Sunday, October 22, 2017

As Ben Franklin said ..."an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” - Estate Planning - Power of Attorney

Over the past few months we have run into clients who never thought they would need a Power of Attorney (POA). Without notice, they found themselves with a family member in crisis and they were unable to act for the family member as they felt they needed. People should know age or perceived health were not really factors either.

One client was a nurse whose husband suffered an aneurism in his brain. He was in his 40's and had some medical issues but leading a normal life. He collapsed one night and spent several weeks in a coma. When he came out of it, he was unable to communicate. She did not have a POA. Throughout the worst times, the client was unable to access health insurance records and medical records due to HIPPA and lacking a POA. Other basic decisions became harder to execute. Fortunately, he worked his way back to be able to grant a POA a couple months after the event.
Another client found herself trying to care for one parent with severe Alzheimer's Disease after the other parent died. The parents only gave POA's to each other. Fortunately, the ill parent was already in a care facility. The main problem was paying for it. All the parent's money was instantly locked up because the only person authorizes to make decisions just passed and the living parent had no capacity to make decisions. At that point, the only way to gain authority to make decisions for the court to appoint an guardian for the parent. 

The legal cost for appointing a guardian was thousands of dollars. Depending on the law firm and the complexity of the POA, a POA would have cost between $100 - $1,000; well below the thousands needed for the guardianship action. Also, my client had to advance the costs of the care facility, which was 10's of thousands, until the court granted my client the authority to recover her money from her parent's accounts.

While a POA may not avoid all needs for a guardianship proceeding, it definitely can make the transition easier and can lessen the stress and urgency of the matter. Also, a POA may never be used. But when you need it, you really need it and it is too late then if you don't have it. Prevent making a family crisis worse. Talk to an attorney about this vital legal tool; a Power of Attorney.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark M. Medvesky or Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at

 #bankruptcy Chapter7 #Chapter13 #MontgomeryCounty #lawfirm #BucksCounty #Pennsylvania

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Always check the numbers ... Bankruptcy

I always tell my clients to check my work. Like every professional I know I do my best not to make mistakes. But I am human and sometimes I divide when I should multiple and transpose numbers just like every other normal person. Never assume something is correct just because someone else did it for you. Clients should understand and agree with the work an attorney has completed for them. Legal work is a team effort.

I had two cases this week I initially made small errors. The first case was a simple case and it was easy to turn around rather quickly. The first error was the way I was reading my client's paystubs. Unfortunately, paystubs are not universal. They contain most of the same information but the layout and abbreviations can vary greatly. I misunderstood some deductions.

As I was going through everything with my client, she stopped me at one point and said, "that doesn't sound right." Sure enough, as she went over the paystubs with me, we found the issue. It was an easy fix and everything is good.

The second case dealt with paystubs as well. This was a much more complex case with business records and two different sets of paystubs. It was further complicated because it was "on again and off again" over the last year.

My clients thought they wanted to do it and then they thought the could handle their finances without bankruptcy. I found myself with almost a year worth of records. I had duplicate and gaps. I had documents that became too old and I had to collect updated documents as time passed. I finally thought I had everything I needed.

I did all my calculations and sent the everything to my clients to review before our meeting. They said they went through it all and we were ready to meet. We went through it again line by line and page by page. Before we ended the meeting we found a couple more things I needed but nothing major.

I received the information, starting conducting my final review before filing, and started preparing the final documents. I had this little buzzing in my head thinking, "something isn't right." Sure enough I was not accounting for all the income. I do not know if my clients just missed giving me all the paystubs or I missed them in all the e-mail and record exchanges. Again, an easy fix but I would have like to have caught it earlier in the process.

I'm not sure how closely they reviewed the calculations I sent them. But the client needs to sign the filing. They also need to testify at the creditors meeting that they reviewed the documents, understood them, and they were accurate.

If you are in that position, you really need to make sure that is true. So do not hesitate to question things if they do not seem correct. Your attorney should be able to explain everything to you. No one wants to make mistakes but we all do. Always check the numbers...

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark M. Medvesky or Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at

 #bankruptcy #Chapter7 #Chapter13 #MontgomeryCounty #lawfirm #BucksCounty #Pennsylvania