Colin Smith Law July 2019 972.773.9095

July 2019

My Two Interests in One Pursuing a Career in Law

I want to welcome all of my readers to my first newsletter edition. I’m very excited to get started on this, and I want to thank you for taking the time to read it. I hope it contains information you find interesting and useful. For our first issue, I want to write about my background: why I became an attorney and how important it is to me to have my own firm. Law is my second career. For my first career, I worked as a software consultant for a decade after college. (Young adult readers: Travel jobs are fun, but the routine will get old.) When my son was born, I craved another profession that would allow me to spend more time at home. I had always been interested in patent law, so I applied to law school at SMU. After four years of working full Facebook makes you immortal. In 2017, the legislature recently updated its Statutory Durable Power of Attorney form to include access to social media. Now, the Estates Code allows a court to order social media to grant access the deceased’s digital assets. In other words, your social media accounts don’t disappear after you pass away. Oh, and by the way, you can get served (substitute service) with a lawsuit through social media! Find out someone is crazy after 50 years, or not. Mental health records can be released to someone’s children 50 years after the patient’s death so long as the patient

time and going to school at night, I obtained my law degree.

with us, you receive the personal attention and custom legal services you deserve. We don’t use a standard, cookie-cutter approach. Instead, we take the time to learn about our clients, their families, their concerns, and their goals, so the solutions we offer are skillfully tailored to our clients’ individual needs. We love to hear from you, and we love to stay in touch. We hope that this newsletter will help us do that.

When I graduated, the bottom had fallen out of the patent law market, so I turned to other areas of law. Estate planning was a fantastic fit. My job as a consultant was to gather information that wasn’t easy to obtain and use it to produce a well-tailored product for a client’s benefit. Those products were carefully built and customized to fit, because one size never fits all. They were delivered with personal service, since a tailored solution and personal service are inseparable. If you don’t have one, then you can’t have the other. My lessons in the business world have shaped the way I practice law. This isn’t a large law firm — and that’s by design. When you work never demanded that they be kept from the children. Here’s the moral: If you have any mental health records that you don’t want anyone to see ever, call us and we can protect them. Elder rights are on the rise. In recent years, more laws have passed to protect the elderly from exploitation and abuse. Now, the penalty for phishing is triple if the victim is elderly. You can will your tattoos. At least one company specializes in transferring ink from a dead body onto paper or some

-Colin Smith

A Few Updates on the Law…

other medium, which can be framed and displayed as wall art. So, if someone keeps complimenting you on your tattoos and you don’t want to be buried with them, well, it’s something to consider. …. And the one that got away. House Bill 412 would require the Longhorns and Aggies to play each other in football annually, beginning in 2020. If any one of the two refused, then that university would be prohibited from issuing any athletic scholarships the following year. The bill failed to get a hearing. | 1

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Going stargazing this summer? Be sure to keep your eyes out for unidentified flying objects (UFOs)! July 2 is World UFO Day, commemorating the supposed UFO crash that took place in 1974 in Roswell, New Mexico. Everyone knows about the strange things that happened in Roswell, but let’s look at a few lesser-known, but no less strange, UFO sightings.

object giving off lights and still moving. The object was gone when police arrived, but they found unusual markings at the site. A few days later, more servicemen went into the forest where they spotted three mysterious bright lights in the sky that shone for hours.



In 2015, a U.S. Navy Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter captured video of a bizarre, fast-moving object that had no visible wings and emitted no heat or no exhaust trail. The video, which can be viewed at COI.ToTheStarsAcademy. com/2015-go-fast-footage, shows the object in the fighter’s targeting system. The pilot and the weapon systems officer can be heard shouting and asking, “What is that, man?”The video leaked in 2017 along with news of the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP), a secret U.S. government organization investigating UFOs. Most UFO sightings have rational explanations. Even the famous Roswell Incident was proven to be debris from a surveillance program the U.S. military used to spy on the Soviet Union. But there’s something to be said about how a UFO sighting makes us look up at the night sky and wonder if we’re not alone.

On June 24, 1947, civilian pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying his plane near Mount Rainier in Washington when he reported seeing nine blue, glowing objects flying in a V formation at around 1,700 mph. Arnold would later describe the crafts’motions like “a saucer if you skip it across water.”The government confirmed there were no aircraft tests in the area that day. In the following weeks, other sightings of Arnold’s flying saucers would crop up across the region.


Things got weird at a Royal Air Force military base in England on Dec. 26, 1980. At around 3 a.m., two Air Force members saw odd lights falling into the nearby Rendlesham Forest. They reported finding a metallic


Have you heard the story of Terrence Dickson? Even if you don’t know the name, you might have heard his strange tale. Dickson was a burglar in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. One day, after breaking into a house and helping himself to some valuables, Dickson decided to leave through the garage. After discovering the automatic garage door was stuck closed, Dickson turned around and was horrified to realize he’d locked himself inside. To make matters worse, the family he was stealing from had just left for an extended vacation, so Dickson lived off of soda and dried dog food for eight days. When the family returned and found the unlucky burglar, a lawsuit was filed — by Dickson! He sued for mental anguish, and the jury awarded him $500,000. There’s nothing that shakes our faith in the justice system quite like injustice being served. When Dickson’s story first gained notoriety in 2001, thanks to an email circulated by the now-defunct Stella Awards newsletter, which highlighted “outrageous lawsuits,” people were rightfully enraged. There was just one problem: Terrence Dickson never existed. In 2002, a reporter from Pennsylvania contacted the Bucks County prothonotary’s office, where all records for civil cases in the county are kept. He discovered there was no record of any cases involving such a burglar. It’s worth noting the original email where this story

first appeared ended with a call for tort reform from a made-up law firm in Ohio. Likely, this hoax was an attempt to manipulate the public perception of the justice system. Despite being debunked 17 years ago, this tall tale still makes the rounds and often appears on lists of “outrageous lawsuits,”many of which are featured on the websites of legitimate law firms! There are plenty of wacky legal cases, but when a story is too ridiculous, there’s a good chance a few important details are being left out or the readers are being lied to. Don’t believe everything you read online!

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Common Financial Pitfalls

REFERRALS WELCOME Thank you for referring clients to us over the years. We’re always available to lend a helping hand to anyone with any legal need. In general, real estate-based purchases can be extremely beneficial for retirees. The exception to this rule is a spur-of-the-moment relocation in order to be closer to your family or a retirement community. Because real estate transactions are so expensive, it’s best to approach them with extreme care and due diligence. The bulk of retirement planning is spent discussing how you will save money in the years leading up to the end of your career, but that’s only half of the picture. Once you enter retirement, your focus shifts to the smartest way to divest your money for both your own enjoyment and your continued financial security. There are countless ways to wisely spend your nest egg, such as taking trips, providing for the education of your grandchildren, and more. However, this article isn’t about good ideas. Instead, let’s talk about some of the worst ways to spend your retirement funds. Hackers and cyberscammers love to prey on the elderly. As gross as it may sound, they know that older generations tend to be less tech savvy than their younger counterparts. You should be wary of online offers that look too good to be true. If you have even the slightest doubt, have a loved one take a look at the offer to ensure you’re not being scammed. Never provide your private financial data to a source you don’t absolutely trust. ONLINE SCAMS RUSHED RELOCATIONS


Inspired by Bon Appétit Magazine


2 lbs. ground chuck beef, 20% lean 8 slices melting cheese (like American, Swiss, Muenster, or cheddar)

16 small potato rolls, toasted

Salt and pepper, to taste

Your favorite burger accompaniments


1. Divide beef into 16 evenly sized balls. 2. Rip cheese into roughly equal pieces, creating 16 equal portions. 3. Using your index finger, create a small indentation in each ball. 4. Fill indention with cheese and pinch meat around to seal. Then gently form balls into 3/4-inch-thick patties. Season patties. 5. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet to medium-high. 6. Lightly coat skillet with oil and cook patties in batches. Brown one side undisturbed, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium. 7. Serve on toasted potato rolls with your favorite accompaniments.

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972.773.9095 5400 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy, Ste. 1200 Dallas, TX 75240


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My Passion in Law and Technology

Juicy Lucy Sliders The Worst Retirement Spending Decisions Going Stargazing? Watch Out for UFOs! Did You Hear About the Dog Food Burglar?



The Madden Curse

ON THE TRAIL OF THE MADDEN CURSE Truth, Lies, and Superstition

There is no urban legend in the world of modern video games as well-documented as the so-called “Madden Curse.”The curse revolves around the highly sought-after cover spot of the popular NFL video game “Madden NFL,” formerly known as “John Madden Football.”While the games date back to 1988, the curse is said to originate with the 1999 version. Garrison Hearst, a popular running back at the time, broke his ankle shortly after being featured on the cover of the 1999 edition. This was the first in a long line of injuries and personal issues that resulted in the rumor gaining traction. Soon, the idea

as coincidence. Despite the ambivalence of many players, there does seem to be a correlation between the cover and player issues. Of the 22 players who have been featured on the cover, 16 of them have suffered from significant issues in the season that followed. While the causes varied, with severe injuries, contract disputes, and personal issues all afflicting different players, something about the spotlight appears to have disturbed the powers that be. In fact, sometimes these issues occur shortly after the game is released in stores.

that the game’s seemingly innocent cover could have devastating effects on a player’s career was widespread. Once a substantial honor in the world of football, the Madden cover spot has become one of the sport’s most feared superstitions for fans.

Whatever the true cause, the curse seems to have taken a dip in recent years. Only one of the last five players has been affected, a stat that bodes well for this year’s star: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The real answer probably lies somewhere between fact and fiction. The increased pressure of national attention is bound to make players tense up every once in a while, and in a game as physical as football, any distraction can end in disaster.

The players, however, seem to find the correlation more amusing than scary. Most of the athletes in contention for the spot still consider it to be a great honor, choosing to brush off the rumors

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