Pamela Higer-Polani, 

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Secrets that Attorneys Want You to Know but do not always Share!

Posted on December 6, 2022 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (7)


Close the Door, Turn Off the Phone, Give the Dog a Treat and Pay Attention because I am about to reveal Secrets that Attorneys Want You to Know but do not always Share! Sometimes civil legal action is unavoidable. If and when you ever need to retain an attorney, here are some tips to help you navigate through the process:


1. Take Advice from Kenny Rogers

Potential Clients always seem surprised when I heavily discourage them from hiring my law firm to settle disputes they have, especially if other family members are involved. As a Probate & Trust attorney, I know too well that once I become retained, tensions in a legal crisis quickly escalate. Likewise, even if an injustice is obvious and blatant to you, it usually takes a lot of patience, time & money before results will be obtained, if ever. As the song says, “You’ve Got to Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em, Know When to Walk Away, and Know When to Run”. This is why my office also provides Estate Planning services, attempting to prevent such measures from ever being needed.


2. Don’t Hire a Podiatrist when You Need a Surgeon

Everyone has a neighbor or a colleague’s sister that practices law. To ensure you receive the best results, make sure to retain an attorney that focuses solely on the area that you need. For instance, a lawyer that handles divorces should not draft your Last Will & Testament as that person may not be aware of the most updated Elder Law statutes or understand the full ramifications of the instrument prepared, both of which will likely result in unintended Probate or court appearances. Remember: you are not hiring an attorney solely to prepare documents. Rather, you should choose a lawyer for their knowledge, expertise and experience in that specific field.


3. The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Oil

We want to Hear from You! Do not be intimidated or afraid to contact your attorney. As long as the conversations are productive and conducive to the efforts being undertaken, our office does not even charge, generally, for email or telephone communications with our clients. To represent you properly we need to know all the details regarding your legal concerns. This does not include talking incessantly about non-related issues or calling a personal cellphone at 6 am, both of which will more than likely cause your lawyer to terminate your working-relationship. Nonetheless, keeping your attorney updated and informed on a regular basis should be constant and anticipated. Likewise, if you do not understand some aspect, please ask! Being courteous and respectful of your attorney’s time is important, and so is your comfort level. Your attorney should be prepared to review details of your legal work with you, making you feel as empowered and knowledgeable as possible throughout.


4. Mimic “Sherlock Holmes”

Relying on your attorney for all the information needed, whether for transactional or litigation matters, is unrealistic. Be prepared to create the timeline, provide contact names and the research needed to assist your attorney with protecting your legal interests. Moreover, the more organized and reliable the facts are presented, the more your attorney will be able to understand how best to serve you. Conversely, the more groundwork your attorney must do, the longer your case will take to resolve and more money will be billed to your account. So save yourself time and funds by ensuring you provide your attorney in a timely manner with all the informational tools they need to represent you properly.


5. Don’t Confuse Google for a Law Degree

Advice obtained by the internet or well-intended friends generally is worth what you paid for it. If you are thinking, nothing – Exactly! Never ceases to amaze me when people will attempt to handle their own legal matters. You would likely never try to re-wire your house, your most prized asset, on your own without the assistance of a trained, licensed Electrician. So why would you try to save a few pennies and potentially lose your home by not having suitable legal representation? Improperly Changing the Title on a Deed, Defending a Foreclosure Action or Drafting Estate Documents all require expertise and experience. By the time that you realize that you made a mistake, it may be too late or extremely costly to fix. Why take the Risk? Likewise, seeking the most affordable lawyer may not be a great idea either. Too good to be true usually ends in disappointment and money wasted. There is always someone willing to do things cheaper. Again, Why take the Risk?


Remember, Before YOUR Troubles Hit the Fan,

Please Create Your Estate Plan. 

Don't Let Your Fears Become Bigger than You..

Posted on September 1, 2022 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (629)

Having enjoyed my vacation a bit too much, I decided I needed some exercise.

Unfortunately, once my mind is set on a goal, I sometimes have a difficult time changing paths, as do we all, from time to time.

For instance, on a recent bike ride, admittedly there were signs that indicated I should turn around and go home.

Maybe I should have heeded the warnings, such as when someone started driving their car in the actual bicycle lane with me in it or when my shoelace became caught in the bike gears. Yes, both things actually did happen!

Likewise, as clouds started forming quickly, perhaps you would have thought that a good time to get to a safe place.

However, you do realize that I am a very determined individual, yes?

Only when thunder rumbled and a deluge of water hit my head, did I finally stop and assess my situation.

Why had I not called for help at the first indication of impending rain? Sought shelter before the rain poured down? Changed direction when I still could?

Many of us often do not appreciate our situation, whether financial, legal or medical, until some external factor forces us to do so.

As a probate attorney, I often hear that clients had intended to address estate planning issues in their lifetime but never got around to it. Not facing reality is easier sometimes until, unfortunately, we have no choice whatsoever about that issue. Ignoring the signs of what is happening around us becomes a battle of wills, with most of us preferring to not take control or face an unpleasant situation.

Unfortunately, limiting our options rarely turns out to be a satisfactory decision for anyone.

A colleague recently retained me indicating that he wanted to arrange for all four of his children to sign in my office several basic estate-planning documents, such as a Durable Power of Attorney, Pre-Need Designation of Guardianship and HIPAA, now that each child was over 18 years old.

When I raised the topic of Living Wills and Health Care Surrogate Designation, he adamantly said “no”, and could not discuss the possibility that any of his children (or himself) would ever be diagnosed in a permanent vegetative condition. I was amazed! Here sat in front of me, an educated, worldly and highly intelligent individual, who handled many different legal complexities but could not bring himself to discuss a very real, albeit depressing, situation.

Just like you carry an umbrella, a bottle of water, and a cellphone in case of emergency, taking care of yourself must be a priority, not an after-thought.

Don’t Let Your Fears Become Bigger than You and leave you without options.

Remember, Before Your Troubles Hit the Fan, Please Make Sure to Create Your Estate Plan!

 

Tips to Protect You from Fraud!!

Posted on August 3, 2022 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (472)

Tips to Protect You from Fraud!

 

If you’re purchasing a new home in Palm Beach County – whether it’s your first time, upgrading or downsizing –please protect yourself from possible fraud!!

 

Florida is not only one of the hottest housing markets in the country but it is also one of the areas most impacted by fraudulent activity!

 

Here are some suggestions to consider as you settle into your new home:

 

Tip #1: SIGN UP FOR PROPERTY FRAUD ALERTS.

 

Once you unpack a few essentials, take the first step to protect what is likely your greatest financial asset by registering at: https://www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/services/property-fraud-alert

 

This site helps monitor your name (and include your spouse or anyone else whose name may appear on the deed) in the Clerk of Court’s Official Records system. This way, whenever a document is recorded in Palm Beach County, you will receive an alert within 48 hours, detailing what was recorded.

 

Staying vigilant is crucial and signing up is simple: Just register with an email address and the Clerk of Court will handle the rest!

 

Tip #2: DON’T OVERPAY FOR A COPY OF YOUR DEED

 

Upon recording a deed, many homeowners then receive a very official-looking notice, which states that by paying $89 for their services, you can get copies of records of your property deed and/or other property records.

 

However, all of these documents can be retrieved and viewed for absolutely no cost whatsoever!!

 

100% FREE at: https://www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/records/official-records/official-records-search.

 

Not computer-savvy? Hard-copies are available from the Clerk of Court at only $1 per page!

 

Tip #3: KNOW YOUR PROPERTY’S VALUE

 

Every August, the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser notifies taxpayers of their property’s assessed and market values.

 

If you have a legitimate and reasonable belief that the assessment, classification or exemption status for your property is not accurate, you may (and should) file a Petition with the Value Adjustment Board at https://www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/departments/value-adjustment-board.

Being Educated, Prudent and Vigilant will all help prevent you from becoming a Victim of Exploitative Predators!

 

Most important, Congratulations on you on your new home and Welcome to Paradise!

 

Remember: BEFORE Your Troubles Hit the Fan, Please Create Your Estate Plan!!!

 

 

Nearly ten years ago...

Posted on May 2, 2022 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (3503)

"Sleeping through the night"...

Posted on April 25, 2022 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (367)

Nearly every Friday ...

Posted on June 4, 2020 at 12:10 PM Comments comments (10316)
Nearly every Friday I write a post, wishing everyone Shabbat Shalom, a peaceful weekend. Not this Friday, not after seeing such hurt unfold around us. In spite of the Beautiful Weather, the thrill & miracle of the successful SpaceX rocket launch, the outpouring of love & support over our sons' Graduations and our youngest's 18th birthday, a Very Dismal cloud cast a long shadow over our Celebrations. In a year of so many global tragedies and natural disasters from wildfires, airplane crashes, earthquakes, flooding, giant murdering insects and a pandemic, my Heart absolutely Aches over the one we created for ourselves.

The irony doesn't escape me that only a short while ago, Jews celebrated the holiday of Passover, a reminder to appreciate Freedom from Tyranny, a Renewal of Faith. Just this past week, we celebrated the holiday of Shavuot, not only when the 10 Commandments were given, but also a time, a distinction not to be forgotten, when we accepted these principles by which to lead our lives. The same beliefs that have been widely espoused through the centuries, the foundation of Christianity and Islam, as well. As an attorney, the genesis of the Rule of Law fascinates me, forming the structure of all my personal and professional endeavors.

Nonetheless, injustices, large and small, prevail. Anger, Frustration and Fear rule our actions, rather than Kindness, Forgiveness and Generosity of spirit. I am very much as guilty of this as anyone, losing my temper and patience way too often, nearly every day. The consequences of my interactions may not be as impactful and publicized as recent news. However, doesn't even a minimal amount of negativity and judgement contribute to the ripple effect of the hate and violence in our community?

Political, racial, economic and other differences of thought so miserably divide our country. We judge others on not isolating themselves enough, quarantining too much, standing too far or hugging others publically. All Republicans are idiots. All Democrats hold bleeding hearts. How can issues of racial & economic discrimination be resolved when we are intent on perpetuating conflict and discord?

This also extends to acceptance of ourselves and our own shortcomings, which must be as highly valued as extending it to others. As we each decry the travesties around us, before we point fingers at others, my own hope is to remember that disharmony begins within ourselves, in every situation. This remains a personal goal I often fail to reach and yet I keep trying to achieve. Wishing each of us a safe journey, filled with inner and external peace. Shavuah Tov, hopes for an inspired week! 

Can you imagine ...

Posted on June 4, 2020 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (617)
Can you imagine going through all of this craziness and not being able to read about it?!?

Thank you so much to the Palm Beach Bar, Brad Avakian, and Kristin Calder for providing a wonderful opportunity (and distraction!!) to help others in a non-virus related way. I read and gently critiqued essays written by adults wanting to improve their level of literacy. The best part?

The topic for each paper focused on Super Powers and which one the writer would pick, if given a choice. The responses were so imaginative & heart-warming. Beyond grateful to participate!! LiteracyPBC.org ❤️

Please keep sending me your feedback!

Posted on April 30, 2020 at 10:28 AM Comments comments (522)
Write your post here.

From Lesley Shirberg PBSO...

Posted on April 24, 2020 at 9:04 AM Comments comments (560)
From Lesley Shriberg, PBSO:
Please read the below message from Sheriff Ric Bradshaw. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people out there just ready to take advantage of people in our community. 
The very best way to NOT get scammed is to follow the below advice. Stay strong, safe and well. 
We are always here to assist you!

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Don't Let Your Fears Become Bigger than You..

Posted on September 1, 2022 at 3:15 PM

Having enjoyed my vacation a bit too much, I decided I needed some exercise.

Unfortunately, once my mind is set on a goal, I sometimes have a difficult time changing paths, as do we all, from time to time.

For instance, on a recent bike ride, admittedly there were signs that indicated I should turn around and go home.

Maybe I should have heeded the warnings, such as when someone started driving their car in the actual bicycle lane with me in it or when my shoelace became caught in the bike gears. Yes, both things actually did happen!

Likewise, as clouds started forming quickly, perhaps you would have thought that a good time to get to a safe place.

However, you do realize that I am a very determined individual, yes?

Only when thunder rumbled and a deluge of water hit my head, did I finally stop and assess my situation.

Why had I not called for help at the first indication of impending rain? Sought shelter before the rain poured down? Changed direction when I still could?

Many of us often do not appreciate our situation, whether financial, legal or medical, until some external factor forces us to do so.

As a probate attorney, I often hear that clients had intended to address estate planning issues in their lifetime but never got around to it. Not facing reality is easier sometimes until, unfortunately, we have no choice whatsoever about that issue. Ignoring the signs of what is happening around us becomes a battle of wills, with most of us preferring to not take control or face an unpleasant situation.

Unfortunately, limiting our options rarely turns out to be a satisfactory decision for anyone.

A colleague recently retained me indicating that he wanted to arrange for all four of his children to sign in my office several basic estate-planning documents, such as a Durable Power of Attorney, Pre-Need Designation of Guardianship and HIPAA, now that each child was over 18 years old.

When I raised the topic of Living Wills and Health Care Surrogate Designation, he adamantly said “no”, and could not discuss the possibility that any of his children (or himself) would ever be diagnosed in a permanent vegetative condition. I was amazed! Here sat in front of me, an educated, worldly and highly intelligent individual, who handled many different legal complexities but could not bring himself to discuss a very real, albeit depressing, situation.

Just like you carry an umbrella, a bottle of water, and a cellphone in case of emergency, taking care of yourself must be a priority, not an after-thought.

Don’t Let Your Fears Become Bigger than You and leave you without options.

Remember, Before Your Troubles Hit the Fan, Please Make Sure to Create Your Estate Plan!

 

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