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Archive for May, 2011

Health Care Directive – Estate Planning 05.19.2011

When it comes to estate planning, we tell our clients that there are at least four documents a person should execute in order to have a thorough estate plan in place: (1) a Will or Trust, (2) a Durable Financial Power of Attorney, (3) a Health Care Power of Attorney and (4) a Health Care Directive (also known as a Living Will or Advance Directive).

A Health Care Directive is the document you use to identify your specific wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment should you have a terminal condition from which there is little or no chance of recovery and you are near death. A Health Care Directive will not only identify your specific wishes, it will also alleviate the burden your family might feel if they are forced to make those decisions because you are unable to.

Normally, your wishes only take effect if your physicians certify that the use of life-sustaining treatment would only prolong the process of dying. If you do not desire that such treatment be used and that you be allowed to die naturally or that you do not desire artificially provided nutrition and/or hydration, you identify this in your Health Care Directive.

You may also give further written instructions regarding your care, including your desire to receive or not receive medication that might alleviate your pain but could also hasten your death.

If you have questions about a Health Care Directive, give us a call at either our Battle Ground or our Snoqualmie office. We can assist you with all your estate planning needs.

Ethics and Attorney Fees 05.12.2011

Lawyers don’t hear as many “lawyer jokes” as you might think, but every once in a while a great joke is sent our way. I couldn’t resist posting this one:

An ancient, nearly blind old woman retained the local lawyer to draft her last will and testament, for which he charged her two hundred dollars. As she rose to leave, she took the money out of her purse and handed it to him, enclosing a third hundred dollar bill by mistake. Immediately the attorney realized he was faced with a crushing ethical question: Should he tell his partner?

If you have a good lawyer joke, send it along to it Jeff or me at our Battle Ground office or to Matt in our Snoqualmie office. We’re always ready to laugh at ourselves (or at each other).

No Pain, No Gain. 05.09.2011

We’re a physically active group at Joner Lindberg Baker. We run, we hike, we climb, we swim, we bike, we lift. We are dedicated to staying in (at least reasonable) physical shape. But like most people, getting consistent exercise and maintaining a healthy diet isn’t always the easiest thing to do. In order to be as successful as we’d like in our physical performance, there are four steps we have to employ on a regular basis:

1. Create a do-able plan
2. Find a source of accountability
3. Work, work, work
4. Measure, adjust and reward

As you run your business, you should also consider how these four steps can help you achieve the business performance you are seeking.

Create a Do-able Plan
We will continue to encourage all of our business clients to plan, plan, plan. You are substantially more likely to achieve your goals if you define those goals in the first place! A plan is the map your business will follow on it’s journey, and if you don’t have a good map, you are likely to get lost.

Find A Source of Accountability
Just as it’s easy to fall off the exercise bandwagon after a short-period of success, it’s also easy to abandon your business plan. The easiest way to ensure that you stay on your exercise regime is to hire a trainer or workout with a buddy. The same goes for your business. You can develop your relationship with your lawyer, accountant, insurance agent and financial adviser so that these professionals can keep you aiming at your goals. You can also team up with other business owners to form an informal “board of directors” for your business. This “board” can then help move you along when you feel the dedication to sticking to your plans slipping away.

Work, Work, Work
The old adage of “No pain . . . no gain” is true. If you don’t work hard, you won’t see any positive results. Don’t let your insecurities dominate you. Work hard! Hard work over a long period of time is sometimes the only way you will ever get the results you want. Don’t give up!

Measure, Adjust and Reward
It’s easy to feel and see your physical body transform while engaging in a long-term workout program. You lose fat. You gain lean muscle mass. You have more energy. You can move faster and for a longer period of time without the same fatigue you used to encounter. A healthy business also has measurables you can monitor regularly. You can see a bigger profit margin. You have better systems in place. Your employees are happier. Your ability to give back to your community is enhanced. Just like you step on the scale at home, step on the scale at work too. Measure the progress of your goals, adjust those goals when necessary and don’t forget to reward yourself (and your employees) when you reach or exceed a goal!

As always, if the attorneys in Snoqualmie or Battle Ground can help you with any aspect of running your business, please give us a call . . . or better yet, come on a run, ride or hike with us. We’d be glad to have you join us!

Turning Complex Issues Into Simple Solutions 05.04.2011

“Occam’s razor” is a principle of reasoning that says, among competing hypothesis, the one that makes the fewest assumptions is usually the one to go with. In recent years, many popular books and movies have incorrectly shortened Occam’s razor to mean that the simplest explanation is most likely the correct explanation. Or, perhaps more accurately, the simplest explanation that covers all the facts is usually the best.

Leonardo da Vinci’s interpretation of Occam’s razor was that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Albert Einstein put it this way: make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

At Joner Lindberg Baker, we like the way Einstein interpreted Occam’s razor. As lawyers, our job is not to make your life more complicated. Our goal is to take the complexity in your life or your business and simplify that complexity as much as possible. We understand that we can’t always make things truly simple, but, most of the time, we can make things as simple as possible.

Most attorneys, in explaining how Occam’s theory applies to your legal matter might say something like, “Concepts are not to be multiplied beyond necessity – the corollary of which is: nor are they to be integrated in disregard of necessity.”

At Joner Lindberg Baker we simply say that we’ll do our best to turn your complex issues into simple solutions.