Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

Any parent will tell you that raising children isn’t easy. The late-night feedings, public tantrums, and constant need for attention can leave even the most devoted mom or dad feeling exhausted. But for those of us in the LGBTQ community, simply becoming a parent can be just as challenging. Whether we try adoption, surrogacy, or other means, the process is likely to involve anxious waiting, many false starts, and difficult legal hurdles. It’s natural then, that same-sex couples and other LGBTQ parents are especially grateful for their children and would do anything to protect them. This sense of devotion should […]

Why the Legal Benefits of Marriage Aren’t Enough

The English author John Lyly once said, “Marriages are made in heaven and consummated on Earth.” Indeed, marriage has long been a two-sided coin. On the one side are the social and emotional aspects of the institution, the “joy and wonder” of marriage. On the other are the legal implications, the rights and privileges the law grants to married couples. After exchanging wedding bands, many couples assume that they have cemented their relationship with every benefit and privilege the law has to offer. Marriage does confer many essential rights – more than a thousand, by one count. But there are […]

Family Separations are Permanent

On July 25th, Border Patrol Chief Brian Hastings testified before the House Judiciary Committee about the policies and procedures of the Border Patrol (“BP”) along the border between the US and Mexico. During his testimony, Chief Hastings revealed a lot about what is occurring to children who are detained. When asked if a three-year old little girl could be classified as a “criminal or national security threat,” his response was that he “did not know the background of the case.” The fact that he would ever consider a toddler a criminal or national security threat speaks volumes about the paranoid […]

Five Things to Do When Death is at Hand

Of the things we’d rather not think about, death certainly tops the list. But whether you see the end of life in spiritual, practical, or philosophical terms, it’s something we all must confront eventually. In the words of one living will, “Death is as much a reality as birth, growth, maturity, and old age—it is the one certainty.” The unpleasantness of the topic can make planning for death easy to put off. In fact, the vast majority of Americans will leave this earth without ever having prepared a will. But when the reality of death is fast approaching, perhaps through […]

What’s Trump Done to Asylum?

There have been many recent changes (amid a flurry of proposals) to the immigration law as it applies to applications for asylum in the US. Both international law and federal law contain provisions for people to apply for asylum or refugee status based on past persecution or well-founded fear of future persecution in their native country. The persecution must be based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. There is a body of cases that have interpreted the asylum law, and its application in the US, since the 1950s. Yet Trump’s former Attorney General […]

Why Your Will May Be Next to Worthless

Robert Burns famously said, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Burns was an 18th century Scottish poet, but he could just as easily have been a modern Estates & Trusts attorney. Too often, this familiar saying applies to the estate of someone who has died. Even if the person had a will, the final determination of who gets what might be dramatically different from what was expected. Why would this be? The simple fact is that a will can do only so much. It controls the assets that you own in your name alone and that […]

Protect Your Loved Ones With a Spendthrift Trust

Providing for someone you care about can be one of life’s great challenges. You may have a spouse or partner who depends on you financially. Or a relative with money problems who sometimes turns to you for help. Or perhaps you are fortunate enough to have children and want to give them every possible advantage in life. Whoever you care for, your life’s work may well focus on supporting them. If someone does rely on you, one of the hardest questions to consider is what they would do without you. You might be able to provide for the person financially […]

When Should You Write Your First Will ?

The idea of being “proactive” has never held much appeal. Burglar alarms are often installed only after the house has been looted. Trip insurance is frequently purchased for the vacation taken after the one that goes awry. And yes, barn doors are often locked after the horse has been stolen. The same is true of having a will prepared. It’s one activity that can’t be put off until after the need arises. Instead, it is often some galvanizing life event that first prompts someone to prepare a will. • “My mother died and her estate was a mess. I want […]

America Immigration Law in Disarray

Since riding down the escalator to announce his candidacy for President, Trump has tried to change the policies and laws concerning people who are not citizens of the US. His attempts have, for the most part, failed because there are federal judges willing to rule against him when lawsuits challenging those attempts were filed. In January and March 2017, Trump signed executive orders trying to ban all Muslims from entering the US. Judges in the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals ruled that those orders were unconstitutional and granted restraining orders until the Supreme Court, in June 2018, entered […]

America’s Nightmare Border Cops

When the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) was created after the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, two agencies were merged to create Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”). At the present time, CBP employs 23,000 Customs agents and 20,000 Border Protection agents. The commonly held belief is that purpose of these agents is to catch terrorists at the borders of the US, including seaports and border ports of entry, as well as any materials that are considered harmful to the US. However, the truth is not so clear cut. CBP has the authority to stop and question anyone at an […]