Lessons Are There For The Learning In Actor’s Death

The tragic death of talented actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent drug overdose offers some important lessons for people least likely to learn them.

English: Philip Seymour Hoffman at the Paris p...

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“One key lesson is the need to make an estate plan when one is going through a personal crisis or a downward spiral,” according to a posting to a legal news website.
The posting points out that Hoffman, after more than two decades of sobriety following drug and alcohol problems when he was in his early 20s, relapsed and underwent rehab again in May 2013.
“It is easy to put off getting one’s affairs in order as it is not pleasant to think about one’s own demise or to find time to do it with a fast-paced lifestyle, but when one has a life-altering wakeup call such as being checked into a drug rehab facility it is important to take that chance to get important things like estate planning done,” the site states. “Other such wakeup call type events to inspire action could be a major medical incident or death of someone close. There are only so many second chances or pauses in the action of life to get one’s business in order.
“Another important lesson from Hoffman is the need to do estate planning any time there are minor children involved. Hoffman is survived by three minor children at his death. Making sure that there is a guardian and a backup guardian and that any inheritance that a child receives is properly managed are key components of any estate plan.”

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Private bar increasingly coming to aid of military

More and more attention is, at last, being paid to the needs of military families, and that includes the area of legal help.
A recent article on the website of the Chicago-based Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law discussed not only the increase in assistance to veterans and their family members, but also the types of legal problems they can sometimes encounter.
“Improving the focus on military family issues is welcome, as the burdens placed on the men and women of our armed forces have increased throughout the past decade, where active-duty service members have become accustomed to frequent and lengthy deployments overseas,” the article states. “This trend has imposed great challenges on our military families, which may not end upon the service member’s discharge into our already-sizable veteran population. These include, unfortunately, a full range of legal issues, many of which are unique to those currently and formerly serving in the armed forces. As these legal needs have grown, they have been met with many local, state, and national initiatives enabling attorneys to step forward to deliver much-needed legal help to active-duty service members and veterans.”
Along with a greater focus on the needs of those serving their country, there has been a decrease, the article notes, in the “we take care of our own” mentality when it comes to legal concerns, paving the way for more private attorneys to become involved in the process.
“There is much that a private bar attorney can to do aid our current and former service members,” the website states.
The types of legal issues service members and their families can face include:

  • Landlord/tenant matters, including deposit recovery problems
  • Family law issues, especially child custody disputes arising around overseas deployment
  • Credit and lending problems, which can include payday loans, auto sales contracts, and interest rate reductions
  • Employment issues, particularly for National Guard members and Reservists needing to enforce reemployment rights
  • Guardianship needs, or estate matters on behalf of families of deceased service members
  • Securing vitally needed benefits for veterans from the Department of Veterans Affairs