Category Archives: Holidays
To all of our colleagues, business associates, and previous, current and perhaps future clients, here is a special Holiday Card just for you!
First and foremost, we would like to thank all of you for another productive and prosperous year at the Farr Law Firm. The year 2011 brought about a few changes to the Farr Law Firm, including an expansion of our office into neighboring Suite 203 and the addition of two new staff members to our team. We’ve also added our three-part Lunch-n-Learn workshop series to our seminar repertoire which have been extremely well received. We helped over 280+ new clients reach their Estate Planning and Elder Law goals this year, and to further serve our military community we began offering a 15% discount on all of our estate planning services.
Lastly, in an effort to make your experience with our Firm as seamless as possible we recently launched our new “mobile-friendly” website. For those of you who are familiar with our current website don’t worry! Nothing is changing for desktop computer users. What will be different, however, is that from this point forward all users accessing our website via mobile phone or tablet computer will be automatically re-directed to our user-friendly and easy-to-navigate mobile website. You can “Tap to Call,” get real-time directions no matter where you are currently located, claim your military discounts, check on upcoming seminar dates/times, and find the answers to your most frequently asked questions and more. Should you for some reason wish to view our desktop-version on your mobile phone, simply follow the link at the bottom of the page: “Full Site.”
We extend our warmest holiday wishes to you and your family and we hope that you will enjoy special time with family and friends, reflecting on the year gone and looking forward to what comes in 2012.
Happy Holidays from all of us at the Farr Law Firm,
Whether you’re delightedly hosting the big Thanksgiving dinner this year, inherited the privilege, or were delegated the duty, it can be a lot to handle! With so many things to think about–the food, the decor, and the family–it is sometimes difficult to keep an eye on everything and everybody. To avoid ending the day in the emergency room or in the company of the fire department, it would behoove you to take a moment to review these safety tips.
When there are so many cooks in the kitchen and multiple complex dishes being prepared, it is especially important to remember basic kitchen safety. Recall knife safety, making sure that all your stove burners and the oven are off when they aren’t being used. Keep pot handles turned inward to avoid being knocked off the stove, causing burns and a huge mess to boot. Be cautious of letting the little ones help out, and only give them manageable tasks. When it comes to the decor, that beautiful centerpiece of candles and fall foliage is a delight to look at but a definite fire hazard–and more than one family Thanksgiving has been ruined by such a mishap!
If you have elderly guest joining you for the holiday, keep an eye out for these Thanksgiving hazards they might be more susceptible to:
1. Prevent slip-and-fall accidents by cleaning up liquid and grease spills right away.
2. Be mindful of choking hazards for those who have trouble swallowing, or difficult foods for guests with dentures.
3. Don’t stuff the turkey when you put it in the oven–instead, cook the stuffing separately and stuff the bird just before dressing and serving it to avoid potential salmonella poisoning.
4. On the same note, be cautious of under-cooking the turkey to avoid food poisoning. The USDA recommends that the safe temperature range for poultry is a toasty 165-180 degrees, measured with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh.
At the end of the day when the meal is over, take the time to refrigerate leftovers promptly. There’s nothing like a scrumptious next-day turkey sandwich, but it won’t be so delicious if it makes you sick! Remind your departing guests to be watchful of other drivers on the road on their way home, and of course, don’t allow anyone to drink and drive.
From our “Firm Family” to yours, we wish you a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!
If you and your family are fortunate enough to go on that well-deserved resort vacation this year, then there is a good chance you’ll find yourself listening to the all-too-familiar ‘timeshare marketing pitch.’ Most people are familiar with the concept of a timeshare, but there is more to it than meets the eye. The repercussions of owning a timeshare can vary tremendously depending on many things, including whether it is a real property interest, a mere right to use the property, or some other arrangement. Read on for more.
#1 – Timeshares are not Inherently Bad Investments. If a timeshare really interests you (and they are legitimate and worthwhile investments for many families), you can plan in advance to take ownership the right way and avoid legal traps and snares down the road. Most people do not realize the thicket of possible legal ramifications inevitable to owning one (or more). Timeshares are typically sold in a high-pressure environment, chock full of free food, gifts, and even vacations; these tools are all part of an intentional business model designed to encourage vacationers to make impulsive buying decisions.
#2 – Type of Ownership is Critical. If you own real property outside of Virginia and die without proper estate planning documents in place (no, a simple Will is not enough!) then the representative of your estate must appear in every state where such property is located. This means that even if you live in Virginia but you own a timeshare for one week in Florida, if it is considered “real property,” then the Florida courts must determine how it is disposed. Combine that inconvenience with the fact that each state has slightly different estate administration laws and the representative of your estate could have a messy complication on their hands.
If a timeshare is in the form of a deeded contract, it is considered ownership of real property. As you may know, real estate may be sold, rented, and gifted among other things. And as you may have guessed by now, also incident to ownership are real estate taxes and probate. Usually, taxes are included in the timeshare maintenance fee, but probate is another issue. If you die without a trust to dispose of your assets, then the court system will “probate” the Will, or follow the statutes of the state if there is no Will. In any event, dying without a trust and with real property can cause major headaches for your executor. Luckily this can all be avoided.
If the deed to your current or prospective timeshare is a “leasehold deed,” then it means ownership only lasts for a specified period of time. A “right to use” contract means what it sounds like – the purchaser acquires a right to use and enjoy the rights of the property owner (usually a resort). However, the pitfall of a “right to use” contract is the fact that it is possible for “other” benefits you may not care about, like a club membership, to be included. The “right to use” form of timeshare acquisition is used heavily overseas and in Mexico, because the ownership of foreign real property interests opens the door to many more legal issues.
#3 – You Do Not Have to Decide Then and There. Do not sign anything before you leave, unless you have a revocable living trust and have already met with your lawyer regarding the timeshare you are considering. The concept of a timeshare is attractive, but before saying “yes,” it is absolutely imperative to speak with a good estate planning attorney. For those who own timeshares already, it is still equally as important to not purchase another one until you have consulted an attorney, and also equally as important to talk to a good estate planning attorney if you own a timeshare but do not intend to purchase another.
You could forget your mother’s birthday and she would probably let it slide – you might even evade scorn if you forgot her anniversary. But good luck, my friend, if you forget Mother’s Day! In this special post, you will discover three unique gifts suited for three different budgets, plus a special gift from the Farr Law Firm that will enable you to give a gift of “peace of mind” AND a commitment of your own time.
There are countless ways to show your love and affection, and giving a gift is just one. Nothing compares to a sincere and heartfelt expression of gratitude, but here are a few last-minute ideas if you are having a tough time thinking of how to pamper a mother in your life – whether she is your mother, daughter, sister, relative, or friend – one of these gifts is sure to please.
Tried and True: A Classic Spa Package
Price: Your Choice
With the advent of the internet, purchasing a last-minute gift has never been easier. Spa and massage gift certificates have always been a favorite gift on Mother’s Day, so what makes it a unique gift in 2011? Flexibility made possible by technology sets this gift apart this year. Not only can you purchase a gift certificate online, but you can also use the internet to determine the closest or most conveniently located spa to your mother. Moreover, if she has a favorite spa already, you can purchase a gift certificate without stepping foot outside of your home. See SpaFinder.com. You will find many spas listed in the Northern Virginia area alone. With SpaFinder, you can purchase a gift certificate redeemable at any one of 5,000 spas, and they never expire.
The Safe but Innovative Gift: Family Tree Photo Album
Price: About $80
Selected as a top pick this Mother’s Day by the editors at Gifts.com, this picture frame by Red Envelope is no ordinary picture frame. It turns the family tree concept into a three-dimensional sculpture and is a unique way to display photos of family members. This gift is available here, for just under $80.
For the Tech-Savvy Mother: Digital Recipe Reader
Price: About $200
If the mother in your life is a gadget collector and enjoys cooking, consider a digital recipe reading device. “The Demy™ is the world’s first touchscreen, kitchen-safe digital recipe reader.” This device can store up to 2,500 recipes. It is touted as durable, and includes a host of unique features, such as a conversion tool for measurements, built-in timers, and a dictionary of ingredient substitutes for emergencies. You can purchase this product from Barnes & Noble for less than $200.
Often times, the greatest gifts we give in life are intangible. These gifts are intangible because they represent love in a way that a piece of clothing or merchandise just can’t. For example, your mother didn’t get paid a salary to raise you the right way, nor did she gain anything by instilling positive values in your life. And likewise, the time you spend with your parents as an adult is perhaps the most important gift you can give. The best gifts come in forms of leadership, guidance and direction.
On May 21st, 2011, we are holding a free seminar at The Mason Inn Conference Center, located in Fairfax, Virginia. The seminar is meant to provide you and/or your loved ones with peace of mind. From questions such as, “do I need to update my Will?” to “is there any way to protect my assets from long-term care expenses?” to, “are there government benefits I am currently missing out on, like Veterans Aid and Attendance or Medicaid?” this seminar is designed to educate and inspire you.
The seminar will last less than two hours, so we encourage you to take this opportunity to spend the day with your loved one. The seminar will conclude just in time for you to have lunch at one of the many dining establishments in the heart of historic downtown Fairfax and the surrounding area.
So go ahead and pamper your mother this Mother’s Day. She deserves it. But don’t forget to tell her in your own words how much you appreciate her, and most of all, don’t forget to spend quality time with her!
Click Here for a Printer-Friendly Version of our Mother’s Day Gift Certificate