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October 14, 2019

5 Ways to Be a Better Caregiver When a Loved One Gets Sick

Did you know, more than 40 million Americans are caring for a loved one, whether it be an elderly parent or another family member. No one is ever prepared to become a caregiver. Caregiving is often a full-time job, yet many people who are caring for a loved one find they must continue to work to pay their own bills.

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September 23, 2019

What is a MOST Form and Do I Need One?

MOST is an acronym for “medical orders for scope of treatment” and is specific to New Mexico. A MOST form is a great tool for outlining patients’ wishes for medical interventions and end-of-life care when individuals have a serious or life-threatening illness. It consists of a set of medical orders which are integrated into the patient’s medical record and are

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July 29, 2019

What Happens to My Debt When I Die?

I have a classic lawyer answer to this question- it depends.  Here are some factors to consider when thinking about this question: Do you co-own the debt with another person? Is it a joint credit card with your spouse?  Did your parents co-sign the loan with you? If so, that person may continue to have an obligation to pay the

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November 2, 2018

Final Regulations Applicable to Eligibility for VA Needs-Based Benefits

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) proposed new regulations in 2015 regarding net worth, asset transfers, and income exclusions for needs-based VA benefits. These regulations have been finalized and are effective as of October 18, 2018. A couple of the most significant changes are highlighted below: New bright-line evaluation of net worth; New 36-month look-back period for asset transfers.

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July 11, 2018

Swedish Death Cleaning

A client of mine recently brought up “Swedish Death Cleaning,” which is a concept that is trending with the fairly recent release of a book entitled The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson. I had not heard of it, but I was curious because of

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June 13, 2018

The Attorney-Client Privilege: When Does It Exist?

Much is talked about in the legal world about the “attorney-client privilege” and what exactly it entails.  The rules of evidence are lengthy and complicated.  Law students devote countless hours trying to figure them out and lawyers and judges routinely debate their applicability and relevance in the courtroom.  The attorney-client privilege belongs to the client.  Only the client can waive

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March 21, 2018

Who Should I Appoint As My Fiduciary?

As part of a comprehensive estate plan, each one of us should appoint fiduciaries to act on our behalf in the event that we are no longer able to do so during life or at our death.  Simply appointing a spouse, child, sibling, or good friend may not be the right choice in all situations. What many people do not

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March 7, 2018

What is a Fiduciary?

A fiduciary is an individual or an entity in whom someone has placed significant confidence and trust to manage his or her financial and/or personal affairs either during their lifetime or after their death.  The fiduciary has a legally enforceable obligation and duty to act in the best interest of the person(s) the fiduciary serves.  Common examples of fiduciaries are:

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February 16, 2018

Intra-Family Conflict After Death – It Can Be Expensive

We all hear horror stories about siblings becoming estranged after the death of a parent because they couldn’t agree about who should get their mom’s teapot.  Unfortunately, most estate planning and probate attorneys can tell you these stories have a basis in fact.  What you might not realize is that those family conflicts can also become incredibly expensive.  It is

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February 2, 2018

Serving the Public Good

Lawyers have an ethical responsibility to provide pro bono services to indigent or other deserving clients.  Rule 16-601 says that a lawyer should aspire to at least 50 pro bono publico (“for the public good”) legal services per year.  “For the public good” means undertaking professional work voluntarily and without payment. Recently in Albuquerque, the guardianship and conservatorship community was

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October 23, 2017

Reverse Mortgages – What Are They and Are They Right For You?

What is a reverse mortgage? Created in 1989 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, a reverse mortgage is a home-equity loan for homeowners that are aged 62 or older. A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner to access the equity in their home, by turning equity into tax free cash. The homeowner does not have to make a

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September 28, 2016

Reflections on a Law Firm

A little over eight years ago four lawyers of diverse background and experience decided to open a law firm. Each of us had personal reasons for making a change but important to all of us was a belief that we could find a way to practice law differently, in an environment that encouraged collaboration and mutual trust.  We wanted a

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February 17, 2016

Elevator Pitch

It happened again last Friday, at a Starbucks. Someone asked me what kind of law I practice. No matter how many times I am asked that simple question, I panic. I’ve never been able to come up with an effective elevator speech (a clear, brief message about what one does for a living, typically about 30 seconds, the time it

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October 8, 2015

Aid in Dying in New Mexico

No, New Mexico does not allow physician Aid in Dying…yet. This is a controversial and extremely polarized subject. Where some consider physician Aid in Dying to be assisted suicide, others look at it as opportunity to die with dignity. Oregon was the pioneer in Aid in Dying legislation, adopting the Death With Dignity Act in 1997. Since then, Aid in

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February 8, 2011

Why do we Worry About a Conflict of Interest?

In our law practice, we represent family members.  When we are retained, it often has something to do with our client’s relationship with his or her family.  Families are organic and they have systemic issues that date back for many years.  We work very hard to design solutions to problems that aim at strengthening relationships in families, but sometimes, that

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January 17, 2011

What My Family Should Know

My adult daughter asked me once what medications I was taking.  I told her that I took two prescription medicines.  She asked me what they were and what they were for.  I told her that one was a medicine for hypertension and that the name started with a B, and the other was for high cholesterol, and the name of

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