The Moak Law Firm February 2019

The Biggest Decision Helping People Do What’s Right

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O ne of the biggest decisions of my life was when I chose to become a lawyer. I made that choice because of a childhood nursery rhyme called “Rich Man, Poor Man.” This nursery rhyme listed off various career paths and one verse put the doctor just before the lawyer. As a child, I really took this to heart. When I was six years old, my older brother said he wanted to be a doctor. I knew the next in line was lawyer, so that’s what I decided to be. My brother never became a doctor, but I stayed true to the path. Today I’m proud to say I’ve been practicing law in Arizona for over 40 years. As I matured, I made a point to learn more about the law. I became devoted to the concept of justice that allows people to have the freedom to create contracts and relationships that must be honored under the law. People are expected to be true to their word. We have a justice system that helps people do what’s right, and I wanted to be part of that. I’ve been practicing in Arizona since 1977, and my career led me through a few different areas of the law. Today, I practice primarily personal injury law and bankruptcy law. I’ve been working in personal injury in some capacity since I passed the bar, because that’s the area I scored highest while in law school. Once I started working in personal injury in a professional capacity, I quickly learned how rewarding it was to help people who are most in need of help. As for bankruptcy, I started working in this area in the early 2000s because many of my clients were asking for bankruptcy help. I have since filed a few thousand cases. Bankruptcy is a very merciful area of the law. It gives people a chance at redemption, to free themselves from the bonds of overwhelming debt.

“We have a justice

system that helps people do what’s right, and I wanted to be part of that.”

Bankruptcy and personal injury seem like very different fields, but they have more in common than you’d think. When I take on a bankruptcy or a personal injury case, more often than not, I’m working with a client who has lost all hope. They’re crushed beneath mounting debts or suffering from physical pain caused by someone else’s negligence. They can’t imagine a brighter future. As their attorney, it’s my job to use the law to help my clients. I can help my personal injury clients get compensation to help them pay their medical bills and begin their recovery process. I can help my bankruptcy clients start fresh and contribute to our economy again. It’s rewarding to help my clients find hope again. My most important job is to listen to my clients. I need to hear about their situation, what they’re experiencing, and make the complex nature of law easy to understand. When someone comes to me for help, they don’t need a bunch of legal jargon. They need answers and for someone to show them what they need to do next. It’s my privilege to be that person. A nursery rhyme may have set me on this path, but my love of the law and knowledge that I’m truly able to help people is what keeps me walking down my path every day.

–Walter E. “Pete” Moak

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February 2019

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Why Do We Need a Leap Year? The Calculations That Leave Us in Need of an Extra Day

Every four years, February gains an extra day at the end of the month. But what does this contribute to the year as a whole? You might be surprised by what this one day does for us! The 365 days in each year represent the time it takes for the Earth to circle the sun. However, the orbit actually takes nearly a quarter of a day longer than that. The additional 0.2421 of a day might not seem like it would make a significant impact, but after a few decades, it adds up. To ensure the calendar and seasons stay on the right timeline, the leap day was created. The Egyptians were the first to officially calculate how many days it takes to orbit the sun, revealing the need for a leap year. Europeans at the time used a calendar that followed a lunar model, which needed an entire month added to retain consistency. The leap year wasn’t introduced into Europe until the reign of Julius Caesar. With the help of astronomer Sosigenes, Caesar created the The Start of the Leap Year

Julian Calendar, which included 12 months and 365 days, with a single day added every fourth year.

“The odds of being born on Feb. 29 are about 1 in 1,500...”

A Leap Day Birthday

The odds of being born on Feb. 29 are about 1 in 1,500, which leaves approximately 187,000 people in the U.S. and 4 million people around the world celebrating their birthdays on Feb. 28 or March 1. People born on a Leap Day are faced with dilemmas such as which date they should receive their driver’s license. Although it varies from state to state, most consider March 1 the appropriate day for leap-year 16-year-olds — who are celebrating their fourth “official” birthday — to receive their license. With all the changes the calendar has undergone, it still isn’t quite perfect. Experts say that in about 10,000 years, it will need to be changed yet again.

However, the Julian Calendar wasn’t perfect, because 0.2421 of a day can’t be rounded to a multiple of five, so it caused the calendar to have an extra 11 minutes every four years. Pope Gregory XIII fixed the problem in 1582 by creating the Gregorian Calendar. Now, a leap year occurs every four years except for the years that are evenly divisible by 100 and not 400. For instance, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years because they were divisible by 100.

You’re NOT Covered Don’t Be Caught Off Guard by Misleading Coverage

negligence, our clients are shocked when their insurance company refuses to cover the bills.

more often than not, this coverage can’t cover the costs. This doesn’t even take into account the thousands of uninsured drivers on the road. If you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance, there’s almost no way for you to get compensation for your accident. It’s important to have insurance that protects you and your family from the negligence of others. Look into adding uninsured/ underinsured coverage, medical payments coverage, and more liability coverage to your insurance plan. We encourage you to call your insurance adjuster today and increase your coverage as much as you can reasonably afford. A few extra bucks for insurance per month could pay off in a big way if you’re ever in an accident.

“But I have full coverage!” they object. The truth is, full-coverage auto insurance doesn’t mean you have the most coverage possible. It means that in addition to the minimum amount of liability insurance required in Arizona and collision insurance, you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage is great if you park next to a building that’s being painted and someone spills paint on your car, but it does very little to help pay for medical bills after a car accident. Arizona requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 for collision coverage and $30,000 in bodily liability coverage to pay for an accident they cause. But medical bills add up fast and

Your life can change in an instant. One second, you’re sitting at a red light on your way to work, and the next second, a driver who was looking down at their phone slams into your bumper. Your car is totaled and you wake up in the hospital. But at least you woke up. And you were smart and bought full-coverage auto insurance! Your insurance company will take care of everything, right?

This is something we hear at the office all the time. After being injured by another driver’s

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How to Rebuild After Bankruptcy: Part 1

When someone files for bankruptcy, they’re often filled with dread for the future. They fear that filing for bankruptcy will ruin their credit for life, preventing them from ever being able to buy a house, be approved for a car loan, or even get a new credit card. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to have a great credit score after filing for bankruptcy if you know the right steps to take. The first step is to know exactly what your credit score is. You can’t start planning a trip if you don’t know where you’re starting from. If you’ve just filed bankruptcy, this number probably isn’t very pretty, but you can’t hide from it. By law, the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are required to give you a free copy of your credit report once a year. Your credit report is essentially your financial report card. You can get it at AnnualCreditReport.com. It’s important to check your credit report regularly because it’s possible that some negative things on your credit report are false and can be disputed. Between 30 and 60 percent of Americans have errors on their credit report. You don’t want bad information bringing your score down.

Check your report from one of the three agencies every three months to look for misinformation. Your credit report will not have your credit score. To access your credit score, you’ll have to pay for a service like myFICO.com, which pools together your credit reports from the three major bureaus to create a score. This number is what lenders use to decide if they’re going to extend you a line of credit. But that score doesn’t reflect who you are as a person or what you’re capable of. If you have a score of 620, 520, or even a 300, it doesn’t mean you are irresponsible or untrustworthy. It just means you’ve hit a rough patch, but you can overcome it! It’s important to remember that bankruptcy isn’t the end of the line; it’s the first step to freeing yourself from the bonds of overwhelming debt and become a contributing member of your community again. If you’re struggling beneath impossible debt, we can help you navigate the bankruptcy process and rebuild your credit. Give us a call at 480-755- 8000 and ask what you need to do to enjoy a credit score of 720 or higher.

What’s Your Credit Score?

recipe:

Word Search

Valentine’s Day Cookie Cards

Directions:

Roll this classic sugar cookie recipe into thin sheets and cut into rectangles for delicious valentines.

1. Heat oven to 375 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour with sugar and salt. Add butter and combine using a mixer at low speed, until butter breaks down into small, crumbly pieces. Increase mixing speed to medium and mix until butter and flour clump. 3. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract to bowl, return mixer to low, and mix until dough congeals. 4. Carefully roll dough into a sheet 1/16- inch thick and cut into 4x6-inch cards. 5. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake cookie cards for 6 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. 6. Let cookies cool completely, decorate, and distribute.

Ingredients:

• • • • • • •

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

AQUARIUS CHOCOLATE FEBRUARY LEAP ROSES YEAR

ARROW CUPID FLOWERS LOVE

DATE HEART PISCES VALENTINE

2 large egg yolks

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Royal icing, sprinkles, and edible markers, for decorating

SWEET CANDY

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INSIDE This Issue

1

What Do Bankruptcy and Personal Injury Have in Common?

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Why Do We Need a Leap Year? The Unpleasant Truth About Full Coverage Bankruptcy Isn’t the End Valentine’s Day Cookie Cards

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3 Cheers for Chi Chi!

In our darkest moments, it can be hard to believe joy can be found again. But one amazing dog proves that no matter what happens, through love and patience, we can make the world a better place. Chi Chi is a golden retriever who was found in a dumpster by an animal rescue group in South Korea. Badly injured and left in a garbage bag with her legs bound together, the only way to save Chi Chi’s life was to amputate all four of her legs. As she recovered, the call went out to find a family who could care for a dog with serious medical needs. As a quadruple amputee, just getting Chi Chi’s prosthetics on so she could go outside in the morning would be time-consuming. Fortunately, Elizabeth Howell from Arizona saw a video about Chi Chi’s plight online.

“She stole my heart,” Howell said, taken by how Chi Chi was still wagging her tail despite her injuries. After seeing Chi Chi’s perseverance and her will to live, Elizabeth and her family took on the challenge. There were struggles as Chi Chi learned to trust people again, but with time, Chi Chi found peace and joy with her new family.

her love and compassion in abundance,” Howell has said. “Her sweet-tempered and gentle spirit opens people’s hearts and her perceptive spirit senses where her love is needed.” Chi Chi’s vet has called her a “miracle dog,” referring both to the fact that she survived losing all her legs and to the joy she brings to the world. Today, Chi Chi is a registered therapy dog, offering strength, love, and support to those who need it most. She visits VA hospitals, assisted living facilities, and children with disabilities. To celebrate her journey of survival, courage, and love, Chi Chi was honored with the American Humane Hero Dog Award in 2018. You can follow the adventures of this brave, loving canine at Facebook.com/ ChiChiRescueDog.

“She exemplifies resilience and forgiveness and willingly shares

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