Downs Law Firm, P.C.

Legacy Planning

Legacy Planning

What Will Be Your Legacy?

Your legacy is what you leave behind: What people will remember about you and receive from your life? Legacy planning is about fostering your relationships and passing on what is most important to you for your loved ones.

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Infamy

A Day that Will Live In Infamy

December 7, 1941, is still a day that will live in Infamy. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor changed the course of life for all Americans, and ultimately of the world. President Franklin Roosevelt called on our people to unite. The people of that time rose to the occasion, and persisted for years to prevail to “inevitable triumph“. Those efforts and sacrifices defined that as “The Greatest Generation”. We now enter the winter season with a frightening surge in the spreading coronavirus and are called to our own individual sacrifice and adjustments. I was talking with a man the other day who expressed doubt about the overblown coverage of this pandemic. We are all suffering from fatigue at battling an invisible and unrelenting foe. But to the doubters, we have a death and dying practice and have worked with many families who have suffered deaths from Covid-19. The strains on the hospitals are attested to by my relatives and clients, some of whom are doctors and nurses. We are in for an unusual Christmas and maybe more limitations on movement. I don’t enjoy wearing a mask or miss seeing many of my family members. These are sacrifices of a different scale than those of World War II, but they are ours. We, unfortunately, are also torn apart by bitter politics and dysfunctional leadership at a scale unmatched in my lifetime. Let this not be our season of infamy. We all can only do what we can individually. I will try to respond in a positive and patient way with myself and those I interact with during the upcoming months. We have hope that a vaccine will be a game-changer. However, I hope that how we can rise to our challenge to handle this trial of our time together, and follow the better angels of our nature. As Abraham Lincoln urged his countrymen at another during the challenge of their time: “We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the ‘better angels of our nature.’ ” Failing to unite in action now will cause unnecessary death and suffering. Inflicting this on families by our own failure to take care would be our own season of infamy. We must do better.  

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Beneficiary form

What Should I Know about Beneficiaries?

When you open a financial account, you’re often asked to name a beneficiary. Simply stated, a beneficiary is someone who is entitled to the benefits of the account on the death of the account holder. For example, if you’ve purchased life insurance, you name a beneficiary who receives the benefits of the policy when you pass away.

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Disinherit

Can I Disinherit Anyone I Want?

So, you’ve decided that a family member won’t be getting an inheritance after all. Maybe you have an ungrateful or irresponsible family member you want to cut out of the will.

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Customized estate plan

Your Estate Plan Needs to Be Customized

Estate planning documents often are treated like the photocopied permission slip for a child’s field trip. You fill in your name, include the children’s names and dates of birth, and sign. The document is filed away to be used if needed, but you really never expect it to be used.

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D-Day

D-Day 1944 Storming the Beaches

D-Day, June 6, 1944, was 75 years ago today. It was the pivotal invasion of Normandy, with heavy sacrifices of allied forces that lead to the defeat of Hilter and Nazi Germany. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, then supreme commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces in World War II gave the go-ahead for a massive invasion of Europe called Operation Overlord, encouraging his troop with the following Memo: Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely. But this is the year 1944. Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations1 have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to victory. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory. Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking. See https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwighteisenhowerorderofdday.htm We cannot forget that day, and the sacrifices of our servicemen who stormed the beaches. 36 years later, D-Day took on its own personal meaning for me.  On June 6, 1980, I hit the beach in Delaware on the last day of my first year of law school. I then met my future wife, Margie Lazzati. Our summer fling continues. My privilege to have that later rendezvous with destiny is due somewhat to the supreme sacrifices made by many so that I could grow up free. Thank you. That personal legacy also brings D-Day so much closer for me. As a young man, I was fascinated by WWII history. However, D-Day seemed like ancient history. Looking back now, with the span of 39 years since I met my bride to be, it wasn’t so long ago. Each year I am blessed at least twice on this day. Am I the only one who senses historical events like D-Day are drawing closer to me as I age? History becomes personal when you have some of it yourself.

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