Law Office of Robert Firth - February 2020

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760-770-4066

FEBRUARY 2020

Turning a Blind Eye NowWill Blindside You Later Essential To-Dos

Howwould you feel if you accidentally gave your former spouse $30,000?

It actually happened. A client of mine reached out to informme his stepmother had passed away, but his stepmother and father had nothing in terms of estate planning. His father was quite ill, and it didn’t look like he was going to recover. After meeting with his father and preparing a living trust with all the supporting documents, my client watched his father sign the documents in his hospital room just two weeks before his father passed away. The good news is that we avoided probate on real estate and bank accounts. However, when my client went through his father’s papers, he discovered a life insurance policy dating back 30 years. But the policy beneficiary was listed as the father’s former wife of 20 years. She was still alive but living in a nursing home in Wyoming supported by state aid. So accordingly, the $30,000 benefit went to the state to reimburse them for providing care to this woman —most likely not what his father would have wanted. The moral of the story is clear: Check your beneficiaries! Double-checking your beneficiaries isn’t the only thing that should be on your to-do list. Taking five minutes to review some of those business or estate to-dos will save you and your family a lot of hassle in the future. Not doing this can obviously lead to some very disappointing results. For my living trust clients, the beginning of the year is an excellent time to review your documents. You may need to change your successor trustee or the named agents under your power of attorney. You may also need to update the beneficiary of your estate, which you can find in Article 6F of your living trust agreement. If you have bought any real estate that’s not in the name of the living trust, you will

If you have shareholders or a board of directors, then you are required to meet once a year and record the minutes of the session. If nothing significant has changed with the company, then a simple resolution needs to be added to the minute book. However, if you have acquired considerable debt, made management changes, and/or bought or sold assets, then you need to hold a session and record the minutes. I charge $300 to host the meeting and record the minutes. But if you have any questions or concerns, let’s talk over the phone to discuss your options. Don’t let 2020 get away from you. Take a few minutes to review all of your documents. Make sure they’re doing what they’re designed to do. If you find you need to update or make changes, call the office and set up an appointment. If you like the service I provide and have friends needing the same assistance, I always appreciate referrals. Happy Valentine’s Day and enjoy the beautiful Coachella Valley weather! Remember, you could always be living in aWisconsin winter like I used to until I discovered this place!

need to prepare a deed transferring the property to the trust and place the deed with your trust. If you have refinanced your property, it was likely taken out of your living trust but not put back in after the new deed of trust was recorded. If you don’t correct this now for minimal expense, it will cost about $3,500 to correct this problemwhen you die. All of your deeds and records can be found in the back of your trust documents book in a plastic sleeve. Have you retitled your bank accounts? Did you open any bank accounts not in the name of your living trust? If your financial accounts are not all in the name of the living trust, then you need to rectify that as soon as possible. I also can’t stress enough the importance of reviewing the death beneficiaries of your life insurance policies, your annuities, and your retirement plans. Small-business owners who have corporations or LLCs need to file a statement of information with California’s secretary of state. This is required once a year, and it’s easy to do online. If no significant changes have been made to your company, then check a box off on the government website, and you’re done!

-Robert L. Firth

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Meet Conan THE DOG WHO HELPED TAKE DOWN AL-BAGHDADI

“To me, they’re the first line of defense,” United States War Dogs Association President Ron Aiello told Vox after the news about Conan came out. “They’re such a great asset to our military today.” Military dogs are put up for adoption after 6–8 years in the service, which means a lucky civilian could take Conan in as early as 2022! Meanwhile, dozens of other smart canine heroes are looking for homes. To learn more about military and other working dog adoptions, visit MissionK9Rescue.org.

In college, arriving late to class might earn you a stern look from your professor, and turning in homework late normally results in a docked grade. For one student, however, these actions resulted in veneration from the academic community and a story that has become legend. George Dantzig, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, arrived late for a graduate statistics class one day in 1939. He saw that his professor, Jerzy Neyman, had written two problems on the board, and guessing they were the homework assignment, he wrote them down to solve later. A few days later, Dantzig delivered his answers to Professor Neyman. He apologized for turning them in late, remarking that they seemed more difficult than usual. When Neyman told him to just throw the answers on his desk, Dantzig reluctantly did so, fearing his homework would be lost forever in the sea of papers already there. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Six weeks later, Neyman went to Dantzig’s house and excitedly asked him to read the introduction he had written on one of Dantzig’s papers. Of course, Dantzig had no idea what he was talking about. Over the course of the conversation, however, he found out that the two difficult problems he had thought were homework were actually examples of famous unsolved statistical proofs — and Dantzig had solved them! On Oct. 28 last year, President Donald Trump tweeted a photo that quickly went viral. It showed an adorable snapshot of a bright-eyed Belgian Malinois, tongue lolling, still wearing its camo military vest. In the caption, President Trump explained that the pup, Conan, was a national hero who was instrumental in taking down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. With four years in special operations forces and roughly 50 missions under his collar, Conan was selected to be part of the team that pursued al-Baghdadi through a network of underground tunnels in northwest Syria, where the terrorist ultimately died. It’s unclear whether Conan was there to track al-Baghdadi or to spot improvised explosive devices that may have been planted on the route, but either way, he performed well. According to NBC News, Conan was injured by some live electrical cables during the mission, but he recovered quickly and was back on duty within the week. Meanwhile, President Trump invited the brave pup to the White House and tweeted out a doctored photo that showed him awarding Conan a Medal of Honor. President Trump captioned the photo “AMERICAN HERO!” and he’s not alone in his appreciation for the hardworking dogs that have been helping our military since WorldWar II.

Solving the Unsolvable THE BEST CONSEQUENCE EVER FOR ARRIVING LATE TO CLASS

Neyman published the first of the two proofs soon after. Then, a year later when Dantzig was struggling to decide on his doctoral thesis topic, his professor just shrugged and told him to wrap the two problems in a binder. Neyman said he would accept them as his thesis. Dantzig’s story has been retold in various versions over the years often as an illustration of what a person is capable of when they think positively. After all, Dantzig may not have solved these proofs if he believed they were “unsolvable!” However, even though some versions might lean more toward urban legend, it’s still an impressive story of the best consequence a student ever received for arriving to class and turning in homework late.

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TAKE A BREAK

FROM ZERO TO 300 Meet the Women Who Pioneered Motor Sports

While Danica Patrick and Courtney Force are well known as modern faces in motor sports, they’re far from the first women to cross the finish line. Since the early 1900s, women have been a constant fixture of automotive racing, including the following three who each left their marks on the sport.

SHIRLEY MULDOWNEY Shirley Muldowney is professionally known in the drag racing community as “The First Lady of Drag Racing.” In 1973, she was the first woman to earn a Top Fuel license from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and, despite backlash from competitors, went on to win the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series an unprecedented

three times. Twentieth Century Fox documented her trials and accomplishments in the 1983 biopic

“Heart Like a Wheel.”Muldowney famously loathed her own characterization but still lauded the film as required viewing for anyone interested in the sport of drag racing. JANET GUTHRIE Janet Guthrie had her sights set on the stars from day one. A skilled aerospace engineer, she began her racing career in 1963. After taking home two class wins in the famed 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race, Guthrie became a well-known figure among racing gurus. In 1976, she became the first woman to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series when she finished 15th in the Coca-Cola 600, then called theWorld 600. To date, Guthrie’s storied career has landed her in the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, and the Automotive Hall of Fame. DOROTHY LEVITT Dorothy Levitt is known for her driving skills on both land and water, setting the first water speed record and an early women’s world land speed record. Her motor racing career started slow in 1904 due to illness and various car troubles, but Levitt eventually went on to garner a reputation for her speed and earn the nickname “The Fastest Girl on Earth.”When she wasn’t racing, she spent her time writing. In her book “The Woman and the Car,” Levitt recommended that women carry a small mirror with them for driving in traffic, effectively inventing the rearview mirror five years before they went into production. If you want to learn more about these women and others in motor racing, pick up Todd McCarthy’s book “Fast Women: The Legendary Ladies of Racing.”

EASY SHRIMP SCAMPI

Make date night simple with this easy shrimp scampi recipe.

Ingredients

1/2 tsp oregano

4 tbsp butter

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tbsp minced garlic

8 oz cooked linguine

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup parsley

Directions

1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 2. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring frequently until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp from skillet. 3. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. 4. Stir in remaining butter and olive oil and cook until butter is melted. 5. Add cooked shrimp to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 6. In a serving bowl, top cooked linguine with shrimp mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve. Inspired by The Blond Cook

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68910 Adelina Rd. Cathedral City, CA 92234

760-770-4066 FirthLaw.com

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1

Essential To-Dos to Avoid Disappointment Later

Meet the Dog Who Helped Take Down al-Baghdadi The World’s Hardest Homework Assignment

2

Easy Shrimp Scampi Fearless Women Who Pioneered Motor Sports

3

4

A Slippery Crime

STEALING MISS HELEN ‘OCEAN’S 3’ ATTEMPT A HIGH-STAKES HEIST

The Animal Welfare Act, which was adopted in 1966, is the only federal law that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Interestingly, it only applies to warm-blooded animals, so if Miss Helen had needed further protection, she would be left out in the cold.

The aquarium staff was grateful to have Miss Helen back unharmed, despite her ordeal. “She’s a tough little horn shark, I’ll tell you that,” affirmed Jamie Shank, the assistant husbandry director at the aquarium. NO MINOR CRIME While many animal lovers might disagree, animals are considered personal property, so stealing them is a crime of theft, not kidnapping. The penalties for stealing animals vary depending on each state’s laws, and some states have specific laws regarding animal theft. In Texas, larceny law designates the theft of property valued between $1,500–$20,000 as a felony. In the case of Miss Helen, who’s valued by the aquarium at $2,000, the thieves committed a felony. Also, transporting certain animals requires special permits, which led to additional charges against the three thieves.

On a hot summer day in late July 2018, three people entered Miss Helen’s home, forcibly removed her, put her in a stroller, and ran toward their getaway vehicle. This might sound like a typical kidnapping story, but Miss Helen is no ordinary person. She is a 16-inch horn shark living at the San Antonio Aquarium. Fortunately, their fishy behavior didn’t go unnoticed, and someone alerted the aquarium staff. One perpetrator drove away with Miss Helen in tow, but the other two were stopped by aquarium staff, later confessing to their involvement. Thanks to some observant witnesses and aquarium surveillance, police were able to identify the third thief and obtain a warrant to search his house. As it turned out, he had an extensive aquarium in his home and possibly hoped to add Miss Helen to his collection. After being identified, Miss Helen was returned home safely.

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