March 20 marks the first day of spring, and with it comes spring- cleaning. Many people are busy cleaning and organizing their homes as they prepare for spring and summer activities. I’ve found that, even over the past year, a lot of things can start to pile up. Being an attorney and working in a law firm, our paperwork tends to pile up like nobody’s business. To stay organized, my team and I make sure to go through all our documents to see what we need to keep and what we can properly dispose of. Truthfully, we never throw out much, if any, of our paperwork; instead, we focus on making sure the documents are in order. I also take time to assess the past year and decide where the firm can grow. It’s important to try and up your game when it comes to practicing law. It’s crucial to refresh and look at the practice to see where you succeeded and if there are any areas that need work. Cleaning up the habits I’ve developed, the forms I use, and the way I do certain things benefits my clients.
And the good news is that when you’re a smaller firm like we are, you can make these adjustments without worrying about stepping too much on anyone else’s toes. Many people don’t have to worry about the organization process that goes on within a firm — their focus is a little closer to home. Spring is a great time to open your windows and let in a nice breeze while you tackle a cleaning project you normally wouldn’t do. This is also one of the best times to go through any legal documents you have and get them organized and ready for the rest of this year. One document I would highly recommend looking over is your insurance coverage. After you go through the process of getting coverage, you probably won’t think about it until you need it, which usually isn’t until after you’ve been involved in an accident. There’s a lot that can happen between when you first signed up and now; laws change, people get married, cars come and go, and houses are purchased. Taking a look at the coverage you have compared to how much you should have is essential for yourself, your assets, and your family. Besides insurance, it is also a great time to look through your other legal assets and documents such as your retirement savings and estate plan. If you’re still building a retirement fund, now is a good time to look over how much you’ve saved so far and how much you still need so you can adjust accordingly. Updating your estate plan is equally important. Make sure you review your trust, living will, will, and power of attorney documents to ensure they’re taken care of and include exactly what you want. Whether you’re cleaning your home, going through important documents, or both, I hope you all have a productive spring- cleaning this year!
– Barry G. Doyle
When retirement approaches, you may be thinking about the freedom you’ll enjoy after putting in your last nine-to-five. It’s a culmination of years of hard work and a cause for celebration! Before you get to celebrate, though, it’s important to consider what kind of support you might need down the road. With our generation living longer than our parents, there’s a possibility that we may require additional support services. You and your spouse may not know if either of you will need in-home care, but considering this possibility and the financial factors that come with it can help you better enjoy this exciting phase of your life. In most cases, neither Medicare or Medicaid covers in-home care. There are some exceptions, like home- and community-based services that are state and locally funded and cover those who qualify through Medicaid. If you or your spouse are veterans and meet the requirements, you may be eligible for aid and attendance benefits. These benefits are paid for by the VA in addition to a veteran’s monthly pension. It may cover the costs of in-home care for veterans who require the aid of another person or are housebound. Visit Benefits.va.gov to learn more.
Still, you may not want to rely on qualifying for one of these services. Consider adapting your estate plan to include designated in-home care. Meet with your attorney to review your living trust and see if it addresses a caregiver. Talk to your family members and loved ones about the possibility that you or your spouse may need this service. While a family member may offer to step into that role, consider how easily they will be able to carry it out. Even a part- time caregiver could provide you with support and make your family members feel like they are not doing it alone. Planning for the possibility that you may need in-home care services can help make your retirement even more enjoyable. Knowing you’ll have a close helping hand can ease your family’s worries and even strengthen your bond.
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People often think that if they receive a ticket after a traffic accident, they are at fault for it, but that’s not necessarily true. Illinois law states that a traffic ticket will only come into play if the individual who receives it after the accident pleads guilty to those charges. For example, if you receive a ticket after an accident and plead not guilty, the ticket won’t count as evidence even if you’re convicted in a traffic court hearing. However, keep in mind that the ticket is still considered by the insurance company when determining which driver was at fault.
evidence if there’s ever a trial. Keep in mind that the charges that relate to the actual cause of the accident are what truly matter. If you and another party are involved in an accident and the other driver receives the ticket, take the time to show up to a traffic court hearing. When you’re present, the proceedings move forward on the traffic ticket, and there’s always a reasonable chance that the other driver’s going to plead guilty to the charges recorded in the ticket. This allows the ticket to act as evidence in a later civil case. When the charges after a traffic accident are substantial, it is worthwhile to consult with a traffic ticket lawyer to address those charges.
Pleading not guilty to the charges ensures that the ticket you were issued will never act as
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 small bone-in chicken thighs
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
12 radishes, halved
4 large carrots, cut into sticks
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper
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1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown in pan for 6–7 minutes per side.
The “Fighting For What’s Right” radio show can be heard every Saturday at 6 a.m. on WYLL-AM 1160 Chicago and at 8 a.m. on WIND-AM 560 Chicago.
3. Remove chicken from pan and scrape off excess fat. Add broth and stir in radishes, carrots, and sugar. 4. Return chicken to pan, placing on top of vegetables. Gently simmer with lid on pan for 15–20 minutes. Finish with chives.
Episodes can be found at www.FightingForWhatsRight.com or the Fighting For What’s Right YouTube Channel.
Recipe inspired by Real Simple
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These items may be unsafe to sell, costly to ship, or impossible to refurbish effectively. When a charity regularly receives items they cannot use, they have to spend hours of manpower sorting through things that end up in the trash anyway. This process can be expensive for organizations with already-strained resources. Some local charities spend over $1,000 a year on dumpster and trash removal fees for unusable donations. While charities will have no choice but to throw unusable donations in the trash, there are services you can use to make your spring-cleaning eco-friendly, even for items you can’t donate. For example, if you have torn or stained blue jeans, reach out to Blue Jeans Go Green. This program keeps denim out of landfills by turning it into insulation. And while Goodwill can’t take your batteries or old flip phone, you can check out Call2Recycle.org to learn how to safely recycle your e-waste.
Spring is in the air, and it’s time to celebrate with another round of spring-cleaning. Banish the clutter and make room in your life for something new! Many charities see a sharp increase in donations as spring-cleaning season starts. Donating your used books, kids’ toys, and gently worn clothing allows your old items to have a second life. However, when filling that donation box, make sure you’re donating each item because it can do good and not just because you feel bad about throwing it away. Charities have a big problem with well-meaning citizens dropping off items that are better left in the trash. There are many items charities simply cannot handle. Most charities will have lists of items they can and cannot accept on their websites. Some items that you should not donate include:
Tangled cords or phone chargers
Loose remote controls
Any broken, damaged, or dirty items
Your donations can be a big help to local charities. Just don’t “donate” your garbage.
Personal care items, like soap, shampoo, or makeup
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