reminder for our readers to take advantage of our nation's valuable resources.

Here are just a few of the benefits afforded by taking advantage of what America's parks and recreation facilities have to offer:

  • Improved physical and mental health.  Recreation and active living can help increase life expectancy by as much as two years and make for a more balanced, happier life
  • The development of specialized skills, a positive self-image and creativity in children and grandchildren
  • Increased ability to concentrate and learn
  • The opportunity to build stronger family relationships by spending quality time together, which in turn helps creating a lasting legacy for your family
  • And, perhaps most of all, the opportunity to get out and enjoy time spent with family and friends in a beautiful setting
If you would like to learn more about the parks and activities near you, visit NRPA.org.  Then, take advantage of the next nice day, gather your family and friends together, and head out to the nearest park for a little recreating!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Natural Catastrophes and your Estate Plan

From the tornados that ripped through Alabama and Missouri just last month and the two catastrophic fires currently raging in south-eastern Arizona, Mother Nature has not been too kind lately.  And as hurricane season has officially begun, coastal cities hope they're not added to the casualty list.  Natural disasters like this serve as an apt metaphor and constant reminder of the importance of proper estate planning.

It is very hard to predict the exact time and severity of a natural disaster, so it is always important to be prepared.  Similarly, you just won't know when life's "tornado" will affect you and your loved ones, so taking the steps to create and execute an estate plan is also an important part in preparing for your future.

Many people have been lucky to survive these recent catastrophes, but still countless others have been injured and left disabled.  Disability planning is another crucial component in an effective estate plan.  Special needs trusts, health care directives, and powers of attorney are just a few of planning tools that most people overlook, to their peril, even if they do have an estate plan.

Also, because natural disasters--and any tragedies in life--are so unpredictable, it is imperative that you keep your plan up to date.  We recommend that you enroll in a formal maintenance program with your estate planning professional.  As an alternative, you should review your plan with an estate planning attorney once every two years, and after a significant life change has occurred such as divorce or a new child.

Be prepared for the unexpected by ensuring that you have a thorough, effective estate plan in place before you get caught out in the rain.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June is Gay and Lesbian Pride Month!

Since 2000, June has been declared Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.  This designation is based on the principle that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) individuals should be able to live openly, without discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

At Kristel K. Patton, P.C., we believe that this is also a good time to consider estate planning needs that are unique to members of the LGBT community.  Certain legal documents, for example, should be drafted differently for LGBT individuals or couples (e.g., in states where a couple cannot be legally married.)  And still other documents take on added significance.

On this latter point, we advise all our LGBT clients to have us prepare advance healthcare directives, the legal documents needed in a hospital emergency to make sure one's healthcare wishes are honored.  We do this because we know that without these documents, our LGBT clients could be prevented from having the person of their choice as their medical decision-maker.

On a positive note, as mentioned in our previous blog post, there has been some recent legal progress on healthcare equality for LGBT folks:  As of last fall, hospitals are now required to permit all patients to have any visitor they choose, including a same-sex partner or other non-relative.  Nonetheless, if the patient can't speak for him or herself and hasn't put these wishes in writing, the door is still open for a family member to try to ban a same-sex partner and others from visiting at the very time when they are need most--at the patient's bedside.

At Kristel K. Patton, P.C., we also recognize that creating advance directives is not enough.  It's a known fact that most people do not carry these documents around with them.  And, it's also a known fact that they can be needed quickly, especially for an LGBT patient.  This is why we provide all our clients enrolled in our Empowered Legacy Planning process with membership in the DocuBank Healthcare Directives Registry, free of charge.  With this registry, a wallet card provides immediate access to our clients' healthcare directives 24/7/365, so that documentation can be produced and the wishes of each of our clients can be protected at a moment's notice.

It's also worth noting that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) recently announced its new status as an LGBT Affiliate of DocuBank.  The largest LGBT civil rights organization in the nation, HRC has team up with this registry to help its members ensure that they can produce the legal proof of their wishes when it counts.