Douglass & Runger - February 2021

February 2021


At the beginning of 2020, I could say that I had been lucky enough to never have any major medical concerns. In fact, I was in great shape. I ran a lot, and I frequently enjoyed going to the gym, pushing my body beyond its limits, and working out. All of that changed after a simple heart check-up in mid-January 2020, and in honor of American Heart Health Month this February, I want to share my story. My wife and I went to Stern Cardiovascular, a local cardiovascular center, for a routine heart scan in 2020. To be completely honest, I only went to appease my wife, who wanted to have the screening because her family has a history of heart disease. Still, I figured it was better to confirm what I suspected: My heart was fine, and I was healthy. I wasn’t prepared for what they found. For starters, my blood pressure was through the roof at the screening. The doctors at Stern didn’t know why. There was also something strange going on in the left ventricle of my heart. For those unfamiliar with heart conditions, the tests revealed a left bundle branch block caused by some scar tissue on my left ventricle, and basically, the bundle

branch makes it difficult for my heart to pump blood throughout my body and caused a low ejection fraction rate. The doctors told me this condition commonly goes undetected in patients until a serious cardiac event occurs, if one occurs at all, but they said it was common for the scar tissue to be caused by an infection. I was stunned. I had never had high blood pressure in my life — this was later chalked up to a fluke — and learning about the left bundle branch block made me fear that I could drop dead at any moment. My doctor instructed me to stay sedentary and not to strain my heart as much as I could until I finished some treatment, including medications, to improve my ejection fraction rate. To this day, my doctor doesn’t know the exact cause of the scar tissue, but he believes it was caused by an infection. That said, I have my suspicions of the cause. I believe I had COVID-19 very, very early on in this pandemic, back when no one had any idea it was in the U.S. Many studies have been released linking athletes who have had COVID-19 with heart complications, and I did travel extensively during the winter of 2019–2020, including travel to crowded cities like New Orleans and Las Vegas. It’s the only explanation that makes sense to me, but we are still stumped.

Regardless, I had to take care of myself by not exercising and taking a ton of medication, and I was crushed. Exercise and movement have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I used to play basketball a lot, and the gym is a regular part of my daily routine. It calms my mind, and frankly, it helps me a lot with stress management. Exercise has always been therapeutic for me, and I was being told I had to give it up. I’ve recently been given the green light to resume exercise and working out, and I will never take my health for granted again. I’m currently in the middle of a 90-day restart for my wellness. It’s sort of a “shock my body” kind of approach, but it’s been just what I needed. The hardest part has been starting again and being so out of shape compared to one year ago. I say all of this because I have two pieces of advice for anyone who relates to my story. For starters, don’t take your ability to move and exercise for granted. Working out and exercise can be difficult, and it takes time to develop a habit. But if you don’t quit, you can push through the negative thoughts, find what motivates you, and become stronger for it. Secondly, if you’re over the age of 30, I strongly suggest you get your heart tested. It may seem crazy, especially if you are like me and had no symptoms of any issues or reasons to believe you may have issues. My condition ended up being less severe than my doctors initially thought, but that condition could have killed me. This happened to me when I was in the best shape of my life! The good news is that many heart conditions are treatable. They just need to catch it.

Like estate planning, it’s not fun to think about, but it’s so worth it.

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It’s no secret that social media has revolutionized the way we live. These websites and apps used to help us stay connected with high school friends and distant relatives. But now, they’ve turned into platforms for social justice reform, budding entrepreneurs, and ... shopping? That’s right, shopping! In October 2020, Instagram introduced @shop, its official account for shopping on the platform, following rumors from several influencers. The account features products from various retailers, and users can also click on the shopping bag icons that appear on their favorite posts outside of the @shop account. By clicking on the bag, users are either taken to the retailer’s website to continue the purchasing process, or they can purchase items without even leaving the app.

The big advantage of this account is that users don’t have to worry about untrustworthy retailers or scammers promoting products that fit the user’s algorithm. Instead, @shop becomes a centralized place for businesses that consumers can trust. It also builds on key elements of Instagram's network of economic influence. Experts at Business Insider have already lauded the Facebook-owned app for the move, claiming it could generate $10 billion in revenue by 2021. However, Instagram isn’t without its faults. A study published in Time magazine in 2017 found that Instagram was the worst platform for mental health and well-being. The study examined about 1,500 teens and found that the platform often heightened “anxiety, depression, bullying, and FOMO, or the ‘fear of missing out.’” This study

and others have users and experts concerned that Instagram’s shopping features will further influence destructive behaviors and thoughts. Instagram’s @shop can be an easy, useful destination for users interested in the products or clothes their favorite celebrities or influencers are using. It can also be a useful tool for small- business owners looking to broaden their market. However, it is vital that consumers and parents continue to do their own research to determine which products are best and how to safely consume the content on their feeds. Parents can learn more by visiting, and shoppers can find more details directly on Instagram’s help page.

What Is a Conservatorship? AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

There are many complex components in the field of estate planning, but none maybe as drastic as conservatorship. On the surface, this protectionary designation by the courts protects adults from managing their affairs or making decisions for themselves when they are not of sound mind, but the facets and process of conservatorship can be much more involved. What is it? Conservatorship is a legal concept whereby a court appoints a person to manage an incapacitated person’s financial and personal affairs. The courts will appoint a person, typically a family member, to act as the conservator of an adult who is suspected to be legally disabled and unable to make the best decisions for their well-being. The individual for whose benefit the conservator is appointed is commonly referred to as the respondent. The conservator appointed will typically be given the power to make decisions, such as medical and financial choices, on behalf of the respondent as necessary and as is required to protect the respondent. Conservators are fiduciaries to the extent that they exercise control over a respondent’s money and must act in the best interest of the respondent at all times. How do you establish conservatorship? 1. Petition: A petition must be filed with the court setting forth the identity of both the proposed conservator and respondent, the reasons conservatorship is warranted, a summary of the respondent’s assets, and the powers that the proposed conservator requests the court remove from the respondent. The law also requires that a physician’s affidavit be attached to the petition. This affidavit must be signed by a doctor who examined the respondent within

90 days of the filing of the petition and also set forth the doctor’s opinion that conservatorship is warranted.

2. Guardian Ad Litem: After the petition is filed, the court will typically appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL), an independent attorney who will objectively investigate the circumstances and allegations set forth in the petition. The GAL’s investigation often includes interviews with the respondent, the respondent’s family members, and the proposed conservator as well as possible interviews with doctors, nurses, and other providers involved in the person’s care. 3. Decision: A hearing before a judge will determine whether the conservatorship will be granted. The hearing involves testimonies from the proposed conservator, the GAL, and other interested parties. The GAL will make a recommendation to the court as to whether or not the GAL believes a conservatorship is in the best interest of the respondent and, if so, whether or not the GAL believes the proposed conservator is a suitable person to serve. Why does this matter? This process seems convoluted just to name a conservator, but the courts use this process to protect the respondent’s rights. Conservatorships can be powerful, useful methods of protecting those who may otherwise make detrimental decisions, and it involves a process, which sometimes can be extremely sensitive and even divisive amongst family members, that our team is well-versed in managing. Contact us today to learn more and visit for information on your other legal needs.

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Strawberry Kissed Almond Butter Muffins

Don’t Go for DIY WHY AN ATTORNEY IS YOUR BEST OPTION FOR ESTATE PLANNING With the advent of the internet and Google, information is right at our fingertips. You can learn about ancient Thai cooking methods from your apartment in Memphis or master the latest viral dance without ever leaving your living room. The digital world has made our lives easier than ever, but it’s also introduced new problems, like cyberbullying and misinformation.

Enjoy this Valentine’s Day-themed muffin with your Valentine or treat yourself! INGREDIENTS • 1 cup ripe bananas, mashed • 3/4 cup natural creamy almond butter (can substitute creamy peanut butter) • 2 large eggs • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or honey) • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 1 cup oat flour • 1 tsp baking powder • 1/4 tsp salt • 1/4 cup strawberry fruit spread, divided (we recommend Bonne Maman INTENSE)

The law is not immune to such misinformation.

There are many templated websites that advertise “do-it-yourself” (DIY) estate planning or contract documents. The creators of these sites advertise ease of access and creation. “All you have to do is input your information and outline your wishes, and you have a verified legal document that’s binding in a court of law!” Seems simple, right?

It’s actually not!


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 2. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners and spray with nonstick cooking spray. 3. In a large bowl, mix bananas, almond butter, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. 4. Stir in oat flour, baking powder, and salt until smooth. 5. Evenly divide batter into liners. Add 1 tsp strawberry fruit spread to the top of each muffin. 6. Use a butter knife to gently swirl the spread into the batter. 7. Bake for 22–27 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. 8. Transfer muffins to wire rack to cool and enjoy!

Like every state, Tennessee has very strict statutory requirements regarding the execution and wording of documents that make legal documents, particularly estate plans, valid in the courts. If these requirements are not met, the will, directive, or any other document pertaining to your estate plan is invalid. Furthermore, without the expertise or background in estate planning law, it’s extremely difficult to completely understand all of the nuances that go into estate planning. DIY estate planning has formulated “fill-in-the-blank” documents that may not actually serve the purpose you need. When you hire an attorney to guide you through the estate planning process, you gain a few key advantages. First, you have an expert who is well-versed in your state’s laws and requirements. They can ensure the wording and statutory requirements are met when the documents are executed. Additionally, our clients execute their estate planning documents at our office, which ensures that any “witnessing” or “notarization” requirements are correctly fulfilled. What’s more, you’re protected at Douglass & Runger. While our office shredding policy is typically to shred case files after seven years for identity and privacy protection, we never shred estate planning documents. We keep the copies of your estate plan both digitally and on paper to ensure disgruntled parties cannot have a reasonable argument for contesting your will or estate or in the event you misplace the original estate planning document. When it comes to estate planning, the internet is not a useful tool for many people. Instead, rely on our team to draft an estate plan that fits your wishes best. Call our team today to learn more and visit for more information on all our legal offerings.

Inspired by

INSPIRATION “You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.” –Audrey Hepburn

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2820 Summer Oaks Drive Bartlett, TN 38134 901-388-5805


Advertising Material

1 An Important Message for American Heart Health Month Inside This Issue 2 A Must-Read Before Using Instagram’s @shop The Process of Establishing Conservatorships

3 The Dangers of DIY Estate Planning

Strawberry Kissed Almond Butter Muffins

4 Improve Your Day With This Simple Life Hack

A Simple Way to Improve Your Day! The Calendar of ‘Things to Look Forward To’

Many families have faced disappointment in one way or another. Since early last year, countless activities and events have been canceled, and people had to skip many family vacations and get-togethers. Though it is a new year, it’s still going to be a while before normal activities and events will be scheduled, meaning there might not be a whole lot to look forward to, which can be disheartening. So, why not change that and give yourself and your family something to look forward to? A great way to improve your day — or week, month, or even year — is to write down things you’re excited about. In an article on, one mom talked about how she improved the overall mood of her family by creating a calendar of things to look forward to every week. In a post on Facebook, she wrote, “I wanted something for me and my kids to look forward to each day, so I posted a list to my fridge of the days of the week and one fun thing each day.

(Like Taco Tuesday, Takeout Thursday, Dance Party Friday, Movie & Popcorn Sunday.)” It’s an idea anyone can easily implement. Create themed days (like game night or park day) or create a schedule of fun things. Write down when the next show or movie you’re interested in will be available to stream. You can do the same for a new book or video game that may be coming out and apply the concept to virtually anything. The important thing is that you write it down on a calendar so you can see it. When you or your family glance at the calendar and see what’s coming up, it elevates your mood and boosts your day. And the more things you’re looking forward to, the better! Give it a try and get everyone in the family involved. When you need a little extra joy in your life, this is an incredibly simple way to achieve it!

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