Monthly Archives: June 2020

Returning To The Office: Our COVID-19 Policies

As we work toward reopening our office in the coming weeks, I would like to share our updated COVID-19 policy.  Beginning the week of June 22, 2020, we will be booking a limited number of in-office document signing appointments; the week of July 5, 2020 we will resume normal office hours.  We will continue to serve clients who prefer phone and Zoom conference remotely for consultations and other applicable appointments.  My staff and I appreciate your patience as we navigate through this time and would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation.

DEBRA ROBINSON LAW GROUP COVID-19 OFFICE POLICY

The safety of our clients, our staff, and visitors to the office is of paramount importance during this time. Therefore, we will observe the following precautions in accordance with CDC guidelines in order to maintain a healthy work environment and we expect all staff and visitors to adhere to these precautions:

  1. Any attorney or staff member experiencing symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea should immediately report those symptoms to Debra Robinson (whether or not the symptoms occur at the office) and follow CDC recommended precautions.
  2. Attorneys or staff who have a sick family member at home should immediately notify Debra Robinson and follow CDC recommended precautions.
  3. Attorneys and staff should report any contact with persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  4. DRLG will provide a forehead thermometer to check temperatures. Attorney and staff temperatures will be checked on their first entry into the suite each day, or if they report feeling ill. Any person with a temperature of 100.4 F or greater will not be allowed entry and/or will be required to leave the suite.
  5. Social distancing will be practiced within the firm, including the following:
    • All attorneys and staff with offices will be required to keep their doors closed when they are in their offices.
    • Face coverings will be required of all attorneys and staff when not in their assigned offices, including when they enter and exit the suite.
    • All attorneys and staff will practice social distancing outside the office and wear a cloth face covering when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Wearing a cloth face covering, however, does not replace the need to practice social distancing.
  1. Everyone in the suite should remain six (6) feet apart at all times.
  2. All attorneys and staff should wash their hands with soap and water frequently and/or use hand sanitizer. DRLG will provide soap and water in the kitchen and hand sanitizer at strategic locations within the suite. Hands should be washed or sanitized often.
  3. All surfaces shall be disinfected immediately following interaction with a person who is not a DRLG attorney or staff member. In addition, surfaces in the office shall be disinfected as often as possible.
  4. Attorneys and staff should avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or work tools and equipment, when possible. If not possible, they should be cleaned and disinfected before and after each use.

DEBRA ROBINSON LAW GROUP CLIENT POLICY

  1. If you are experiencing COVID- 19 systems such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea, PLEASE CALL TO CANCEL YOUR APPOINTMENT.
  2. Please wear a mask at all times while in our office. If you do not have a mask, we will provide one.  Hand sanitizer will be available upon entry to the office, and at strategic locations throughout the office.  Please use the hand sanitizer upon entering the office.  Social distancing will be practiced within the firm.  Please try to remain six (6) feet apart from attorneys and staff.
  3. For clients coming to sign documents, we have arranged tables in our workshop room so that our attorneys and staff will be able to maintain the six (6) foot distance while assisting in the execution of your documents. We will provide you with a pen that has never been used, which you can either take with you when you leave, or we will dispose of it for you.

As always, we are here to serve you.  Please contact us at 770-817-4999 or at www.debrarobinsonlaw.com to schedule an appointment today.

The Sandwich Generation

For many Americans, the pressures of adjusting to the “new normal” extend far beyond personal responsibility.  The term “Sandwich Generation” was coined in the 1980s to describe the growing number of people in their 40s or 50s who are raising young or teenaged children, and at the same time serving as caregivers to their aging parents.  Members of the Sandwich Generation are the ones that children and parents rely on to handle all problems, from appointments with the pediatrician to appointments with the Alzheimer’s specialist, from finding a babysitter to finding a certified nursing assistant.

Many of those in the Sandwich Generation work full time or part time jobs, are responsible for maintaining a household, and deal with their caregiving duties on top of everything else.  Their to-do lists can be overwhelming, and they do their best to manage it all.

There is one responsibility, though,  that many Sandwich Generation members overlook: putting a plan in place to provide for their children and parents if something happened and the one who handles it all isn’t there to handle it anymore.

Too many people have no estate plan at all, and most who do might have a plan that creates a trust for their young children, but says nothing about Mom or Dad.  If you are responsible for caring for an aging parent, what would happen to them if you died?  If you are providing for them financially, shouldn’t you have an estate plan that makes sure they are comfortable in their old age?  If your parent is living with you, shouldn’t you make sure they’d still have a place to live if you weren’t there anymore?

Some parents do have enough financial resources to provide for themselves, but many are living on Social Security and maybe a small pension, and rely on their children to help cover their expenses.  If a child dies without a plan to provide for the parent, what happens?

Sandwich Generation members need to make sure that all the things they are doing for their children and their parents could still be done even if they are no longer there.

If you’re looking for an expert in helping you plan and protect your children and your parents, then we invite you to contact our office and schedule an appointment today. We can help develop the right estate plan for you and your needs to make sure you are able to take care of all your loved ones.

Pros and Cons of a Joint Account with Mom or Dad

In these uncertain times, many are exploring ways to help their loved ones ensure safety and security.  Adding a child to a bank account might seem like the perfect solution to safeguarding an elderly parent’s finances. Once added to the account as joint owner, the child can help with bill paying, and can monitor the account balance to control double payments or excessive gifts.  When the parent dies, the account passes to the surviving joint owner without requiring probate.

But there are down sides to adding a joint owner to a bank account that should be considered, and too often aren’t.  If the child added to the account has financial problems, the child’s creditors can access the funds in mom’s or dad’s account to satisfy the child’s debt.  In that circumstance, the decision to add a child to the account to make it easier to protect the parent’s money can result in the loss of the entire account.

Another down side to adding a joint owner that is often not considered is what happens when mom or dad dies if there are other children.  Under Georgia law, the child on the account as joint owner receives one hundred percent of the account.  Even if the parent has left a Will leaving everything equally to all the children, the other children will not receive a share of the joint account.  Of course, the child who receives the account is free to split the funds with the other children, but there is no legal requirement to do so.  If the joint owner chooses to keep all the funds, the decision to add that child to the account caused the other children to be disinherited and undid the parent’s intended estate plan.

If the risks to adding a child to the account as joint owner outweigh the benefits, there is another solution.  The parent can execute a Power of Attorney.  Georgia’s 2017 statutory power of attorney form includes provisions authorizing an agent to pay bills and manage bank accounts.

A properly executed Georgia Power of Attorney can accomplish the goal of safeguarding mom’s or dad’s account, without the possible legal risks.

Do you need to update your estate planning to ensure you have the proper documents to suit your needs? Reach out to schedule an appointment with our expert Estate Planning Attorneys.  Call us at (770) 817-4999 or click here to send us a message.