Swerdloff Law Firm April 2018


www.lawwithasmile.com • 310-577-9104

APRIL 2018


In my early years of practice, I found myself in court frequently on behalf of my clients. In addition to keeping the office running, it was a difficult task to keep up with all the aspects of litigation. That’s one of the reasons I got into estate planning 20 years ago. I wanted to spend more time with my clients and less time doing the court runaround. Now, things have come full circle. I find myself back in court, going into downtown LA to the central probate courts. What’s changed? My perspective. The difference now is in my experience and having the aid of experienced paralegals. I’m no longer on my own. With the support of paralegals who’ve worked in the court system for many years, we’re able to generate all of the paperwork required. It’s a significant part of the process, and it’s a huge weight to have taken off my shoulders. In the past couple of years, I’ve worked with some outstanding probate paralegals, and I’m grateful for this added support as an attorney. It also helps that our court system in LA has become more efficient. Our courts have become more centralized and the quality of our judges and attorneys has improved as budget concerns have eased. The process is more enlightened, which makes it much easier to navigate and prepare to get the results you want for your client. Probate can be a challenging time for families. Often, a client or their family hasn’t created a trust, and they have assets that need to be transferred to beneficiaries. To do

this, a probate has to be opened in probate court. It can be a rather long and difficult process, taking anywhere from six months to two years to go through probate. It often requires several appearances in court, in addition to the volumes of paperwork and accounting that it takes to get through it. There’s a lot of potential for estates to get held up in probate, but with the right team, things can be much smoother. A family I worked with recently was able to find this successful closure for their loved one’s assets. Their family member, a bachelor in California, died with a substantial estate and no estate plan. The family all lived on the East Coast, and they faced many stressful trips across the country. Thankfully, our firm helped them avoid those trips. We were able to appoint one of the family members as a special administrator,

and from there, we successfully marshaled all the assets and made them available to be distributed to the beneficiaries. It saved the family a great deal of trouble. Instead of them having to come to LA frequently, we were able to do the work on our end to keep them informed and on top of the paperwork. It was a successful conclusion to a case that could've been much more costly in terms of time and money. I hope your family never has to experience the agonies of probate. If you find yourself there, though, due to circumstances beyond your control, you’ll need an experienced lawyer. I’m here to help, whether that means representing your probate case or helping you set up an estate plan so you don’t have to worry about it.

–Arthur J. Swerdloff


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transfers, Robinhood is a great way to build a large portfolio. It can even function as a small invested savings account.

Acorns is the best way to make your spare change work for you. Every time you use your debit or credit card, Acorns will round up the spare change of that purchase to the next dollar and then invest it. Take that $2.30 cup of coffee from this morning, for example. This app rounds that transaction to $3.00, places the $0.70 extra into a fund, and invests it. This strategy, called “microinvesting,” may not seem like much, but remember that a mighty oak tree starts as an acorn! For many Americans, investing is either too intimidating or just downright costly. And no matter how well your portfolio does, you always lose a chunk of earnings to fees and commissions. Robinhood is an app that removes all fees associated with stock trading and gives you free rein to buy and sell as you please. With seamless money ROBINHOOD


While it used to take weeks to transfer money by Western Union’s horse-drawn carriages, it now takes seconds with Venmo. This app gives you the ability to send money to friends and family via your phone. With a user-friendly interface, it’s quick and easy to set up an account and link bank accounts or credit cards. Once you’re up and running, sending money is as simple as pressing a button. If you’re intimidated by learning how to use mobile apps, connect with a family member or friend. All of these apps are designed to be intuitive and easy to learn, so with a little time and practice, you can be savvy technologically and financially!

Like most stereotypes, describing baby boomers as "tech illiterate" doesn’t tell the full story. Bill Gates is a baby boomer, after all. While not everyone in the "golden generation" is on Facebook, that doesn’t mean they can’t use technology. These three mobile apps are perfect for tech- savvy boomers looking to achieve their financial goals.


Making Space for ChildrenWith Special Needs to Succeed in the Classroom

When it comes to advancing education for children with special needs, inclusion can make all the difference. The norm has long been to separate students with special needs from their peers. But most of the research suggests that schools should implement a classroom environment where every child can succeed. With educational support, research shows that up to 85 percent of students with learning disabilities are capable of mastering the same content as their peers. Over 20 years of research also shows that when put in general-education classrooms, students with special needs show up to school more, do better after high school, and get more instruction from their teachers. This system is working for teachers Mary Fair and Cristina Rodriguez, who co-teach a math-inclusion classroom for seventh graders. The two shift back and forth

between lessons, using subtle adaptations to benefit students with different learning styles and needs. They don’t split up groups or alter the entire lesson. Instead, they both consider themselves responsible for the entire class.

next to their general-education peers. Teachers must have the time, support, and training to provide a high-quality education based on a student’s needs.” There is hope, and programs like the one at Bloomfield Middle School, where Mary and Christina co-teach their inclusive classroom, will hopefully become the norm. If you’re looking for additional support or have questions regarding a loved one with special needs, Art Swerdloff is here to help you. Call today to schedule your appointment.

Given all the evidence that inclusion in the classroom works, what are we waiting for?

While many classrooms are moving toward being inclusive, teacher training isn’t keeping up. Many teachers take just one course on training methods for children with special needs during their entire teacher certification program.

If our schools expect to keep up, that has to change.

As an article in The Atlantic puts it, “Experts say the problem is that it takes much more than just placing students with disabilities


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Living in a place with so much sunshine isn’t just good for our health; it also provides the perfect conditions for many varieties of plants to grow. What better way soak up the sun than viewing the beauty of the plants at one of our nearby botanical gardens? These three local favorites might strike your fancy. AT THESE 3 LOCAL BOTANICAL GARDENS Located off the Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, The Getty Villa is a recreation of a Roman country house. Though the interior of the villa is definitely worth seeing, the gardens are a phenomenon in their own right. Greek and Roman architecture inspires the structures surrounding the garden, and the plant varieties include species from all over the world. Guided tours provide SOAK UP THE SUN THE GETTY VILLA


a look at the gardens through a historical context. Open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This 7.5-acre garden located on the UCLA campus has over 3,000 varieties of plants from all over the world. It contains extensive cacti collections, a stream with small koi that provides a quiet resting place to take in the beauty of the gardens, and peaceful benches set along the path. Open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free.


While most people head to the zoo for the animals, the Los Angeles Zoo also contains another biological wonder: their Botanical Gardens. Native plants and exotic species can both be found throughout the gardens. Many also provide food to the animals in the zoo. Tickets can be purchased online, and the zoo and gardens are open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.



This simple, delicious recipe only takes 20 minutes from start to finish. It’s also a great way to encourage kids to eat their broccoli. The next time you make pasta, leave the canned sauce in the pantry and make this instead!


• 2 cloves garlic, chopped • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper • Salt • Parmesan cheese

• 3/4 pound pasta

(shells or orecchiette) • 2 cups broccoli florets • 3 tablespoons olive oil • 1 pound ground turkey


while breaking up meat with a wooden spoon for 3–5 minutes. 3. Combine turkey with pasta and broccoli mixture, adding the

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add broccoli when pasta is 1 minute from done. Drain both and return to pot. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, garlic, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt. Cook

remaining olive oil as you stir. Serve in bowls topped with Parmesan.

Recipe inspired by realsimple.com


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My Day in Court


3 Must-Have Financial Apps for Baby Boomers The Importance of Inclusive Education


3 Ways to Enjoy Spring in SoCal Pasta With Turkey and Broccoli


Texas Education Is Going to the Dogs


Meet Reveille IX, the highest-ranking member of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets. But she’s not a student. She’s a collie, and she’s Texas A&M’s mascot. Reveille IX became the mascot in 2015. The role dates back to 1931, when the first Reveille became the school’s mascot, establishing one of the most admired — and adorable — school traditions in the country. The first Reveille became mascot by pure chance. As the story goes, a group of cadets were driving back to their dorms after a party when they hit a dog. Shocked, the cadets jumped out of the car and picked up the lost mutt. They brought the dog back to their dorm, disregarding the no-pet policy. The students intended to take the pup to the school vet first thing in the morning.

jumped into action, barking at the intruder. It was an unusual bark that was evocative of a reveille — the bugle call most famously used by the military, particularly in the morning hours. Inspired, the students dubbed the dog Reveille. Of course, school policy didn’t change. Pets were still not allowed, but that didn’t stop the cadets who adored the pup. They continued to hide the dog in the dorm until it was clear she wasn’t going anywhere. Reveille was officially made mascot before the opening

football game of that season. As her first duty, she led the marching band onto the field during halftime. While the first Reveille was a mutt, the second was a Shetland sheepdog. The rest have been collies. The mascot is always cared for by a sophomore cadet — a mascot corporal — who takes the dog everywhere he or she goes, including to class. There is even a tradition that states if Reveille barks at any point during class, the rest of that class is canceled for the day.

But before that could happen, an intruder broke into the dorm. The injured dog


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