The Importance of Planning To Keep Your Family Protected
Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of people to make changes in their life — adapting to working from home, practicing social distancing, and finding healthy ways to cope with the trauma of the pandemic. However, this crisis is also causing people to reflect on what’s most important in their lives. People are thinking about the current state of things, but they’re also wondering more about the future. Estate planning has always been an essential part of life, and now, people are realizing just how important it can be. Estate planning guarantees that your assets and your family are taken care of after you’re gone. The uncertainty in the world right now is showing us just how important it is to take the time to line up everything exactly how you want it. This has also prompted me to take steps to ensure my family, my clients, and those in the industry are taken care of. Similar to estate planning, business succession planning ensures that if something happens to me, then my law practice work gets completed, assets get sold, and clients get notified. It also ensures my family receives the money from the sale of the business. I can rest easy knowing that the people in my life are taken care of — family, team members, and clients alike. No matter what your situation or plan might be, everyone should be taking these similar, though difficult, steps. In the event of a crisis, it’s easy for small but essential details to slip through the cracks. I’m here to help you make sure you’ve crossed every T and dotted every I. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is that they don’t store their information in one place for their family or successor to easily find. This problem is exacerbated when
Although I know there’s plenty happening around us already, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, with the courts closed, things are taking longer than usual. This is problematic if a family loses a loved one and needs money immediately, but we have some ways to work around this. Second, my team and I are well aware that people who have lost their jobs are going to have a harder time getting life insurance. No matter what situation you find yourself in, now is a good time to consider getting life insurance outside of your employer. That way, in the event that you lose your job, you’ll still have your benefits. In this time of crisis, it’s important to keep a level head. At Colin Smith Law we can support you and help you protect yourself, your assets, and most importantly, your family.
only one person in the family knows where everything is and, suddenly, they’re gone. It can take days to locate important documents, but even worse, some critical information may never be found. When you’re creating your estate plan, it’s crucial to ensure that a few people know where to find that information. In addition to your estate planning documents and information, make sure your family or successor has access to your mobile device, computer, and even your social media accounts, including passwords for all. This is something many people do not think of. These days almost everyone is going paperless, which means providing the location of any scanned documents on your computer or laptop, in addition to computer program access codes and other vital passwords, is significant to your estate planning process. For a full list of the electronic access your family will need and all the estate planning documents you need to have, visit our website at ColinSmithLaw.com/blog.
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THE PROS AND CONS OF BUYING A HOME IN A 55-PLUS COMMUNITY
Depending on your wants and needs, buying a home in a 55-plus community might be a financially savvy way to set yourself up for retirement. But is it the right decision for you? Here are a few financial pros and cons associated with moving into one of these neighborhoods. PRO: THE HOMES ARE IN EXCELLENT CONDITION. Oftentimes, 55-plus communities provide maintenance services, including housekeeping and landscaping. Also, it’s likely that only a handful of people have occupied the home since it was built, so buying in a 55-plus community means you’ll get a property in excellent condition with less wear and tear. CON: YOU’LL HAVE TO PAY A MONTHLY FEE. Unfortunately, all the great stuff doesn’t come free. Usually, you’ll have to pay an extra monthly bill, similar to a homeowners association fee, to live in a 55-plus community. Some communities include all maintenance and amenities in the monthly rent or mortgage (some even cover utility bills), but make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered before you sign a contract! PRO: AMENITIES ARE INCLUDED. Most 55-plus communities include amenities like exercise classes and educational programs for their residents. They also invite community
organizations and leaders to speak about local issues or upcoming elections. Some even have a clubhouse or dining hall for social gatherings. Save money by taking advantage of these programs instead of paying for a gymmembership or a course at the local community college. CON: IT’S A LIMITED BUYER’S AND RENTER’S MARKET. Most people who buy in a 55-plus community plan to retire there. If this is your original intention but your plans change down the road, you might have a harder time selling your home here than you would in a community that is open to people of all ages. Make sure to budget for those potential holding costs and plan accordingly.
Regardless of where you decide to buy, be sure to consult an experienced real estate agent and a financial planner. Here’s to living out your golden years in comfort and convenience! THE $60,000 HEISTYOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF Crimeless Theft in Cyberspace
Because of the risk-reward nature of the game, many players unite in huge factions for safety and to pool their resources. One of these groups, Circle of Two or CO2, was the target of the 2017 attack. Within a matter of hours, CO2’s bank accounts were drained and the space stations holding their fleets of ships were sold to their enemies. It was clear from the beginning: This was an inside job. The thief was CO2’s own head diplomat, a player called “The Judge.” For years he’d worked his way through the alliance’s ranks, only to use the access he eventually gained to rob it blind. But greed may not have been his only motivation. He’d had public disagreements with CO2’s leader called Gigx, and a rival faction was able to capitalize on this internal conflict. During an in-person EVE Online summit held in Iceland, representatives from The GoonSwarm Federation convinced The Judge to leave CO2 and commit the single largest robbery in gaming history on his way out. In the real world, The Judge’s actions were completely legal — currently, international law doesn’t treat such virtual objects as personal property. But this perception may be changing. As in-game purchases become more widespread in video games, legal lines have blurred, causing an increasing number of lawmakers to rethink what constitutes “ownership” in the digital age. But, for now at least, it seems like a good time to be a space pirate.
In 2017, sometime between Sept. 11 and 12, a total of $60,000 worth of digital assets were stolen from people around the world. The conspirators didn’t hide their identities, and they faced no criminal charges. As it turns out, there are no laws against stealing spaceships in a video game — even if they’re worth thousands of real-world dollars. EVE Online is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) that was launched in 2003, and it was on this game that the theft occurred. This science-fiction game is all about spacefaring, but one notable feature of the game is that it allows players to purchase in-game assets with real money. This attracts players who can spend large sums on the game, with some of the game’s largest spaceships costing $9,000. But one thing to note in EVE Online is that no matter how much you pay, once you lose an asset, it’s gone forever.
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TAKE A BREAK
When cats are orphaned as kittens, they don’t get the chance to develop all the skills needed to become successful cats. Just like human children, kittens need older role models too. The most famous cat role model had a rough start in life but became an inspiration for kittens and humans alike. His name was Grandpa Mason, and during the last years of his life, he stepped up and gave love, care, and guidance to the orphaned kittens that lived with him. The Canadian animal rescue group TinyKittens rescued Grandpa Mason in 2016 from a property that was scheduled to be bulldozed. The poor feral tabby was suffering from many health problems, including severe dental issues, a badly injured paw, and advanced kidney disease. Since TinyKittens is a no-kill rescue organization, euthanization was out of the question. Given his health conditions, veterinarians predicted the battle- scarred Grandpa Mason didn’t have long to live, so TinyKittens’ founder, Shelly Roche, took him in and provided him with a comfortable place to sleep, plenty of food, and time to relax in the last months of his life. Grandpa Mason had a hard time adjusting to domestic life and would often shy away from being petted. In an interview with The Dodo, Roche described him as “an elderly gentleman [who] lived his whole life a certain way, and then, all of a sudden, [was] forced to live completely differently.” After Grandpa Mason grew accustomed to his home, Roche took in several foster kittens, and those new roommates completely altered Grandpa Mason’s behavior. Roche expected him to hiss, swat, or growl at the kittens when they invaded his space, but he didn’t. Instead, he allowed them to crawl all over him and appeared to enjoy it when they licked his ear. Suddenly a playful, affectionate, and gentle personality came out of Grandpa Mason as he played with, bathed, taught, and cared for the orphaned kittens that Roche welcomed into her home. Potentially due to the kittens’ influence, Grandpa Mason surpassed his prognosis by more than two years. During the last few years of his life, Grandpa Mason passed on important lessons and good manners to the kittens he looked after and adored, as a true grandfather should. He passed last September, but he spent his last night in his ultimate happy place: snuggling in his bed surrounded by kittens. THE STORY OF GRANDPA MASON How a Feral Cat Came to Care for Orphaned Kittens
STICKY AND SWEET PORK ‘RIBS’
Inspired by Bon Appétit
Whether you’re celebrating your mom or those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, there’s no better recipe to grill up than these delectable country-style pork ribs.
1/2 cup chili oil
2 heads garlic, cloves separated
1/3 cup oyster sauce
3 thumbs ginger, chopped
1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
1 cup hoisin sauce
5 lbs boneless pork shoulder, flattened
3/4 cup fish sauce
2/3 cup honey
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup rice wine
1 tbsp molasses
1. In a blender, purée garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, honey, rice wine, chili oil, oyster sauce, and toasted sesame oil until smooth. 2. Reserve and chill 1 1/2 cups for later use. 3. In a bag, add the remaining mixture and pork shoulder. Marinate for at least 8 hours. 4. Using a convection plate on the grill, cook pork until the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 140–145 F. 5. In a large saucepan, simmer brown sugar, molasses, and reserved marinade for 6–8 minutes. 6. Baste the pork with the brown sugar glaze for 2 minutes before serving.
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972.773.9095 www.ColinSmithLaw.com 5400 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy, Ste. 1200 Dallas, TX 75240
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Support Your Family Through This Pandemic
Is a 55-Plus Community Right for You? A $60,000 Robbery With No Jail Time
Sticky and Sweet Pork ‘Ribs’ The Best Grandfather a Kitten Could Have
Technology Saves the Day
HOW TO STAY IN TOUCHWITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHILE FOLLOWING SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES
SPRUCE UP EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES.
Get in touch with other parents to set up virtual play dates over video chats for your kids. They can even watch a movie or TV show together.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging communities across the U.S. to practice social distancing. While this will help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, it also means that social interactions will be minimal. In addition to impeding many industries and businesses, this has significant impacts on families and friends who can no longer visit each other in person. Luckily, the technology we have today allows us to stay in touch while still practicing social responsibility.
Hopping on the phone or your laptop to video chat is a great way to reach out and catch up with loved ones. While folding laundry or doing other mundane chores, give a friend or your parents a call to idly chat; it can make your tedious tasks much more enjoyable. Video calls are also beneficial if, for example, you’re missing out on your daily workouts with a friend. Hop on a video chat to practice yoga, cardio, or other simple exercise routines together.
HOST A MOVIE NIGHT.
Speaking of movies, Netflix developed a unique way for people to watch movies and shows together: Netflix Party. If you have a desktop or laptop with a Chrome browser, visit NetflixParty. com to download the application. Once downloaded, open the movie or TV series you’d like to watch, create or join a “party,” then relax and enjoy the show while chatting with friends. These are only a few examples of how we can stay in touch during these concerning times. Talk with your family and friends and see what other creative ideas you can come up with together. Even though you may be apart from loved ones right now, virtual communication has never been easier or more plentiful.
LET YOUR KIDS CHAT WITH FRIENDS.
Kids can benefit from video chatting by staying in touch with their friends while school and other activities are canceled. Letting your kids connect to social media is a pretty big step, so consider signing themup for Yoursphere or Kidzworld, kid- friendly networks that let them keep in touch with their friends while you canmonitor their activity.
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