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 […]

Insulate Your Marriage from Problems Online

The Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” He was lucky he didn’t live in the age of Facebook. Thanks to the vast social network, it has never been easier to express an opinion about someone – however unflattering the sentiment may be. In addition to posting written words, it can also be hurtful to upload photographs and videos that were meant for a private audience. And when the object of online derision is an ex-spouse, the pain inflicted can be especially acute. After choosing a companion of good character, […]

The Supreme Court’s Job

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall once stated that “Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.” During the years of the Marshall Court and those that followed, when the huge social issues of the day made their way to the Supreme Court, people like you and me and all the other members of the LGBT community held out hope that achieving that definition of equality could happen someday for us. Maybe it would not be today and maybe not tomorrow – but the hope and the faith that one day we would be […]

Is There Justice … in the Immigration Court system?

This past August 8th, the National Association of Immigration Judges filed a grievance/complaint with the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) based on the actions of US Attorney General Sessions, who ordered an assistant chief judge from Falls Church, Virginia, to travel to Philadelphia for the sole purpose of entering an order of removal against a person who had not appeared for a hearing. The immigration judge (IJ) who had handled the case had closed the removal case because the Office of Chief Counsel (“OCC”) in Philadelphia had not been able to prove that the person had actually received the […]