Roy M. Bowes is a graduate of Holy Cross High School. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of New Orleans and was graduated from Loyola Law School in 1979. He served as a Judicial Clerk for 1 1/2 years. He has had a private civil practice, with concentration in the area of family law for over 37 years. He owns and operates the law firm of Roy M. Bowes & Associates which involves Mr. Bowes and 2 associate attorneys with a support staff of 2 legal assistants and an office manager. Mr. Bowes is trained in the collaborative divorce model, is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and he is a charter member of the Collaborative Professionals Group of Southeast Louisiana. He is a qualified registered divorce/custody/child support mediator. He has also served as the President of the New Orleans Chapter of the Christian Legal Society.
The philosophy of Roy M. Bowes and Associaties is to offer people an alternative, when possible, to the traditional litigation model of dispute resolution. The key issue is not who is right or wrong, but how can the issues presented (often caused by an inability to effectively communicate and financial stress) be reconciled by the parties themselves under the guidance of certified professionals through the Collaborative Law process or via Mediation. In our opinion, the obligation of a lawyer is to facilitate the settlement of conflict and to carefully evaluate the responsibility of each party to bring the subject matter to an amicable conclusion and to avoid the necessity of litigation, as permitted, under the circumstances.
One in two marriages ends in divorce. Given those odds, it’s easy to think of marriage as a gamble. However, by taking a few basic steps, you can raise your odds considerably. Here are four ways to make sure your marriage can weather any storm.
1. Have fun together
The number one difference between couples that stay together and couples that split up is how much fun they have together. It may sound obvious, but as responsibilities mount, it can be easy to view your spouse as more of a business partner than a life partner. Find fun things to do together as often as possible. If your marriage is missing the fun ingredient, start small. Check out a new restaurant together, spend a day at the beach, or go to a baseball game. Keep your expectations low and concentrate on just enjoying each other.
2. Learn your spouse’s language
Everyone has a slightly different definition of love. Some people see gifts as the ultimate expression of love, while others see quality time as the key ingredient. Renowned marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman describes these different preferences as “love languages.” Learn the language that resonates most with your spouse and you will experience less tension and a tighter connection. To find out what love language resonates most with your spouse, ask them to take this test.
3. Schedule your arguments
It’s natural, even healthy, to argue with your spouse. However, fighting in the wrong way can tear your marriage apart. Fighting without boundaries or without a clear goal of what needs to be worked out can make a bad situation worse. Make a rule in your marriage that whenever tempers flare, either person can call a timeout and schedule an official fight. For instance, you can say, “I can see that this is not getting solved tonight. Let’s collect our thoughts and discuss this tomorrow night.” When you show up to the “official” fight, come prepared. Write down exactly what bothers you, and more importantly, what you are prepared to concede. Then, agree on some ground rules for the discussion. For instance, you might decide not to interrupt each other and not to issue personal attacks.
4. Surprise your spouse once in a while
A successful marriage is usually based on solid routines. And, over time, you may feel that you know everything there is to know about your spouse. However, as the old saying goes, “familiarity breeds contempt.” Make an effort to maintain the mystery in your marriage by surprising your spouse every once in a while. Learn a new skill, plan a spontaneous vacation, or do something positive that is completely out of character every once in a while. Keeping your spouse slightly off balance will give them a chance to rediscover their love for you over and over again.
Men pride themselves on feeling powerful, competent and effective in their world. They receive a sense of fulfillment in feeling successful and doing well. Men take great pride in being independent and self-sufficient.
Then, they fall in love. They allow themselves to be vulnerable to another, they get close and sometimes they end up getting hurt and their hearts get broken.
Surprisingly, men generally are the first to fall in love and the last to fall out of it. Men have more difficulty handling their emotions than women because they have been trained to be independent so they develop fewer skills for handling their emotions. They become emotionally overwhelmed easily and demonstrate it by shutting off their emotions and withdrawing, or going into denial. All of this is a bid to cut themselves off from those overwhelming feelings of hurt and pain.
In the process, those feelings lie dormant and, there is no healing process. If they don’t heal those feelings, they don’t allow themselves to fall in love again and they’ll miss out on one of the most rewarding, healing and satisfying experiences in their lives; that of falling in love again.
When men are in pain from a break up, they go right into the feeling mode and become overwhelmed by those feelings resulting in shut down, paralysis, withdrawal or angry bitterness. Men cannot make good decisions for themselves or anyone else under those conditions.
It’s best for men to throw themselves into an activity or project that they enjoy doing. While they’re doing the activity they love they also process the painful feelings of a break up. This can contribute greatly to the healing of those feelings.
People in their twenties don’t plan for retirement because they think they’ll never die. People in their thirties don’t plan because they are too busy building careers and acquiring assets. People don’t plan during their forties because they’re too busy paying off the college tuition of their children. Most don’t start planning until their fifties, sixties, and seventies and sometimes that’s too late. It’s not too late for you. When are you going to plan? Is your plan current? Laws frequently change and plans should be reviewed and updated to reflect these changes.
We offer estate planning services to clients who are considering reviewing, renewing, or initiating their estate plan. We can draft your simple or complex will, a trust, a living will, and various durable power of attorneys. Call us today at 504-368-2700. It would be our privilege to serve you.
People often ask how they need to review and update their Wills and estate planning documents. Many assume that once they have prepared a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and/or other related documents, these will last for the rest of their lives and never need to be updated.
A Will is Your Chance to Write the Law that Favors You.
For most people, the most effective method of engaging in sensible estate and Medicaid planning is as straight-forward as preparing a Last Will and Testament and Durable Power of Attorney. Wills and Powers of Attorney give individuals the opportunity to write the law that will apply to their estates, affairs, and family following their deaths.
A Will is also one of the most flexible estate planning documents available. Modifying a Last Will and Testament is as simple as destroying the old one and preparing a new one. Wills are simply “sheets of paper collecting dust” while you are alive, and they do not become effective until your death. As a result, they can be modified at any time to reflect your current situation and needs.
When should an individual consider updating a Will? We tell our clients to consider updating estate planning documents, including Wills, any time they have a change in their personal circumstances. We also tell our clients not to try to guess or speculate what will happen in the future in order to decide what to put in their Wills. None of us have a “crystal ball” capable of allowing us to see into the future to determine where we and our families will be. Undoubtedly, our circumstances will change as we proceed down the road of life.
Wills and other estate planning documents should always be prepared based upon an individual’s personal circumstances as they currently exist. The ease of updating these documents as necessary to adapt to changes in personal circumstances takes much of the guesswork of trying to predict what may happen in the future out of the equation.
Have Your Personal Circumstances Changed?
What types of changes in personal circumstances may necessitate updating estate planning documents? Some examples include:
- Birth of a child – The birth of a child has a significant impact upon the manner in which a parent’s estate must be handled. Louisiana is the only state in the country that has “forced heirship”, i.e. parents are generally required to leave a portion of their estates to their children. Louisiana’s forced heirship rules have undergone modifications that limit such requirements for a typically developing child to age 24. However, a child with disabilities is a forced heir for life. Other children, or in some instances grandchildren, can also be deemed to be forced heirs for life. A properly drafted Will can account for the birth of a child, particularly in light of Louisiana’s forced heirship laws.
- Marriage – When an individual gets married, it becomes important to consider preparing or updating Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney. Some people assume that just because they have married, the spouse automatically becomes entitled to receive the other spouse’s estate upon death. However, this is not necessarily the case, particularly in circumstances where there is a remarriage for one or both of the spouses, and there are children from prior unions of either or both spouses. Spouses will want to be very careful to make sure who will come into assets upon death in such circumstances.
- Upon divorce, death, or disability of a spouse – In such circumstances, Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney may need to be updated. In many instances, spouses may have named one another as heirs, executors, agents on Durable Powers of Attorney, and/or guardians for children. It is also likely that spouses may have named one another as beneficiaries on insurance policies. Regardless of the circumstances, Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney should be reviewed and updated any time there are changes in a marital relationship.
- Changes in an individual’s financial situation – A person’s financial situation may change for better or worse at different times during their lives. Estate planning documents should always be updated to take into account such changes. For example, an individual who inherits substantial assets from a parent or relative may want to make sure that such assets are passed on to children or other family members. Business affairs and decisions may also need to be addressed. Estate planning documents should always be reviewed and updated to take into account such changes.
- Tax planning – Estate planning documents may need to be revised and updated to take into account changes in tax laws and tax planning strategies. Louisiana no longer imposes inheritance taxes, but Federal estate taxes still apply to large estates. The Federal tax laws are constantly changing, and for individuals with large estates, steps should be taken to take advantage of opportunities to reduce exposure to these taxes.
- Other changes – There are other reasons for reviewing and updating estate planning documents. These may include things such as changes in tax laws and Medicaid rules, changes in residence from state to state, changes in individuals who you are designating to service as executors, trustees, guardians, and/or agent on Powers of Attorney, designation of special bequests of particular items to particular individuals, and other matters.
Review Estate Planning Documents Every 3-5 Years
It’s a good idea to review and update estate planning documents such as Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney every 3 to 5 years. In the event there are family members with disabilities or special needs, it’s probably a good idea to review such documents on a more frequent basis. The most common changes in circumstances that may require an update of documents are changes in individuals who will serve as Executors, Administrators, Trustees, Tutors for minor children, and/or agents. These can be addressed through updates of estate planning documents.
Finally, and most importantly, it is critical that updates to estate planning documents be done in consultation with an attorney skilled and experienced in preparing such documents. Particularly where there are family members with disabilities and Medicaid planning issues that must be addressed, it is critical to consult with an attorney skilled and experienced in providing effective Medicaid planning advice in conjunction with preparation and updating of these documents.