The Law Office of Paul Black - June 2020

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June 2020

What’s Your ‘Cinderella Man’ Story? THE NEED FOR MILK

In a crowded room, cameras and reporters surround American boxer James J. Braddock, who is about to fight against a world-class opponent Max Baer, who has killed two people in the ring. When reporters point out Braddock’s injuries and ask about his latest comeback to boxing, the boxer says, “This time around, I know what I’m fighting for.” “What’s that, Jimmy?” the reporter asks. Braddock replies, “Milk.” This is a scene in Ron Howard’s “Cinderella Man,” a biographical sports drama released in 2005 and one of the penultimate American Dream movies of the decade. Howard truly captures the stark contrast of despair and hope during the Great Depression when the future seemed bleak for many. The movie provides vast emotional context: No matter how wealthy or respected somebody seemed, the economic collapse tore everybody down. Perhaps this is why fewer stories during the Great Depression are as moving and inspiring as Braddock’s. Braddock had already been in car accidents and had broken his hand more than once by the time of his comeback in the ring. But the biggest challenge wasn’t boxing or the

Great Depression; it was dealing with both at the same time. Despite the rampant alcoholism, violence, and despair all around him, Braddock was resolute and maintained strong integrity through it all. When he couldn’t box after breaking his hand, he tirelessly worked three shifts at the docks, yet he still struggled to pay for heat and feed his kids. His drive to pay for essential staples, like milk, drove him toward boxing against world champions, even if it was life-threatening. I’ve been thinking about this movie a lot lately. We’re not hurting for food or trying to pay for heat like Braddock was, but with our current national crisis at hand, Braddock’s victories really are truly timeless. I’ve pulled my father out of assisted living so we can care for him at home. As newlyweds, we’ve faced challenges, but these also made us realize how important family is. One night, my father, wife, and I watched “Cinderella Man” together, and we all found it very powerful. As important as it is to stay aware of national developments, the news can be overwhelming. That’s why I check the news first thing in the morning and right before bed, but never in-between.

Like Braddock does in “Cinderella Man,” it’s important to remember what’s really worth fighting for. His response, “milk,” didn’t represent simply a fridge staple; it represented Braddock’s ability to feed his kids and achieve normalcy for the people he loved and cared for most. Right now, everybody needs milk. Normalcy is out the window, but the American Dream and ideology isn’t based on success only when society is doing well. It’s based on having a work ethic and the moral dignity to succeed beyond what anyone expects. No matter how difficult this test might be for us, our families are important. Many of us have looked out for each other: whether it’s through making masks, giving hand sanitizers to health care providers, buying groceries for neighbors, or donating to food banks. Let’s keep it up. And watch “Cinderella Man” if you have the chance. It’s a beautiful movie that’ll sit right in the hearts of millions right now. At least, I know it did for us. From all of us in my

family and in my practice, we hope you and yours stay healthy and safe out there.

-Paul Black

Do you have estate planning or elder law-related questions? Write to me at paul@georgia-estatelaw.com 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.

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ABOUT TO RETIRE? CONSIDER THESE LOW-RISK, HIGH-RETURN INVESTMENTS

As you age, it’s wise to make some changes in order to stay healthy, like your diet or your workout routine. Likewise, your portfolio should be adjusted to reduce risk and protect your financial health. After a bad turn in the market, it can take up to a decade to make your money back. If you want to retire in the next five years, then can you really afford that risk? Reducing your risk doesn’t necessarily mean missing out on high-return investments, though. Here are some low- risk, high-return investments to consider adding to your portfolio as you approach retirement. PEER-TO-PEER LENDING Otherwise known as P2P lending, this investment takes place online. Borrowers are matched

with investors for loans that benefit both parties — lending without the bank. Your risk and potential returns depend entirely on which loans you choose to invest in. The two most popular P2P lending platforms are Lending Club and Prosper, and you can start investing in either platform with as little as $25. REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS When you invest in real estate investment trusts (REIT), you’re investing in mortgages or direct equity positions in various properties. When the stock market is in decline, REITs are a good investment because they’re not corrected with stock exchanges. Plus, their yield is usually higher than the dividends investors get from stocks.

FIXED INDEXED ANNUITIES When it comes to low-risk, high-return investments, fixed indexed annuities (FIA) are the most attractive option for retirees. In 2018, renowned economist professor Roger Ibbotson conducted research into the return history of inflation, U.S. Treasury bills, government bonds, FIAs, and stocks. Unsurprisingly, stocks offered the highest returns historically, but Ibbotson was surprised to find FIAs came in second, beating out bonds and conventional wisdom. Historically, these investments have produced great returns for individuals who are in retirement or who are about to retire. However, remember that everyone’s circumstances are different. Before making any changes to your portfolio, talk to your financial planner about your options.

Asked and Answered: A Legal Advice Column

Dear Paul, I discovered during my mother’s recent hospitalization for the coronavirus that the health care decision- making document that I thought empowered me to make health care decisions for her had been replaced by a new document (!) that had already finalized her wishes such that I had no say. Mom is now back home and we are grateful for her continued recovery, but she and I have a burning question for you: Can you please explain the difference between a Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment and the Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care? –Counting Our Blessings Dear Counting Our Blessings, I am so glad to read that your mother is faring well. To answer your shared question, the Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care has been around since July 2007. It simply combines two previously different documents into one document. Part one is a Health Care Power of Attorney. This is where you list whom you want to make health care decisions if you are unable to communicate your wishes. Significantly, Part

one also includes HIPAA waiver language, which means that your health care Agent can discuss any and all of your protected health care information with any health care providers. Part two of your health care directive, Treatment Preferences, is where you can specify under what circumstances you want your health care directive to be effective and what your wishes for end-of-life care would be. Before the Advance Directive for Health Care existed, this information was embodied in a separate document called a living will. Perhaps the most difficult part of part two is Item 7, where you must specify whether you want any life-sustaining treatment (such as receiving nutrition or hydration by tube, CPR after admission to a hospital, or being on a ventilator) if you cannot sustain life on your own. Even so, the key concept of the health care directive is that you are empowering your Agent to make decisions if you cannot do so, and your Agent is not bound to your wishes, but rather empowered to use their best judgment while keeping your wishes in mind.

The second document you mention, the Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) has only existed in Georgia since April 2015. It is signed by a physician and becomes a binding physician’s order once it is signed. The POLST doesn’t leave room for discussion: If you can’t communicate your wishes, and you have a POLST in place, then it alone directs your care. While POLSTs have their place, they are not appropriate for everyone, especially if you want your trusted friends or loved ones to have a voice about your end-of-life care when you cannot communicate. In contrast, a person with a terminal diagnosis and/or in hospice may wish to codify their end-of-life care wishes in a binding document, in which case a POLST would be appropriate. As the POLST website states: “POLST forms are appropriate for individuals with a serious illness or frailty near the end-of-life.” I hope this helps you (and your mother) decide which of these documents is appropriate for each of you!

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THE BEST WAYS TO HELP LOCAL NONPROFITS IN CHALLENGING TIMES

VOLUNTEER In a time of social distancing, volunteering may be discouraged, but nonprofits still need volunteers to operate. The good news is that many nonprofits need volunteers for positions that maintain social distance, such as driving. Food banks and kitchens need drivers to pick up donations or ingredients from donors and to deliver food to people in need, such as the elderly or those with disabilities. ADVOCATE Even if you don’t have time or resources to give, you can become an advocate for important causes around your community. While it might not seem like much, sharing information about local nonprofits on social media can make a genuine difference. Nonprofits need exposure, which is greatly boosted through community support. Sharing useful information about nonprofits — or sharing their posts — increases their visibility so more people will take action.

Over the past several months, families, businesses, and nonprofits have had to navigate life in this challenging “new normal,” and it can be hard to support your favorite nonprofits when times are tough. Here are a few ways you can help these important entities, even when you don’t have resources to spare right now. DONATE While many people donate generously during the holiday season, remember that nonprofits need donations throughout the year, and different nonprofits need different things. A monetary donation can often go a long way, but never feel obligated to give money, especially when your budget may be tight. Instead, consider cleaning out your closet. What clothes, shoes, or other accessories can you part with? What about dishware or small appliances? When you clean out your home and donate unused items, you benefit those in the community who need them most.

FRITTATA Paleo Sausage Bacon may be a paleo favorite for breakfast, but this hearty sausage meal can be enjoyed any time of day and is the perfect way to mix things up!

Inspirational MOMENT

INGREDIENTS

• • • • • •

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 lb mild Italian sausage

“Great necessities call out great virtues.” –Abigail Adams, letter to John Quincy Adams, Jan. 12, 1780

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated

4 green onions, diced

10 eggs, whisked

Black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. 2. Crumble sausage into the skillet and cook until browned. 3. Add sweet potato and cook until tender. 4. Add green onion and sauté for 2–3 minutes. 5. Spread this mixture evenly throughout the skillet. Pour eggs over mixture and sprinkle black pepper over top. 6. Cook without stirring for 3 minutes or until bubbly. 7. Transfer skillet to oven and cook under broiler on low until frittata is cooked through.

Inspired by SarahFragoso.com

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1

What’s Your ‘Cinderella Man’ Story?

2

Best Investments for Retirees Asked & Answered

3

Help Local Nonprofits in Challenging Times Paleo Sausage Frittata Inspirational Moment

4

The Good News in Atlanta!

PROFILES IN PERSEVERANCE

Steel Magnolia Client Continues Teaching Piano

For many, the acts of turning on the news and staying inside have been stressful and discouraging. That’s why we’re replacing our local events article for a local good news article! Every day, good things are still happening and people are bringing out the best of themselves to face the new changes and challenges in Atlanta. First, I had to kick off this new section with a more personal story to myself and my firm. When I think about people with incredible perseverance, I immediately think of Joyce Doyal, a very tough lady and a true steel magnolia. Despite being in her mid-70s, she’s an incredibly passionate piano player and teacher and has done it her whole life. Most of all, the difficulties of losing her husband last June and learning new technology skills haven’t stopped her from doing what she loves most.

music schools in the world, including the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and Mozarteum University Salzburg in Austria. She took a brief respite from music to teach speed-reading for a year and a half, but that was her only breakaway from music in her entire career. While her teaching style is based on her firm classical foundations, she isn’t afraid to venture with her students. “I have teenagers who want to learn jazz, so we play jazz,” she says. “But I make sure they get a foundation. I still make them learn a piece of classical music with the rest. That’s a big deal with me. I want to make sure they have the basics that they will carry throughout their lives.” Joyce’s passion for her Christian faith and music keeps her going, despite challenges. She encourages all parents to teach their kids music because, perhaps in a similar way to faith, “Nobody can take it away from you,” she says. “My father used to tell me that,” which is just another piece of good news: Her

“It’s so important, especially during emotionally turbulent times, that [students] use their music

background,” Joyce says. A strong music background is very important to Joyce; she’s studied at some of the most prestigious

awesome wisdom runs in the family.

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