Law Office of Paul Black - September 2019


September 2019

Finding Beauty in Transition CHANGING LEAVES

B y the time this newsletter reaches you, my wife Nadia and I will (hopefully) have our backyard garden up and running. Even as I write this, I have already been consulting my copy of Erica Glasener and Walter Reeves’ “Month-by- Month Gardening in Georgia” to prepare for the coming fall. Looks like we will be planting broccoli, collards, or lettuce this month, so there will be plenty of greens on the menu this autumn, I suppose. Regardless of what we grow this fall, our little vegetable patch is a triumph of adaptation. Shortly before our marriage in July, Nadia and I moved in together. It was an amazing milestone in our relationship, and like all milestones, it required change. Nadia suddenly had to adapt to a longer commute to her job, I had to admit that she has better interior design sense than I do, and we both had to readjust to sharing a space with another person again. Times of transition, even positive ones like this, can certainly be discombobulating. But, as Nadia and I started building our garden, I saw what makes these moments worth it. Every time I talk to my clients, something is changing in their lives. Just today, I

talked to a couple with a newborn, and the day before that, I chatted with a family whose mother was moving in with them. Tomorrow, I will be chatting with an active 80-year-old who’s facing the question of whether assisted living is right for them. Seeing so many people go through milestones and having just gone through a major one myself, I’ve begun to notice a pattern. Moments of transition bring life into perspective. They force us to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Which parts of my old way of doing things really matter to me and which can I live without?” Of course, we could ask ourselves this question at any point, but, when the status quo gets shaken up, we gain the best perspective on what we have. This might seem negative at first, but getting this perspective can be a really positive thing when you have the right attitude. Not only do you gain a new appreciation of what you have but you also get the opportunity to plan out something entirely new. Summer may be ending, and the rains of autumn are on their way. One could

be glum about the loss of sunshine and reminisce about the warm weather, but that won’t keep change from coming. Instead, why not plant a garden with someone you love and get the most out of those last warm days? And then, when the rains come, you can smile with the knowledge that the sprouts you planted together are getting the water they need to grow. I don’t think it’s an accident that people of all ages seem to get back into a rhythm this time of year. School starts, leaves change, and the monotony of summer disappears. In one way or another, we’re all reminded that no day is the same and nothing lasts forever. But, with the right planning and by remembering what you care about most, these changes can bear fruit. Here’s to a great fall,

-Paul Black

P.S. If Nadia and I inspired you to get into gardening, I highly recommend visiting They have great guides to get you started!

Do you have estate planning or elder law-related questions? Write to me at 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. | 1

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Why More Adults Over 55 Continue to Work

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Technical writers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, upward of 40% of people aged 55 and older are continuing to work past the normal retirement age. There are a number of reasons why people are choosing to stay employed, with one of the biggest being a lack of retirement funds, but some are also using work to keep their minds and skills sharp. In fact, most of the jobs that the 55-plus crowd goes after keep them engaged with the community and help them lead more active lives. The BLS categorized the jobs many older workers are currently pursuing: • Real estate appraisers/assessors • Property/real estate/community association managers

spend more time with peers or loved ones. This balance is exactly what many older workers are looking for, especially those who are “part-time retired.” More importantly, however, most older workers find these jobs fulfilling. They allow older folks to interact with the community and stay active, both

Tax preparers

Construction/building inspectors

Crossing guards

Clergy These seven jobs are projected to grow between 8–14% over the next six years according to BLS data. They often pay well and don’t always require a full-time commitment. Many even offer flexible schedules, which can help older workers

of which, research suggests, are essential to healthy living as people age. For many, working past retirement, or not leaving the workforce entirely, can be a win-win- win: It’s a win for your bank account, a win for your health, and a win for the community.

Asked and Answered: A Legal Advice Column

Mr. Black, I just had a relative [in another state] who died of a pain-medication overdose while she was a cancer patient receiving hospice care at home. Local law enforcement pursued an investigation and determined her death to be a suicide, and the medical examiner pursued an autopsy and confirmed fentanyl toxicity as the cause of her death. This got me wondering: Exactly when is an autopsy required in Georgia? [Name Withheld]

Dear Anonymous, First and foremost, I am sorry for your loss. Second, I should clarify that fentanyl is an incredibly powerful (Controlled Substances Act — Schedule II) pain medication administered on a prescription-only basis as a transdermal patch in varying dosages. It is commonly used for pain management for patients who cannot easily accept or digest pain medication in pill form. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has a webpage on autopsy that explains that Georgia law requires an autopsy in deaths occurring in the following ways: 1. As a result of violence 2. By suicide or casualty 3. Suddenly when in apparent good health 4. When unattended by a physician 5. In any suspicious or unusual manner, with particular attention to those persons 16 years of age and under 6. After birth but before 7 years of age if the death is unexpected or unexplained 7. As a result of an execution carried out pursuant to the imposition of the death penalty

8. When the deceased is an inmate of a state hospital or a state, county, or city penal institution 9. When the deceased had been admitted to a hospital

in an unconscious state and without regaining consciousness within 24 hours of admission

While I have served several families in which the death of a loved one required an autopsy, Georgia law makes it clear that it is the county medical examiner, not family or friends, who decides when an autopsy is required based on information obtained from investigation of the death. Even when the medical examiner orders an autopsy, it is not always a complete one, and one may not be performed in cases of natural death in which an adequate medical history exists to document the illness and no indications of foul play exist. Based upon the circumstances, an external examination or a limited autopsy examination may be performed. The autopsy report will always include a determination of the cause and manner of death. Significantly, the medical examiner does not need to seek permission from the next of kin before an autopsy. This is obviously a difficult and sensitive topic, and I hope this column helps to answer your questions. Even so, please don’t take this as legal advice about a particular situation.

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STAY TONED BY LIFTING WEIGHTS AT HOME The Anti-Aging Benefits of Free Weights

In her best-selling lifestyle guide “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” Mireille Guiliano advises women in their 50s to invest in a set of free weights — nothing too heavy, perhaps 3–5 pounds — in order to maintain their toned, youthful appearance and range of motion. She notes that lifting weights isn’t entirely necessary during your 20s and 30s, but it’s essential to maintain muscle tone and bone density in your later years.

You don’t have to join a gym to reap the benefits though; just pick up a set of free weights and a resistance band and research how to safely use them in your own home. recommends designing a workout routine that includes one or two exercises for each of the major muscle groups: legs, back, shoulders, arms,

chest, and abs. Try 8–10 repetitions per set, but don’t push yourself to use heavy weights. Even options that are 10 pounds or less should be enough to keep you chasing after your grandchildren for years to come. One public figure who has taken the weightlifting creed to heart is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The documentary “RBG” shows the 86-year-old judge at the gym, pumping lightweight iron with her personal trainer, and she

Though Guiliano’s evidence is anecdotal, the science confirms that lifting weights can be an indispensable aid to healthy aging for both men and women. A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information recommends strength training 2–3

times per week to lower your risk of health problems and preserve bone density, independence, and vitality. According to WebMD, “Muscle loss is one of the main reasons people feel less energetic as they get older. When you lift weights, work out on machines, use resistance bands, or do exercises with your own body weight (like pushups and situps), you build strength, muscle mass, and flexibility.”

even walked spring chicken Stephen Colbert through her routine on “The Late Show.” Ginsburg has called her trainer “the most important person” in her life apart from her family, which is a ringing endorsement for lifting weights if ever there was one.


Inspirational MOMENT

Savor the end of tomato season with this spicy and healthy salad. Because the horseradish- spiked dressing packs a punch, you only need a little to add a lot of flavor.


• • •

1/4 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup buttermilk

“Each of us needs what nature gives us, when nature gives it.”

2 tbsp prepared horseradish

Salt and black pepper, to taste

2 1/2 lbs. heirloom and cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 scallions, thinly sliced


–Marcus Aurelius

1. For the dressing, whisk together mayonnaise, buttermilk, and horseradish in a mixing bowl; season to taste. 2. In serving bowls, arrange tomatoes and top with scallions. 3. Lightly drizzle tomatoes and scallions with dressing and serve.

Inspired by Food &Wine Magazine | 3

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Decatur Office Location: Main Location One West Court Square, Suite 750 | Decatur, Georgia 30030




Make a Change Worthwhile


Why Are so Many People Deciding Not to Retire? Asked and Answered Stay Toned by Lifting Weights at Home


Tomato Salad With Horseradish

Inspirational Moment


Discover Dowdell’s Knob



Discover Dowdell’s Knob

This month, our featured destination is one of Georgia’s best-kept secrets. While the name may not suggest it, Dowdell’s Knob is one of the best areas for hiking in the state. In fact, there are probably some avid hikers who don’t want us publicizing it, but we couldn’t let the last of the warm weather pass by without mentioning this beautiful and sparsely traveled trail. Located in western Georgia, just outside of Warm Springs, Dowdell’s Knob towers over the surrounding area. At 1,395 feet above sea level, this “knob” is actually the tallest of the Pine Mountain Range. The fact that it looks out on the plains and farmland south of Atlanta makes for a sweeping, dramatic view from the summit. But the climb itself is its own reward. The Dowdell’s Knob Trail is a loop that takes you through beautiful wilderness areas that are as wild as they are diverse. Densely wooded areas are mixed with rocky terrains, a small waterfall, and incredible views, all packed into this 4.4-mile journey. The rolling landscape keeps the hike from being a

monotonous uphill slog, and every high point is a chance to look out on the breathtaking surroundings. Wild mountain flowers mingle with twisted tree trunks — the last signs of a tornado that passed through the area in 2011. These relics hidden among the new growth aren’t the only pieces of history Dowdell has to offer, however. The state park in which Dowdell’s Knob is located is named for the mountain’s most famous visitor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. History buffs and those familiar with the area will know that Roosevelt built his “Little White House” in Warm Springs. In fact, Dowdell’s Knob was a favorite place for the 32nd president to visit; he even built an outdoor oven and picnic area on the mountainside to entertain guests in the great outdoors. The remnants of these can still be seen today. So, whether you want to look out at the same scenery as FDR did over 80 years ago or just want to enjoy an incredible hike, you owe yourself a trip to Dowdell’s Knob. Just promise to keep this secret Georgia treasure between us, alright?

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