Law Office of Paul Black - January 2019


January 2019


A s we begin the new year, I am happy to announce that I am engaged! I proposed to my girlfriend, Nadia, from the top of Yonah Mountain last fall, and she made me the happiest guy in the world by saying yes! As we look to the future together, I now find myself practicing what I preach as an estate planner. At the time of writing, I have already picked up more life insurance and named my beneficiaries. I am young and healthy, so it may seem a little early for me to already be thinking

Nadia and my brother went to see if they could figure out the process, and I am

drop by a friend’s house even if I could not make the feast itself, so after I got my father to bed, I grabbed a bottle

sure they could have. But, as they opened up the door, they had a good laugh. True to form, I had anticipated that I may not be home during an outage and taped laminated instructions to the generator.

of wine and a dish apron and headed to my second holiday gathering of the evening. I always plan on being a good guest and helping out the host whenever I can, so I frequently volunteer to do the dishes and make sure I

I know most people are not planners; we are too busy living. But I speak from experience when I say even a little forethought can make a big difference down the road. I am lucky enough to work in a field

am equipped to do so. Well, this time, something unexpected happened. As I was scrubbing away, someone came to lend a helping hand. I had never met her before, but we really hit it off. That person was Nadia. While I had been prepared to do the dishes that night, I had not planned on meeting my future wife. But that is the funny thing about planning: The more prepared we are, be it dirty dishes or old age, the more time we will

about what I will leave behind when I am gone, but I have always been somewhat of a “pathological planner.”

that proves this to me every day. I myself have learned that preparing for the inevitable can open up opportunities you never expected.

If it was not for this planning instinct, I may not have met Nadia in the first place.

It is part of the reason I enjoy my work. While I do not expect to go anywhere anytime soon, I have learned time and again that it never hurts to be prepared.

In fact, if it was not for this planning instinct, I may not have met Nadia in the first place. It

have to enjoy the happy surprises that spring up along the way.

Just recently, a transformer blew up near our house. I had just had a generator installed but was not home to get it running the morning of the outage.

was Thanksgiving night, and I had just finished having a small dinner with my father and brother. I had been invited to

-Paul Black

Do you have estate planning or elder law-related questions? Write to me at with Asked and Answered in the subject line. Your identity will be kept confidential. The opinions offered in this column are not intended to replace or substitute any financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. | 1

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Make Your Savings Last

When it comes to retirement and finances, there is enough material about saving to fill a library. You see commercials on TV showing one tiny domino gradually becoming a massive tower, you hear advice from coworkers and family members, and you read books and articles on the topic. Much less attention, however, is paid to how to spend those savings once you are actually retired, even though it is a significant part of the equation. After all, it does not matter how much you save if you blow it all in a year. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you begin chipping away at that nest egg. HOW MUCH TO SPEND The easiest way to budget for your retirement is with a level spending plan. In this system, you simply estimate how many years your retirement will last and divide

your savings by that number. It is better to make a generous estimate rather than a conservative one. A survey of financial planners conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) found that outliving savings is the No. 1 concern of those approaching retirement. Underestimating your life span is an easy way for this fear to come true. Of course, a level spending plan assumes that your financial needs will not change over the course of your retirement. If you are the type of person who regularly meets and exceeds your budgeting goals, you can probably make it work. If not, you may want to consider a plan that allocates more money with each passing year of retirement. In the event of increased medical costs or other later-life expenses, an escalating plan provides a financial safety net.

WHAT TO SPEND ON Some of your spending choices will come down to personal preference and interests, but you might be surprised to learn that one category of spending consistently proves more fulfilling than others. Professor Michael Finke of The American College surveyed nearly 1,500 retirees and found that spending money on leisure activities and experiences caused the lowest rate of regret. Finke calls this “social spending” and surmises that it is favored because it encourages older adults to get out into the world and enjoy their retirements. There is no perfect plan for how to spend your savings during retirement. But there is one very wrong way to go about it, and that is mindlessly. However you choose to spend your savings, make sure you have a plan.

Asked and Answered: A Legal Advice Column

Dear Paul,

Dear Waitin’,

do not give up. Rather, consult with an attorney who specializes in insurance coverage disputes. (I am happy to provide a referral to a great one). This attorney will evaluate all of the policy details, facts, and applicable law. If the attorney thinks you have a potential case, he or she will probably take it on a contingency fee basis and be paid a percentage of the

My father died in November, and we just found out that his life insurance policy ($100,000 payable to my mother) lapsed the month before he died (October) due to nonpayment. He paid his premium by check every month and simply did not pay the most recent monthly premium. My mother was counting on the insurance policy proceeds to pay for his funeral, pay off the mortgage on their house and other debts, and supplement her savings. Do we have any hope of collecting on this policy?

Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 33-35-3) requires a grace period of at least 30 days for a policyholder to pay an overdue life insurance premium. If your father died before this grace period was over, you should contact the insurer and explain the situation to them. The insurer should honor the policy and pay. In contrast, if your father died after this 30-day grace period had already passed, the life insurance company’s position is going to be that you cannot reinstate a life insurance policy for a decedent (which is true), and that the insurer has no obligation to pay the policy proceeds (which may or may not be true). If you find yourself in this situation,

proceeds if the claim is paid. Even then, be prepared for a wait: Some companies will want to settle such claims quickly. Others will fight at every step such that it might be years before

your mother is able to recover any proceeds.

–Waitin’ in Clayton

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LISTEN TO SOMETHING NEW The Best Podcasts to Start in 2019

Though podcasts have been around for over a decade, they have only recently found their stride in popular culture. And they do not all feature nerds talking about “Game of Thrones.” In this form of audio entertainment, there really is something for everyone. A number of podcasts have broken into mainstream pop culture, like “My Favorite Murder,” “This American Life,” and NPR’s “Planet Money.” But these are only the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few lesser-known podcasts that are seriously worth your time. START SOMETHING FUN: ‘SPIRITS’ The title “Spirits” is a play on the stories told and drinks enjoyed on this podcast. Co-hosts Amanda McLoughlin and Julia Schifini offer a fresh take on myths, legends, and folklore. From Greek classics to the tale of the Javanese Mermaid Queen, these lifelong friends and mythology enthusiasts examine what the stories we tell say about our culture, traditions, and values. If you are eager to fill your year with something kinda creepy and kinda cool, you cannot go wrong with “Spirits.” Start listening at GO ON AN ADVENTURE: ‘THE FAR MERIDIAN’ Audio dramas are back and thriving in the world of podcasts. “The Far Meridian” explores the story of Peri, a lighthouse keeper whose brother FRENCH TOAST Peanut Butter and Berry

disappeared long ago. Peri is terrified of leaving her home, so she is never discovered what happened to him. That changes when her lighthouse begins to appear in a new location every morning, initiating her search for her brother. Fantastically fun and painfully real, this is a story about the courage it takes to leave home behind. Join the girl in the lighthouse at


We all need some advice. Why not get it from someone who knows what they are talking about? Marie Forleo is an entrepreneur, writer, and philanthropist. And according to Oprah, she is a thought leader for the next generation. Her mission is to help you become the person you most want to be. On the podcast, Marie and her guests discuss business, relationships, fear, love, and so much more. Get inspired at This list is just a start to the wealth of amazing, diverse podcasts out there. News recaps, sports history, true crime, pop-culture throwbacks, and plenty more fantastic audio entertainment awaits on your phone’s podcast app. Start listening to your new obsession today!

Inspirational Moment


• • • • • • • • • •

8 slices brioche, 1/2-inch thick 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 large eggs

1/8 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups cornflakes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups mixed berries

Powdered sugar, to sprinkle Maple syrup, for serving


1. On a large baking sheet

4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Once melted and up to temperature, add sandwiches, cooking on one side until golden and crisp, about 2–3 minutes. 5. Return sandwiches to baking sheet, add remaining butter, and repeat on other side. 6. Top sandwiches with berries, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve with maple syrup.

lined with wax paper, place 4 slices of brioche and spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on each. Cover with remaining slices, creating sandwiches. 2. In a pie plate, beat eggs with cream and vanilla. In another, coarsely crush the cornflakes. 3. Lightly soak sandwiches in the egg mixture, then dredge in cornflakes, pressing to adhere. Return to baking sheet.

Inspired by Delish | 3

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Decatur Office Location: Main Location One West Court Square, Suite 750 | Decatur, Georgia 30030



Planning for New Beginnings



Spending Tips for Older Adults

Asked and Answered


My Favorite Podcasts

Peanut Butter and Berry French Toast


Enjoy Olmsted Linear Park


A HIDDEN GEM Enjoy This Natural Atlantan Treasure

This month, we are focusing on a Georgia treasure that is close to home for our Atlanta readers: Olmsted Linear Park. Nestled between Druid Hills and Ponce Avenue, thousands of Atlantans drive past this incredible park every day without giving it a second thought. Whether you live in the metro area or are planning to visit, we strongly recommend you take the time to walk through this hidden gem.

the worries of the workday. Living in the late 19th century, when industrialization threatened to swallow up natural spaces and strip away the rights of working people, Olmsted was an early proponent of conservationism. Olmsted believed it was important to preserve nature within cities. He reasoned that, this way, people from all walks of life could enjoy moments of peace and tranquility, not just those wealthy enough to venture out into the countryside. It is no wonder Olmsted is considered the father of the American Parks system, having worked on many green spaces throughout the country, including Central Park!

In truth, Olmsted Linear Park is six distinct parks strung together, forming a 45-acre oasis amongst the urban sprawl. Taken together, visitors are treated to a landscape in transition, from rolling pastoral dells in the west to a densely wooded old growth forest in the east. Between the ancient oaks and the steady pitter-patter of a nearby stream, it is easy to forget that downtown Atlanta is a stone’s throw away. And that is exactly what the park’s architect intended. Frederick Law Olmsted, for whom the space is named, wanted this stretch of nature to be a place where people could unwind and forget

So why not enjoy this historic piece of Georgian history? It connects to many other public attractions, including the Fernbank Museum, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. The park’s trails are ADA-compliant and open to the public from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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