Swerdloff Law March 2018


www.lawwithasmile.com • 310-577-9104

MARCH 2018


Instead of scouring a field of clovers or buying a lottery ticket, I’ve come to believe in making my own luck. Sometimes you’re not aware of how fortunate you are until either something wonderful or something terrible happens. I’m feeling extra lucky right now. I recently got back from visiting my son and daughter- in-law in New Mexico. This was a special trip, because I got to meet my very first granddaughter. Our family has grown yet again, and it’s a magical time. I’d forgotten how tiny a newborn is! She was three weeks old when I first met her, and in a week, she gained three-fourths of a pound and grew an inch. I returned from New Mexico floating on air from the excitement of meeting her. I’m back at my desk now, jumping into my next case. But I can’t shake the joy I felt seeing this tiny new human. That joy is contagious. It has colored every part of my life and reminded me what I love about my work. When we acknowledge our blessings, we realize we have an incredible opportunity to give back to others who may not be as fortunate. One of the blessings I’m recognizing is the wonderful community I get to work with. In the last few years, I’ve put the focus back on people in our community who need extra support. My big focus this year is to further support families with special needs. What can I do to make their lives less stressful and to help them achieve reasonable control over their evolving situations?

Many families coping with special needs feel they never have enough support. If you’re the parent of a child with special needs, it can feel like you’re on a treadmill without an off switch. Adapting to a child's changing needs over the years can be a struggle, especially as the child goes from 17 to 18. Suddenly, the child is an adult, and part of being an adult is having more freedom and a lot more responsibility. What does that mean for someone with special needs? It means some of their needs might change. It might involve creating a conservatorship and establishing other plans for the future. But there’s a lot more to this than just the legal aspect. An adult with special needs might need extra support as they seek their first job. Or maybe they want help navigating the challenges of living on their own. One of the incredible families I recently had the pleasure of working with is in this phase. I helped their son set up his conservatorship, and we’re now helping him take control of his life in other capacities. I feel honored that the family turned to me during this phase and sought my counsel. Knowing I have worked with many families in this situation, they asked if I could provide them with guidance and resources. While he faces many challenges, this young man is lucky to have the support of his family. With his parents’ encouragement, he is training for a job, learning to use public transportation, and attending fun events

around the city to build his interpersonal skills. I feel fortunate to be able to use my knowledge to connect them with additional resources and provide the type of support they need. My kids are well past their teens, and I sometimes wonder, “Am I parenting them, or are they parenting me?” In New Mexico, it was amazing to see my son and daughter-in- law become parents for the first time. All of a sudden, it wasn’t just them anymore. They are in charge of a new life and are a true family. There’s a lot to think about and not enough resources out there for families with children who have special needs. If you’re struggling with any part of this, I’m here to help. Even if you don’t need legal advice, I have additional resources to offer. There’s more information on this topic inside the newsletter. I look forward to connecting with you.

Have a happy spring! Until next time,

–Arthur J. Swerdloff


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THE TALK After your meeting with your advisor, it’s time to talk with your children. Explain how your retirement plan is going to affect them. It’s best to be honest and transparent. Let them know that this isn’t about your feelings for them and give them time to process the information. Remember that even if your retirement has been top of mind for you, it may not be on their radar. Erin Lowry, author of “Broke Millennial,” reminds us, “Adult children can’t be expected to know how ongoing support is affecting your finances if you haven’t talked to them about it.” If you can help them understand how the change will impact them and maybe even help them plan for it, you can open up that conversation and reduce tension around it. Instead of looking at the end of financial support as a loss, frame it as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for your child to find financial independence, and while the journey can be rough, it will benefit everyone in the long term.

gave their children a total of $6,500 a year. When you compare that 6K to your current income, it might not look like much, but consider what that amount could do if you invested it into your retirement. Diane Harris, a personal finance journalist, explains, “If, instead, you saved that much cash every year in a tax-deferred account averaging 6 percent annual gains, you’d have close to $100,000 more for retirement within a decade.” MAKE A PLAN Once you consider what you’re contributing to your child’s lifestyle, you need to find out how it’s going to affect your ability to retire. It’s time to have the tough conversations. Before you talk to your kids, meet with your financial advisor and discuss your retirement goals. Your advisor can give you a reality check if your goals are not in line with your current lifestyle and tell you what needs to change to get them there.

Between spending time with family, working, and juggling multiple schedules, finding a moment to take care of yourself can be a challenge. Where can you go when you’re seeking peace? Surely you’d have to book an exotic vacation just to get away from it all, right? As it turns out, the solution may be closer than you think. Call it a retreat center, a spa, or a place of learning, but at its essence, Esalen transcends these labels to offer ultimate relaxation. Nestled between the gushing waters of Big Sur and the Santa Lucia Mountains, Esalen is a beautiful place to spend a day or fully soak in its tranquility over a long weekend. Located at the base of a natural hot spring, Esalen offers up a menu promising many pathways to relaxation. The healing treatments range from soaking in the Your children turned to you for support all their lives. When they were babies, you provided them with food and shelter, and throughout their childhood, you guided them and led by example. But if you’ve continued to provide them with financial support into their adulthood, the lifestyle shift that comes with your retirement might come as a surprise to both of you. If your children are still dependent on you for financial support, it’s important to have a conversation about what might change with your retirement. It’s time to consider how your well-intentioned support will affect both of your futures. CONSIDER THE COSTS A study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that, on average, parents over 50


natural hot springs, to massages, to mind and body classes and workshops.

a great environment for relaxing, but they are also said to have healing properties.

Slip into one of the naturally heated baths overlooking the waters of Big Sur and let your attention fall away from the stresses of the outside world. Originally used by the Esselen Native American people who lived in the area, the waters are not only

Whether you visit Esalen for a day or a weekend, call ahead to schedule a bath or massage appointment. Check out their schedule at Esalen.org if you’re interested in reserving your spot, and soak in the healing magic of Southern California.


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The other morning after a meeting, I was talking to one of my colleagues. She told me that her friend has a 5-year-old with special needs, and every day they’re presented with new questions. The family has been seeking support that goes beyond what the school provides. Mom needs someone she can trust to find the best options for her daughter. My colleague knew of my passion and experience working with individuals with special needs and their families, so she asked, “What can we do for her daughter?”

Beyond just legal guidance, individuals with special needs and their caregivers need ongoing support for the whole family. They need to know how to take care of themselves while also caring for someone else, including how to get rest, relieve tension, and approach each new stage of the child's life. Each individual has their own unique case, and there’s no single solution with all the answers. After considering what kind of support I could provide, I suggested to my colleague that we schedule a couple of phone calls each month. With regular check-ins, her friend can ask questions as they come up. My colleague and I have both been seeking answers to a tough question: “What can we do to improve the life experience of an individual with special needs?”

families. When you have a question related to special needs, you can call me. I’ll be there to talk you through it. You need support. I’m here to provide it. Call Art Swerdloff today. Together, we can create a support network.

It’s the kind of question I’ve pondered many times myself.

In my years working with families, I’ve been disappointed by the lack of day-to-day support available. There’s no holistic, all- encompassing guide on raising a child with special needs.

One solution I’ve come up with is to provide the same type of ongoing support to other



When you think of St. Patrick’s Day cuisine, corned beef and green beer are probably the first things that come to mind. This year, consider adding colcannon to your March 17 menu. It’s basically mashed potatoes on steroids, and it’s utterly delicious.


• 1 pound cooked bacon, chopped into small pieces • 4 scallions, finely chopped • Parsley, for garnish • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions • 3 pounds potatoes • 2 sticks butter • 1 1/4 cups hot milk • 1 head cabbage, cored and shredded 1. Steam potatoes for 30 minutes. Peel skins and mash flesh thoroughly. 2. Chop 1 stick of butter into small cubes and add to warm potatoes. Once melted, slowly add milk, stirring constantly.

3. Boil cabbage in water. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to tenderize. 4. Add cabbage, bacon, and scallions to mashed potatoes, gently stirring to combine. 5. Serve garnished with parsley and a pat of butter.

Inspired by foodnetwork.com


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Happy Thoughts for Spring


Don’t Be the Family Bank The Ultimate in Relaxation: Esalen


Where to Turn When You Need Support Colcannon


Spring Clean Your Utility Room


The start of spring brings everyone’s favorite seasonal chore — spring cleaning! As you dust, vacuum, organize, and declutter, don’t forget about the one room that often gets neglected. This year, give special attention to the utility closet. The utility closet houses your furnace, boiler, water heater, A/C junction, and other similar large appliances. Homeowners often forget about these appliances because they are out of sight and out of mind, and this can cost a lot in the long run. Like all the other rooms in your home, this space needs to be kept clean. Dust, for instance, can be hard on HVAC systems. Over time, it accumulates in the HVAC intake and clogs the air filter, reducing its effectiveness and efficiency. This results

in a short lifespan for your system, higher power bills, and a poorly heated or cooled home. HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU REPLACE YOUR AIR FILTER? Homes with minimal foot traffic (single or double occupancy) and no pets or allergies: 6–12 months. Family homes (three or more occupants) with no pets or allergies: 3–6 months.

In addition to changing the air filter, it’s important to schedule a routine inspection of your home’s HVAC system. This includes an inspection of the appliances themselves and any connecting ducts. Dust, dander, and mold can accumulate in the ducts and spread throughout the home, which can lead to health issues, including respiratory problems. A routine inspection will identify potential problems in your HVAC system. On top of that, you can get these systems professionally cleaned and maintained. These are simple steps that will keep your home’s air systems running smoothly for years to come. Plus, you’ll be ready for the summer months ahead!

Family homes with at least one pet or minor allergies: 2–3 months.

Family homes with multiple pets or allergies: 1–2 months.


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