Edition No. 1

Til Death Do Us Part, The Thing That Slips Most Newlyweds' Minds

Congratulations! You’ve celebrated your love on your big day with all your friends and family. Now you’re settling into married life and wrapping up the loose ends like sending thank you cards, choosing wedding photos, and changing last names. Many new couples are also getting ahead of the game by discussing finances, insurance, and even tax plans for the coming year. But somewhere in all the big changes happening in this new married life – Estate Planning is forgotten. An Estate Plan is set of legal documents that protect you and your wishes, as well as the loved ones that will be affected after your death, or if you become unable to make decisions. Estate Planning is something that is often undervalued until you need it. Most people think they need to be old before they need an Estate Plan. While celebrating the happiest time of your life, newlyweds give little thought to what could happen in the worst-case scenario. As unromantic as it may seem, putting together an Estate Plan will help your new spouse, your family, and loved ones avoid spending unnecessary time, money, and stress if something were to happen to you.

The first step is sitting down with your new spouse and talking about your wishes. If you were to become incapacitated, do you want to be kept alive or do you want to be removed from life support? How will your finances be managed if you are unable to manage them? Do you want to be buried or cremated? What type of funeral arrangements do you want? What if something happened to both of you? It’s important to have the conversation and to come to an understanding with your spouse. Then you need to speak with a qualified and experienced Estate Planning attorney to get your Estate Plan in place and provide you and your spouse peace of mind. You may think that a few updates to bank accounts, investments, and life insurance should be enough to cover you, but it’s probably not.

Whether this is your first marriage or not; whether you have no assets or sizable assets; whether you have children or no children; everyone should sit down with an experienced and knowledgeable Estate Planning attorney to discuss their unique situation and learn about the pieces of a well-prepared Estate Plan and how they can work for you. The last few years have shown us that life can be unpredictable and that tragedies can happen at any time and any age. An Estate Plan will help provide love and support to your spouse and family even after your passing. Give the gift that truly shows you care and protects your spouse – an Estate Plan.

Back to School, Keeping Your Cool
Co-Parenting Tips

Back to school – it’s a bittersweet time as another school year begins. School shopping, picking out classes, orientations, and a never-ending to-do list is stressful for any parent or student. This can be particularly difficult when parents live apart. It’s important that both parents share the weight of the work together to create a nurturing environment for their children to succeed. We’ve gathered some tips and tricks to make sure back to school doesn’t feel like an algebra exam.

  • Managing Expectations: Yours may not be the same as your co-parent. Showing up as allies and not enemies begins with understanding and respecting that you both have your own expectations. Talking with your co-parent may be difficult. Start with letting them know that you would like to set aside a time to discuss the coming school year. Working together as a team is always in the best interest of your children. Set the tone with your co-parent by initiating better communication and empathy. This may be challenging, but the impact of what you do and the choices you both make ultimately impact your most precious gift, your children. 
  • Plan Ahead. Planning out a schedule can be a boring task, but planning ahead can save a lot of conflict and drama down the road. Agreeing on drop offs and pickups, events and special occasions can take the pressure off both of you. Setting up a shared calendar together is a helpful tool to keep you both informed and present for your children. Even if your schedule is set, emergencies and school closings can happen, and these types of situations should be planned for ahead of time with both parents sharing the responsibility. Check out this article with some great apps to help you with your co-parenting journey. 8 Best Co-Parenting Apps to Download After Divorce (parents.com) 
  • Same Message / Same Time. Make the school and teachers informed of your co-parenting situation. Doing this at the start of the school year will keep both of you in the loop of what is going on in your children’s school day and at milestones throughout the year. The school should be able to provide you both access to student portals to review assignments, report cards, and to provide feedback. One milestone that you should attend together is parent-teacher conferences. If you cannot attend together, see if the teacher would be open to scheduling one for each of you. In addition to parent teacher conferences, events like the first day of school, award ceremonies, and sports events are common. You may not feel comfortable being around your co-parent for every school ceremony, and that’s okay. Decide and agree in advance who will attend which events. The parent who attends can agree to take pictures or video and to share them with the other parent. Even if it’s not perfect, you can help avoid stressful or embarrassing situations for your child and yourselves by setting and sticking to clear expectations.

Make your story different. You may not be together but that doesn’t mean your child can’t have two parents that get along and work together. Regardless of how you may feel about your co-parent, you should remember that you want your children to have fond, valuable memories of their time in school, with both of their parents putting their differences aside and showing up for them. 

Knowing the Ropes
Boat Safety and Accident Preparedness

It’s that time of year again – sunny bright blue skies, ocean air and a soft breeze; the perfect boating day. You packed the drinks, snacks, and towels. Wait – do you really have everything you need before heading out on the water?

Let’s start with the bare minimum of what is required in Florida. The following items are required by law to be onboard. Additional items may be required depending on the size of your boat. Check out the link to FWC at the end of this article for your specific situation.

  • Personal Floatation Device – For each person aboard you need to have one USCG personal floatation device (life vest). You also need at least one throwable flotation device onboard. 
  • Fire Extinguisher – The fire extinguisher much be USCG approved and in working condition. 
  • Visual Distress Signals –Vessels 16 feet or longer must carry at least 3 daytime and 3 nighttime visual distress signals, sometimes referred to as “flares” (or 3 combination daytime/nighttime signals) at all times when on coastal waters.
  • Sound Producing Device – The device must produce a continuous blast of at least six seconds and be audible for a half mile. This is usually an air horn. 

You should make sure that your fire extinguisher, flares, and air horn are not expired before setting out on the water.

Here are a few additional things to keep in mind before hitting the water:

  • Know your surroundings. Pay attention and keep a look out for paddlers, other boats, swimmers, wildlife, diver flags, shallow areas, and seagrass. Check the weather and tides before and during your trip. Weather conditions can change quickly, and you don’t want to be caught off guard.
  • Bring them along. First aid kit, water-safe whistle, flashlight, bucket, garbage bags, duct tape, mirror and extra ropes are some additional items to bring along. 
  • Use common sense and have patience. Always perform regular boat maintenance before your trip. Be aware that others are trying to enjoy the waters as well, so approach others at a slow speed and provide enough distance to lower risk of an accident. Be patient at docks and gas stations as these are the places that accidents are most likely to occur. Know that there may be new boaters on the water who are still getting the hang of navigating. Instead of pressuring them, remain calm and offer a helping hand if able.

Nobody plans on being in an accident, but being prepared can save lives. What should you do if you’re ever involved in a boating accident? 

  1. Check for injuries and get everyone to safety. The first thing you want to do after an accident is to check yourself for any injuries. If you don’t need medical attention, begin to check for any others that may need medical attention or to be guided to safety.
  2. Call the authorities. Call 911 or the FWC at 850-488-5600, VHF Radio Channel 16. Be prepared to provide your name and information about your location and vessel. It’s a good idea to have the information written down and in a central location in case someone else has to make the call.
  3. Document the accident. If no one needs immediate medical attention, wait for the authorities to arrive. While waiting, begin to document the scene. Collect and write down names, phone numbers, and addresses of anyone involved in the accident or who witnessed the accident. Exchange insurance information with anyone involved in the accident. Take photographs of the scene including injuries and damage to property and vessels.
  4. Seek medical attention. It’s important to make sure that you do not have any injuries. Injuries cannot always be seen or felt immediately. It’s vital to get checked by a doctor and cleared. Even if you feel like your injuries are minor, you need to see a doctor. This could be vital for an insurance claim or personal injury case later down the road. You should keep your records related to accident and any injuries in a safe and secure place.
  5. Seek out an attorney. You may feel your case is straightforward or that you can’t afford an attorney. The insurance company has slick trained adjusters and attorneys, and you should not deal with them on your own. It’s always best to have an expert on your side when dealing with insurance companies. A qualified and experienced attorney can guide and protect you through the process and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side provides you the opportunity to focus on recovering and enjoying your life.

Now you’re ready to catch some rays and safely enjoy your day out on the water. Hopefully it will be nothing but smooth sailing, laughs, and good times; but if a problem does occur, you’ll be prepared. Below is a pre-checklist to utilize before your big day out on the water as well as FWC’s Boating Regulations should you like more detailed information regarding rules and regulations.

Pre-Launch Checklist: Pre-Launch Checklist – Go Boating Florida

FWC Boating Regulations: Boating Regulations | FWC (myfwc.com)

Manatee of Justice

We are proud to announce a new addition to our team, Manatee of Justice. The unveiling of all the manatees purchased by local businesses from Save Crystal River were displayed at July’s First Friday in Crystal River. All the proceeds are going towards maintaining our beautiful waters and keeping them safe and healthy for future generations to come.

Community Food Bank

One of our Core Values at Keith Taylor Law Group is to be Great Community Citizens. We are grateful for the program that Community Food Bank has established for families in need. When the opportunity to help families in need came our way, we couldn’t help but to get involved. Even better is that donations were matched by The Black Diamond Foundation, doubling the $1,000 donation.

Stuff the Bus

From now through August 10th, donate new school supplies that will be added to the Citrus County Education Foundation Free Teacher Store for the school year.

Stop by our Crystal River Office:

1143 N. Lyle Ave, Crystal River, FL 34429