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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 29, 2007 / 12 Sivan, 5767

Do we need a ‘conflicts waiver’?

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: After I retired, my wife and I moved to another state to spend our "golden years." Because we had not been to a lawyer in years, we decided to wait until after our move to get new documents in our new state of residence. We carefully chose the firm and the lawyer after much research on our part.


Our needs, we thought, were relatively simple: We don't have a taxable estate, have been married for 49 years and have two grown children who are both professionals, married and stable. I have a sizable IRA and, together, we own our home and our bank and brokerage account. After we laid this out to the lawyer, he made some suggestions, and then shocked us by telling my wife and me that we would have to sign a "conflicts waiver." He told us that there were possible conflicts in doing the work for both of us, and he was duty bound to explain them to us.


While he made a sincere effort to explain it, we still do not understand. Thankfully, your column is also carried in our local paper in our new city. Could you please give us a layman's answer to this conflict silliness? We have been married for a long time and don't see the problem.


A: While it may sound silly or strange, the attorney you saw is doing his job correctly. While we all have heard over and over that "no man can serve two masters" — or mistresses, as the case may be, it probably didn't sink in here. But the fact is, whenever a lawyer represents two or more individuals, there is always at least the potential of a conflict of interest, even when the clients agree about everything.


The same is true when a married couple sees an attorney because the estate plan decided upon, depending on the circumstances, may well result in one spouse being deprived of a legal right. Whenever a person in a joint representation may be deprived of a legal right, the lawyer must advise that person that he or she is entitled to seek the opinion of an independent attorney and, in fact, must recommend a second attorney.


However, when both spouses are adamant that they wish to be represented by the same lawyer, the lawyer should incorporate both spouses' desires in what is called a "joint" or "dual" representation letter that is signed by both spouses. This type of letter is important because both spouses have acknowledged that each was advised of the potential or actual conflict and waived the right to seek independent counsel.


There are some situations in which each spouse should be represented by an independent lawyer — such as a premarital or separation agreement and, depending on the circumstances, some second-marriage situations may also require the need for two lawyers. In addition, where assets are transferred from one spouse to another, extra protection may be warranted.


The joint representation letter should specifically include the parameters of the lawyer's representation that generally include, in estate-planning situations, 1) review of existing wills, powers of attorney, trusts, etc.; 2) recommendations about how each of you wants to dispose of your property at disability or death; 3) preparation of documents necessary to accomplish your goals, including wills, powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney and the like.


The letter should go further to advise you that while in most circumstances one lawyer couldn't represent both of you, your knowledgeable waiver of having independent counsel represent each of you is the reason the lawyer is proceeding. Also, it should include that both of you will provide open and complete disclosures and exchanges of information, and if a conflict does arise in the future, the lawyer must withdraw from any further joint representation and cannot represent either of you


Taking the NextStep: In the more than 18 years that we have been writing our columns, this is the first reader request for information about dual-representation conflicts. This lawyer knows what he is doing.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.

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