Keystone Law Firm - March 2023

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Trust Matters MARCH 2023


Become More Productive This March It Starts With Goal Setting

We’re always looking for ways to be more productive. We may be implementing new strategies at work to streamline our daily tasks or cut down on the time it takes to do chores around the house. While productivity is crucial in nearly every aspect of our lives, we start to see a dip in it when March comes around each year. In March, many people start to burn out on their New Year’s resolutions, which halts their overall productivity. We can’t push ourselves to the brink during January and February and expect to keep up the same pace in the following months. It just becomes too much. That’s why I don’t set New Year’s resolutions in the first place. I’ve found it’s much more beneficial to my work style to set quarterly goals instead. When the new year arrives, I ask myself what I want to accomplish for January, February, and March. Then when March arrives, I take a moment to reflect on my goals. Hopefully, I’ve picked obtainable goals so I can accomplish them. Many make the mistake of setting goals that are too lofty or unrealistic, which is frustrating when they are unsuccessful. Another strategy that can help if you’re struggling to accomplish goals or finish projects is splitting them into smaller chunks. By completing smaller parts of the larger task, we re-energize ourselves to push forward with our goals. I set a goal this January to get more exercise so I can become more physically fit. I didn’t tell myself I needed to go to the gym every day and do a full-body workout. Instead, I committed myself to doing one little thing per day. It didn’t matter if it took me a few minutes or an hour; that daily physical activity motivated me to stick with it. It all comes back to giving yourself one win per day. Regarding estate planning, confusion often prevents people from being productive. I’ve talked to many people over the years who tell me they don’t know what to do regarding their wills, trusts, or estate plans. I always tell them three things to keep in mind for their estate plan. The first thing is that, in Arizona, just having a will is going to result in probate. That’s why we recommend living trusts for everyone. You can get this done almost anywhere, but remember that quality differences exist. The next thing to

remember is that you must know how to register everything you own in the name of that trust, which is a lot of work. It’s often easier to get help from professionals with this part of an estate plan. The final thing to keep in mind is something nobody wants to address, but it’s so important. After you have everything registered and your estate plan in order, you must commit to updating it yearly. Our situations change regularly, and we need to update our estate planning documents continually. We’re the only firm out there that takes care of this process for you and offers a guarantee for your lifetime. These three pieces of advice will help you manage your estate plan without confusion or frustration.

If you have any questions or need more information about estate planning, we’re here to help. Scan the QR code to be directed to our monthly webinars, or contact us directly for assistance!

-Francisco | 1

The Mac and Cheese Legal Debacle Can This Lawsuit Elbow Its Way to a Courtroom Win?

NPR reports that Ramirez’s lawsuit reaches beyond her kitchen and even beyond the state of Florida. It “looks to cover consumers in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, New Mexico, Alaska, Iowa, Tennessee, and Virginia who purchased the mac and cheese cups during the applicable statute of limitations period.” Over 100 people fall into that category, maybe including you!

Here’s a fun fact for you: In the fall of 2022, a woman in Florida sued food giant Kraft Heinz — all because it took her a few extra minutes to prepare her mac and cheese. This may sound like a made-up plot straight out of “The Onion,” but it’s true! The woman’s name is Amanda Ramirez, and according to National Public Radio, she’s suing Kraft Heinz for $5 million over its “misleading advertising.” What exactly misled her? Well, Kraft’s cup of Velveeta Shells & Cheese claims it will be “ready in 3 1/2 minutes” — when in fact, that’s just the microwave time.

Does Ramirez stand a chance? It’s hard to say. NPR reports that her legal team expects Kraft to try to get the case dismissed,

but the U.S. does have a history of successful lawsuits against misleading advertising by food companies. According to NBC News, a class- action lawsuit filed over a non-GMO advertising campaign cost Chipotle $6.5 million in 2020. And just last spring, a Florida attorney went to bat against Burger King, claiming its Whoppers were smaller than advertised. As we write this, the mac and cheese fiasco is still unresolved — but you can bet we’ll be watching the news. We may even chow down on a bowl of Velveeta Shells while we do it!

Apparently, Ramirez felt betrayed when it took her slightly more than 3 1/2 minutes to peel the lid off

the container and add water to the noodles. Her outrage only climbed as she waited for her pasta’s cheese sauce to thicken after 3 1/2 minutes of staring at the microwave window. Before long, she was steaming over the notion that she’d been ripped off by a greedy manufacturer intent on selling false convenience.

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What does parental alienation look like? Imagine you’re running five minutes late to pick up your child, and your ex tells them “Daddy/Mommy is late because they don’t love you anymore” — a blatant lie. In this case, you would be the “target” parent and your ex would be the “alienating” parent manipulating your child. One parent can also alienate the other by spoiling their child with gifts and travel opportunities while maliciously pointing out that the other parent can’t or won’t do the same. According to TMZ, Jolie has accused Pitt of child abuse and he now has “little to no relationship” with their six kids. If Pitt is not a child abuser — as a judge’s award of 50/50 custody seems to indicate — this would be parental alienation. Alec Baldwin details his experience with what he calls parental alienation in his book, “A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce.” What can you do about it? The ABA reports that parental alienation has been recognized by lawyers, courts, and psychologists to varying degrees for at least 200 years. In many states, parental alienation is legally recognized, which means that proving it could impact your custody agreement. Other states don’t take parental alienation as seriously, so we recommend asking your family law attorney about your specific state and situation.

In the meantime, family lawyer Patricia Fersch offers this advice in Forbes: “Document everything in a diary — missed visits, alienating behavior in the presence of the child. Be consistent with your child no matter how they respond to you. Don’t abandon them.”

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VAN GOGH REINCARNATED? One-Eared Rescue Dog Becomes Master Painter

When a one-eared shelter dog in Connecticut struggled to find a new family last year, one of his caretakers had a wild idea: Why not teach him to paint? With help from TikTok and peanut butter, the aptly named Van Gogh became a social media star. “I’d seen TikTok videos of other dogs creating paintings, so why not Van Gogh?” Jaclyn Gartner, the founder of Happily Furever After Rescue, told The Washington Post. “He certainly had the name and the ear for it.” To leverage what she calls Van Gogh’s “fast and creative tongue,” Gartner covered small canvases in dollops of paint, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and slathered them in peanut butter. Then, she presented the treats to the boxer-pit bull mix. He quickly licked the canvases clean, creating his “art” along the way. According to the Post, Van Gogh’s first few paintings flopped — just like the work of the human artist Vincent Van Gogh, who didn’t become famous until after he died in 1890. This star rose thanks to Jo Van Gogh, the wife of his brother Theo, who advocated for his work after both Theo and Vincent passed away. You could say that Gartner was dog Van Gogh’s Jo because, like the original painter’s, the pup’s art staged a comeback! After his first “art show” drew just two guests, Gartner started auctioning off his paintings online. His abstract work like “Peacock Swirl” and a rendition of human Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” quickly raised more than $3,000 for Happily Furever After Rescue. As his reputation soared on social media, Van Gogh also found his forever home with shelter volunteer Jessica Starowitz. He now spends his days painting and lounging on the couch. You can follow his exploits on Instagram under the handle @officialvgdog.


Inspired by


• 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided • 1 cup cooked rice • 1/4 cup ketchup • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce • 1/4 tsp pepper • 1 lb lean (90%) ground beef • 1/4 lb Italian sausage

• 1 medium head cabbage • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided • 1 tbsp butter • 2 14.5-oz cans Italian stewed tomatoes • 4 garlic cloves, minced • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Directions 1. In a Dutch oven, cook cabbage in boiling water for 10 minutes; drain. Rinse in cold water; drain. Remove 8 large outer leaves; set aside. 2. In a large saucepan, sauté 1 cup onion in butter. Add tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3. In a large bowl, combine rice, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and remaining onion and salt. Crumble beef and sausage over mixture and mix. 4. Remove thick vein from cabbage leaves for easier rolling. Place 1/2 cup meat mixture on each leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll leaf to completely enclose filling. Place rolls seam side down in a skillet. Top with sauce. 5. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes longer or until a thermometer inserted reads 160 F. | 3



2701 W. QUEEN CREEK RD., #3 CHANDLER, AZ 85248


How to Boost Your Productivity



The Great Mac and Cheese Lawsuit of 2022


Classic Cabbage Rolls Meet Van Gogh, the Painting Dog

A Celebrity Problem You Could Face


Whether you follow celebrity gossip religiously or just like to scan the tabloids when you pass a newsstand, you’ve probably heard about the latest conflict between famous divorcees Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. A recent TMZ headline blared, “Brad Pitt Sources Say Angelina Has Poisoned Kids Against Him... She’s On a Hate Campaign.” These articles are chock-full of drama, but they also contain some legalese — specifically the phrase “parental alienation,” which journalists have applied to celebrities like Brad Pitt and Alec Baldwin and may even apply to you. If you’re divorced, have children, and aren’t on good terms with your partner, you should be on high alert for signs of parental alienation. What is parental alienation? According to a resource published by the American Bar Association (ABA), parental alienation is a “mental condition in which a child — usually one whose parents are engaged in a high-conflict separation The Scoop on Parental Alienation Do You Have This in Common With Brad Pitt?

or divorce — allies him or herself strongly with an alienating parent and rejects a relationship with the ‘target’ parent without legitimate justification.” In other words, a child can fall victim to parental alienation if one of their parents constantly paints the other in a bad light through comparisons, exaggeration, lies, and manipulation. This can be emotional, verbal, or even financial.

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