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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Covid Survivors Belatedly Update Their Living Trust


Tom and Gina came into our Oakland office to update their Living Trust—something they regretted not doing years before. Both Tom and Gina are Covid survivors. An RN at Kaiser, Gina became sick in the early days of the pandemic, and Tom soon became infected as well. Both were in their 50s, healthy, with no preexisting conditions.

Tom was moderately affected and was hospitalized for a week; Gina spent a month in the hospital and nearly died. It was four months before she could return to work on even a part-time basis. Tom’s a teacher, and he was off work for several months. After more than a year, the couple is still struggling to regain their health and stamina. Neither is able to return to full-time employment, so the ordeal has had an economic impact as well as compromising their health. Tom and Gina want to make sure that if their health fails, their two adult sons will inherit their home and other assets. They’ve named their older son, Jerry, as their Power of Attorney.

RELATED CONTENT: Your Living Trust: Avoiding the Pitfalls

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine a future without Covid

This is especially true for those Long Covid, as they call the long-term effects of the disease that take many forms, including fatigue and brain fog that make it difficult to return to work and resume a normal life. Headaches are another chronic problem, along with muscle and joint pain, sleep problems, fever and dizziness. Some people are experiencing complications as serious as organ failure.

For those who work in the food and wine industries, loss of the ability to smell and taste is another serious consequence. In one account, a woman is studying to become a perfumer. Its practitioners need a discerning sense of smell. Covid is threatening the careers of professionals in these industries.

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Deferred maintenance: Another way Covid has affected Americans’ health

Health providers are seeing the consequences of more than a year of pandemic-delayed preventive and care. Think about our regular appointments to have our teeth cleaned or for our yearly physicals. These wellness checks are cost-effective preventative medical care.

Delayed response attributed to fear of going to the hospital

Dr. Brian Rah, chair of the cardiology department at Montana’s Billings Clinic, was confused in the early days of the Covid pandemic. He couldn’t figure out why there was a sudden drop in heart patients. And some patients were arriving hours after first experiencing chest pains. Two patients, both of whom suffered greater heart damage by delaying care, provided what came to be typical answers.

  • One said he was afraid of contracting Covid by going to the hospital.
  • The other patient went to the emergency room in the morning, left after finding it too crowded, and then returned that night when he figured there would be fewer patients–and a lower risk of catching Covid.

Delayed treatment can result in death or long-term compromised health

“For a heart attack patient, the first hour is known as the golden hour,” Rah said. After that, the likelihood of death or a lifelong reduction in activities and health increases, he said. Dr. JP Valin, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at SCL Health of Colorado and Montana, said he is “kept awake at night” by delays in important medical tests. “People put off routine breast examinations, and there are going to be cancers that are not identified, potentially delaying intervention,” he said.

  • Timely treatment of appendicitis symptoms. Valin is also concerned that patients aren’t seeking timely treatment when suffering appendicitis symptoms like abdominal pain, fever and nausea. A burst appendix generally involves more risk and a week’s hospitalization, instead of one day of treatment for those who get care quickly, he said.
  • 80% drop in colonoscopies. Fola May, a gastroenterologist who is also quality director and a health equity researcher at UCLA Health, worries about the consequences of an 80% to 90% drop in colonoscopies during the first months of Covid.

New medical problems emerging from the pandemic, many stress-related

Along with exacerbating existing health problems, the Covid pandemic has also caused a host of new medical issues in patients. We will be coming out of the pandemic with teeth worn down from grinding, back problems from slouching at makeshift home-work stations and mental health problems from a combination of isolation and being too close to family.

Dr. Despina Markogiannakis, a dentist in Chevy Chase, Maryland, said patients don’t argue when she tells them they have been grinding or clenching their teeth and might require a root canal, dental implant or night guard.

“These are people stuck at home all day, feeling lonely and feeling a little depression. It is induced by the world we live in and all the changes in our lives,” said Markogiannakis.

  • Tooth grinding. A recent American Dental Association survey found that more than 70% of member dentists reported an increase in patients grinding or clenching their teeth since Covid.
  • Stress-related teeth conditions. More than 60% reported an increase in other stress-related conditions, such as chipped and cracked teeth.
  • Depression and weight gain. Gerard Mosby, a Detroit pediatrician, finds his young patients are suffering more stress, depression and weight gain than before the pandemic. Confined in their homes, many are living in multigenerational homes or foster homes or have experienced Covid illnesses or death among family members.
  • Eye strain from too much computer time. Optometrist Matthew Jones, who practices in Blytheville and Osceola, Arkansas, reports worsening eye conditions for patients, some of whom stopped taking drops during Covid for conditions like glaucoma. He’s also seeing much more eyestrain “because people are spending so much time in front of a computer screen” and recommends eyeglasses that filter out blue light to his patients.
  • Pain makeshift workstations. Physical therapist Kaylee Smith, who runs a treatment studio in La Jolla, California, says she is seeing more injuries related to poor posture due to makeshift home workstations used during the pandemic.Patients are reporting more pain and injuries related to poor posture.

While we’d love to put Covid behind us, we never leave home without our masks. And that remains the reality for the foreseeable future.

Guideway, creating and updating your Living Trust

We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. We provide a hard copy as well as a soft copy of your documents. More questions? Contact us today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Judge Orders Deadbeat Dad to Pay Child Support


Robyn and John, both in their late 30s, had been together for seven years. When Robyn got pregnant, though she knew that John had a son from a former relationship and was an indifferent father, she wanted to have this child.

Everyone had always told John how brilliant he was

John graduated from Rutgers with a Ph.D. in cell microbiology. He returned to Seattle and took a post-doc position at the University of Washington. That was 15 years ago. Post-doc positions generally last two-three years; they don’t pay much and they’re meant to be learning periods, after which people move on to careers in academia or research. John did neither. After 15 years, he was still a post-doc.

Robyn took this deadbeat dad to court

Robyn and John were no longer together, but she needed John’s financial support to raise their son. John’s view was that he didn’t make enough money to be paying child support. He spent most days working from coffee shops and was content to be muddling along on his meager post-doc salary. The judge threw the book at John and told him he needed to get a job, start making some real money and contribute to the support of his kids. The judge scheduled dates when John had to be back in court to show progress.

Unpaid child support compromises the wellbeing of children

Nonpayment of child support is an offense that’s punishable by jail time. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the problem. It still leaves the custodial parent, generally the mother, trying to make ends meet, and it ultimately punishes the child. What many may not realize is that there is a statewide Child Support Guideline that defines how child support is determined. It’s neither arbitrary nor subjective. Rather, it’s a formula that’s predicated on both parents being responsible for supporting their children, and it’s part of the California Family Code.

The Guideline is designed to provide a minimum level of support

The standard guideline provides a minimum level of child support and uniformity in the way it’s calculated and applied. Both judges and parents are expected to adhere to these guidelines. Child support orders must ensure that children receive fair, timely support that’s consistent with California’s standard of living.

Applying the Guideline

The Guideline is a formula that uses parents’ income, deductions and time spent with the child to come up with a dollar amount for child support. An online child support calculator helps couples contemplating Divorce estimate their child-support commitments.

Child support is based on:

  • Each parent’s gross income.
  • The percentage oftime each child spends with each parent. If there is more than one child and each child spends different percentages of time with each parent, this starts to get complicated.
  • Any available income tax deductions that the parents can claim, such as mortgage interest.
  • Mandatory payroll deductions, such as health insurance, pensions, and union dues.
  • Child-care costs. If there are young children, there will be childcare costs that likely need to be shared.

The calculator will generate the child support estimate. In general, the greater the disparity between the two parents’ income and the less time the higher earning parent spends with the children, the more child support that parent will owe.

Breaking down the formula

Here is the formula California uses to calculate child support:

CS = K (HN – (H%) (TN)).

  • CS is the child support amount. This is what the formula will calculate once you’ve plugged in all of your information. The amount will be for one child.
  • K is the combined total of both parents’ income to be allocated for child support.
  • HN stands for high net: The net monthly disposable income of the parent who earns more.
  • H% is the approximate percentage of time that the high earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the children compared to the other parent.
  • TN is the combined total net monthly disposable income of both parents.

Division of property, parenting plans and calculating child support—it can all seem confusing, but Divorce is actually a very methodical process. Guideway guides you through it and we prepare the legal documents.

Guideway, assisting our clients in Divorce and Guided Mediation

As Legal Document Assistants, we assist our clients in Divorce and Mediation. If you can agree on division of property and a parenting plan, we can save you a lot of money. Our fees are significantly lower than those of attorneys. Why work with Guideway? One flat fee. There are never annoying add-on charges for copying, phone calls and other miscellany. Where appropriate, we also notarize documents and file them with the County Recorders’ Office.

We’re a single point of contact. You’ll work with a dedicated specialist who is available for questions and support throughout the process. We’ve been in business since 2003 and have expanded to three Bay Area offices–Dublin, Oakland and Walnut Creek. More than 60% of our business comes from referrals and repeat business.

We’re also proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. We provide a hard copy as well as a soft copy of your documents. More questions? Contact us today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.