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Cobb County Parents! Before You Fill Out Your Child’s Emergency Card This Year . . .

back to schoolDID YOU KNOW…

That if you were to pass away or become incapacitated while your child is at school, the authorities may not release your kids to those you listed on the school emergency card?

Why?

Because by law, the authorities can only leave your kids with their “legal guardian” or surviving parent if something happens to you.

If the surviving parent is unavailable or something happens to you both during school hoursyour child will may possibly be placed into the care of social services until a judge (who doesn’t know you or your wishes!) should decide where they should go.

That is NOT a position you want to put your kids in—especially during a time of grief!

Fortunately, putting a plan in place to make sure your kids are protected if something happens to you is EASY!

Here’s a brief checklist to help you “get your ducks in a row” before the school year starts:

  1. Have I legally documented short and long-term guardians to care for my kids if something happens to me and/or my spouse during school hours?
  2. Do the people I listed on my child’s school emergency card match those I’ve legally named as guardians? (If not, your emergency contacts will only have permission to pick your kids up if they are sick – not care for them if something happens to you).
  3. Have I provided my chosen guardians with the documentation they need and instructions on what to do if called upon in an emergency situation?
  4. Have I prepped the babysitter who watches my child either before school or after school on what to do if something happens to me so child services are not called in?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, now is the perfect time to get a plan in place before the hustle and bustle of school season starts!

Just call me, Cobb County family lawyer, Steve Worrall. As a dad and a lawyer I am passionate about ensuring young families protect their children.  Call 770-425-6060 and ask to schedule a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session at no charge (up to $750 value) and get $250 off your plan (any one of our 3 levels of planning packages) with the mention of this “Back to School” Article.

Together we’ll legally document your choice of guardians and create a plan that ensures your kids are cared for by the people YOU want if the unthinkable happens.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image1491261From all of us at GeorgiaFamilyLaw to you and your families, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

If you haven’t created your estate plan or if it’s been a while since you have and you need to update it, please make the New Year the time you get it done and give a gift of love to the people you love the most and the gift of peace of mind to yourself! Call us at 770.425.6060 and let us help you help your family.

The Extraordinary Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

The Extraordinary Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

The Collaborative Law Institute of Georgia (“CLIG”) has launched an innovative new website which reveals the extraordinary benefits of the collaborative process in resolving divorce and family law disputes through the use of popular texting acronyms and graphics reinforcing the image of two people being able to sit down together or have a beverage together while they discuss and resolve their case. The approach also includes the clever tagline “Divorce With Benefits™.” Here are some of those benefits in the following slideshow:

[sliderplus collaborativebenefits]

As a Marietta and Cobb County collaborative divorce lawyer and an Atlanta collaborative divorce attorney, I am very excited by the new marketing approach and the improved message we can share with the public to educate them about the benefits of collaborative divorce over traditional  litigated divorce. If you have questions about the collaborative process and whether it is right for you and your family, check out the CLIG website or give us a call at 770.425.6060.

6 Common Mistakes Atlanta Parents Make When Naming Guardians for Their Kids

6 Common Mistakes Atlanta Parents Make When Naming Guardians for Their Kids

6 kids-kindergartenDid you know that 69% of parents have not named guardians for their kids Parents fail to nominate guardians for many reasons.  Some don’t know they need to.  Some don’t because it is difficult to think about not being there for your kids.  Some don’t because it’s a source of conflict between couples and their family members.  Of the people who do nominate a legal guardian for their kids (most commonly though a will), many of them fall into the trap of making one of these 6 common mistakes.

  1.  Named a couple to act as guardians without indicating what should happen if the couple broke up or one of the partners in the couple died.  Consider all the possible circumstances that could arise between now and when the couple you choose could be acting as guardians for your kids.  Otherwise, your kids could end up in the care of someone you wouldn’t really want or someone who would not be able to take care of them as well as you wish.
  2. Only named one possible guardian.  What if something happens to your first choice?  Or your second choice for that matter?  At a minimum you should have at least two nominations, but to be safe it would be good to have three or four.
  3. Considered financial resources when deciding who should raise the children.  It is your responsibility to make sure there would be enough money to support your kids until they are at least eighteen.  Also, your guardians do not have to (and often should not) be financial decision makers for your kids.  The greatest consideration in choosing a guardian should be who would love and care for your kids as you would.
  4. Only have a will, which means the Court will handle their money.  Nominating guardians for your kids is not enough by itself.  If your will states that your property passes outright to your kids, and any of your kids is under eighteen when they receive the property, then the Court will place your assets in a guardianship estate for your kids.  When they turn eighteen whatever property is left is given to them outright.
  5. Did not exclude anyone who might challenge their guardian decisions.  Your children could end up with people you never wanted to care for them.  If you have relatives who you know you would not want to be guardians for your kids, you should document your wishes in a confidential letter that could be brought forward if they threaten to go to court to challenge your guardianship nomination.
  6. Only named guardians for the long-term and did not make any arrangements for the short term if they were in an accident.  What would happen in those immediate hours until your permanent guardians could arrive?  Would your babysitter know who to call?  You should always provide your babysitter with a list of temporary guardians to contact if anything were to happen, and you should give those temporary guardians legal authority to take care of your kids.

If you are one of the many Atlanta area parents who has made one of these six common mistakes in naming a guardian, or if you’ve never named a guardian at all, don’t beat yourself up over it.  If you’re reading this article, you still have time to make the right decision for your family to ensure that your kids are loved, cared for, and raised exactly how you would want them to be.

Take action and nominate guardians for your kids today!  You can do it for FREE AND EASY, with no strings attached, right here If you’d like us to review the documents at NO CHARGE when you’re done, call us, your Atlanta area family estate planning law firm, at 770.425.6060 to schedule an appointment. Just mention this SIX COMMON MISTAKES blog post.

Legally Protect Your Firearms NOW With a GA Gun Trust

Legally Protect Your Firearms NOW With a GA Gun Trust

cobb county ga gun trust lawyer

 

A gun trust in Georgia is a unique legal tool in compliance with the National Firearms Act that offers legal protection and greater flexibility for both Title 1 and Title 2 gun owners.

Purchase The Weapons You Want

A gun trust allows you to legally purchase and own a Title II Firearm sold by Class 3 dealers as well as Title 1 firearms with minimal headaches and red-tape.

Protect Your Valuable Weapons For Your Heirs

By placing your firearms in trust, you can ensure that your restricted weapons will stay protected and legally transfer to your heirs without the fear of confiscation, destruction, huge taxes or forced sale by the government.

Enjoy Your Weapons Without Fear of Criminal Liability for Yourself or Loved Ones

A gun trust protects you and your loved ones from unintentional criminal liability under federal and state laws that restrict the transport, possession and sale of firearms.  By naming trustees, you can legally give authority to people you trust to handle your weapons with minimal government involvement or fear of punishment.

Save Money and Expedite the Purchase or Transfer of Restricted Firearms

With a gun trust in place, you won’t have to worry about the Chief Law Enforcement Officer refusing to sign your paperwork because it will bypass this process completely.  Transfers are much faster for weapons held in trust. Fees are also significantly lower with a gun trust in Georgia.

Protect Your Guns From Future Legislation

Placing your firearms in trust now will protect them from sweeping gun control legislation tomorrow.  The provisions in a gun trust can be amended to comply with future laws, keeping your valuable weapons safe and legal.  Otherwise, if your weapons are deemed illegal in the future, you will likely lose the opportunity to create a gun trust.

Shield Your Firearms From Future Creditors or Nursing Homes

A gun trust keeps your firearms out of the reach of creditors or nursing homes if you run into trouble or need long-term care assistance in the future.   A valuable gun collection may also jeopardize your ability to qualify for Medicaid benefits, whereas an Atlanta gun trust keeps the assets legally out of your name so that you can get the resources and benefits you need.   A gun trust also offers protection and keeps your firearms safe in the event of a divorce, bankruptcy or lawsuits….or in the event your heirs face similar issues when they become owners.

Ensure Your Guns Are Handled Responsibly and In A Manner You Want

An Atlanta GA gun trust conveys the serious nature of gun ownership by allowing you to specify when your beneficiaries can receive your firearms and under what circumstances (i.e. At age 21, if proven responsible enough to handle them).  It also allows you to lay out instructions for caring for, and transferring your firearms properly to preserve their value in the event of your death of incapacity.

Buyer Beware! Not All Gun Trusts in Atlanta Are The Same!

The majority of gun trusts found online or in gun stores are ticking time bombs for gun owners. They fail to take into account the complex laws of both the state and federal government, offer minimal protection for transfers and cause the gun owner to commit felonies punishable by fines and jail time because the trusts are often invalid for “technical reasons” beyond the gun owner’s knowledge.  If you have already purchased one of these do-it-yourself gun trusts in Atlanta Georgia, call us to have it reviewed for your protection at no-charge.  If you have not taken the leap yet, consider the minimal price difference of working with an Atlanta gun trust lawyer and do it right from the start.

Don’t Wait To Find Out How an Atlanta Georgia Gun Trust Can Protect Your Valuable Firearms For Your Enjoyment Now and For The Benefit of Your Family When You Are Gone.   

Schedule a FREE “Protect My Firearms” Planning Session With a GeorgiaFamilyLaw Gun Trust Lawyer at No-Charge.   Call 770.425.6060.

The Hero He Didn’t Show. The Hero I Came to Know.

The Hero He Didn’t Show. The Hero I Came to Know.

A Eulogy for My Father,
Charles Robert “Bob” Worrall:
April 29, 1925 – January 8, 2013

Dad dashing

My Dad was a hero.

Now, not just your ordinary, average, everyday hero, mind you. Oh, he was that, to be sure. But he was so much more.

As I was growing up, there was the hero he would show. You know, the normal daily acts of heroism as a husband and father: Working hard, encouraging his kids to do well in school, supporting us emotionally and financially in achieving our goals and so forth.

But then there was the hero he didn’t show. That was the hero I came to know, only in his last decade or so.

After my wife, Karen, and I adopted our daughter, Amanda, from China, I began to learn about, and he would talk more openly about, his military service. It was only then that I began to learn of:

  • The courage of a 17 year old boy who volunteered and enlisted to fight an imperial enemy on the other side of the world;
  • The courage of a boy who was born in Baltimore, and grew up in Atlanta, but who got to see much of this country during his military training and later who got to see much of the world when he was assigned to service in India, Burma and China;
  • The courage of a boy who was called up for duty in the United States Army Air Corps in the summer he had just turned 18;
  • The courage of a boy who learned to fly airplanes shortly after most kids were learning to drive cars;
  • The courage of a boy who, after training from June 1943 until September 1944, got his wings at the rank of Flight Officer; and
  • The courage of a boy who became a man in the service of our country.

He boarded the Army train on Flag Day, June 14, 1943. That was also the birthday of his good friend and later brother-in-law, Cornwell Sirmon, and a few years later, my birthday.

After his military and flight training, in February 1945, he was shipped off to India to serve in the CBI, or China Burma India Theater. There, he participated in what was at the time the largest airlift in world history. His mission was to fly supplies in cargo planes from India to the British Army in Burma. He flew at this time in C-47’s, the workhorses of the Army Air Corps. The routes he would fly would take him up and over or through the Himalayas. Those routes would become known as flying the “Hump.” He would make several of these flights a day and logged hundreds of hours of combat flight time.

band of brothers spot

Later, when the Japanese army had been driven back to Rangoon by the Brits, he began flying in China in the summer of 1945, and was then flying in C-46’s — bigger, less reliable and more dangerous planes.

He flew most often in the heart of China between Kunming and Liuchow, more often than not in such poor weather that most of his landings were by instrument only.

The war with Japan ended in August 1945, soon after he began flying in China, but he remained on duty there for several months, in what for me would become the most fascinating and foreshadowing part of his service. Many years later, he would tell me the stories of how he was among the first Americans in, and the liberators of, many cities in eastern China which the Japanese had occupied prior to and during World War II: Canton (now Guangzhou), Shanghai, Tientsin, and Peking (now Beijing). He also participated in the liberation of a prisoner of war camp outside of Beijing.

He said the Japanese soldiers were allowed to keep their weapons because the Chinese people would have massacred them otherwise. Dad and his fellow airmen were treated like royalty by both the Chinese people and the Japanese soldiers in many of the cities and put up in the finest hotels.

By December 1945, he was on a transport ship crammed to twice its capacity and on his way home on a literal slow boat from China. After a long cross-country train ride from Seattle, he made it back home to Atlanta just in time for Christmas. He was 20 years old, just a few months shy of his 21st birthday. He served in the Air Force Reserves for a few more years after the war and flew from time to time in those duties, but to my knowledge, after that, never flew again. By the end of his service, he had achieved the rank of Second Lieutenant.

As a kid, I would see his medals in our house, hidden away in bureau drawers, but I never knew the stories behind them. He just didn’t talk about them. I understand that most soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines of that era did not. They, like him, were quiet heroes.

From the US Army Air Corps, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters. From the Republic of China and the Chinese Air Force, he was awarded an air medal and the China War Memorial Medal.

He provided this decorated and distinguished military service inside a country that would later bear him a granddaughter, because fifty four years later in 1999, my wife and I adopted our daughter, Amanda, in Hefei, Anhui Province, China. On that trip, we also visited Shanghai and Guangzhou, two of the cities that were liberated by my Dad. Ten years after that, in 2009, we returned to China with Amanda for a heritage tour and visited Beijing for our first time and toured Shanghai again, along with several other beautiful Chinese cities. Between these two trips, Dad began sharing with me the many stories of his adventures in China. For example, he told us about how he was one of the first Americans to enter the Forbidden City after the end of the war and how the Japanese had stripped the gold off of all of the buildings there. We were able to go there and see the Forbidden City now and share pictures with him of how it looks today.

My brother gave him the hat he loved so much, his World War II Veteran’s hat. He received so much positive attention from so many people when he wore it. This also seemed to encourage him to share his stories.

These 3 years of his young life shaped him and formed him to be the man we saw and knew and loved.

After returning home from the war, he met and married my Mom, Barbara, and they parted only this week, over 65 years later. He got his college degree in animal husbandry from the University of Georgia. They bought a 250 acre farm in Austell and there raised me, my sister Peggy and my brother David. He worked as a rural letter carrier in Mableton and Mom worked at Lockheed.

He taught me a love of nature and the outdoors, and the value of hard work, of helping others, of keeping your word and doing what’s right.

He was a wonderful husband to my Mom and a great dad to me, Peggy and David, and later a great father-in-law to my first wife Sandra, my wife Karen, Peggy’s former husband Alan, David’s first wife Christine and his wife Zornitsa, and a wonderful grandfather to my children, Bob, Stephanie, and Amanda, Peggy’s children Kristina, and her husband Brian, Meredith and Jason, and David’s children, Vanessa and Brendan. He was a dear brother to my Aunt Virginia, my Uncle Jim and my Uncle George and brother-in-law to my Uncle Cornwell, Aunt Frances and Aunt Jean, and uncle to my cousins, Rick, Gail, Amy, Fran, Nancy, and Kim, and all of their families.

That farm was their home for 46 years. 12 years ago they sold the farm, which was developed into a new subdivision. They moved to their home in Kennesaw, which was a dream house for them both. The subdivision which was built on our old home place preserved our name and Dad’s legacy on the property by naming the forest on the south end of the farm, the land between the confluence of three creeks: Ollie Creek, Noses Creek and Sweetwater Creek, as “Worrall Woods.”

As many of you know, I am a lawyer and in the last few years, I have been doing more and more estate planning as part of my practice. One thing I try to do differently from other lawyers is to focus on what we call the “whole family wealth:” our intangible assets, the things that make us uniquely who we are and what are important to us; the values, insights, stories and experiences that are lost to our families when we die. My Dad has given us so much of his whole family wealth. In 2000, he recorded many of his stories and they were made a part of a video project by Readers Digest which created a personalized videotape introduced by Walter Cronkite and then, using film and images from the National Archives and pictures provided by the veteran, told the story of these members of “the Greatest Generation,” called “When I Went to War.” This videotape, recorded in his own voice, is so valuable and precious to all of us, especially to his children and grandchildren.

And just this week, after he passed away, I found in a drawer in his file cabinet, along with his military medals a literal treasure chest in a cardboard shoebox. Inside that box were probably 200 letters he had written between 1943 and 1945 to his parents or his brothers and sister, recounting his stories from his service at the time the events were happening. I can’t tell you how marvelous it is to know that this piece of him will live on for us all.

Family was so important for my Dad. He and his brothers and sister, and my grandparents while they were alive, made sure we kept in frequent contact both while I was growing up and after I had started my own family. Over the years, we lost his father and my grandfather, Charlie, his mother and my grandmother, Emma, his brother-in-law and my uncle, Cornwell, and recently his brother and my uncle, Jim.

Our last family reunion was last Thanksgiving. I am so grateful to my Aunt Virginia, Aunt Frances, Uncle George and Aunt Jean, and almost all of my cousins and their spouses and so many of their children and their spouses and their children, for traveling to Mom and Dad’s home and letting him regale them with the stories I have shared with you today and so many more. I take great comfort in knowing that today Dad is with his parents and with his brother Jim and his brother-in-law Cornwell, all of whom he loved so much.

Zig Ziglar said, “Fear means two things … Forget Everything And Run OR Face Everything And Rise. The Choice is yours.” Throughout his life, Dad chose to face everything and rise. The courage he displayed during those three years, between the ages of 17 and 20 years old, as an airman training and fighting overseas was the same courage we saw him display in his final three years fighting an internal and infernal enemy. Although he ultimately lost that battle, he fought it hard and gave us three more years of time with him.

Those of us who remain and who loved him knew him as a great Husband, Father, Father-in-law, Grandfather, Uncle or Great Uncle, Brother, Brother-in- law, or Friend. He was known through his life as a Pilot, a Farmer, a Postman, and a Hero.

I am proud of my Dad.

I am proud to be his son.

He has now taken off on his final flight and final mission.

Godspeed, Lieutenant.

Goodbye, Dad.

You did it your way and I love you.

Dad later

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“My Way,” performed by Frank Sinatra

Songwriters: JACQUES REVAUX, CLAUDE FRANCOIS, GILLES THIBAUT, PAUL ANKA

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way.

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way.

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way,
“Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way”

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

Yes, it was my way.