Issue 04
October 2010
Welcome to the Law Offices of Valerie A. Shivers, P.C. From the purchase of your first home to planning your estate for your grandchildren – we strive to be your family attorney. In this monthly newsletter we will focus on relevant changes in the law that may affect you personally, or your business.  We will help detail how these changes may affect you, how you may take advantage of new changes in the law, as well as provide you with things to consider as you approach different milestones throughout your life. This newsletter will also serve as an outlet to keep you informed on all that is happening with Valerie A. Shivers, P.C.

In This Issue


  1. What's New With VAS, P.C.
  2. Elder Law Spotlight
  3. Estate Planning Spotlight
  4. Real Estate Spotlight

Focus Areas


Elder Law

  • Medicaid Planning
  • Guardianships
  • Veterans Benefits

Estate Planning & Administration

  • Wills & Trusts
  • Will Probate
  • Estate Administration
  • Advanced Directives
  • Special Needs Planning

Real Estate

  • Residential
  • Commercial

About Us


Valerie A. Shivers, P.C. is a full service law firm that specializes in legal issues related to protecting your family assets, as well as growing your personal wealth & real estate.  We pride ourselves in ensuring that there is a plan in place to properly secure your estate and prevent unnecessary tax penalties when acquiring new assets or transferring your current assets to your beneficiaries.

 What’s New with VAS, P.C.?

We would like to thank all of you who donated to the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk as well as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Both events turned out to be complete successes and your support was much appreciated.

 Elder Law Spotlight

Knowing When to Help Your Loved Ones…

It is often difficult for us to know when our loved ones are unable to care for themselves. Although signs may be present, it’s often hard to admit that this is happening. The signs often develop gradually, and they aren’t always easy to pick up on if you see your loved one regularly.

If you suspect that your loved one may need care, these are some signs that you can look out for:

  • Inability to prepare own meals
  • Frequent falls
  • Difficulty remembering events or people
  • Inability to keep up with basic hygiene such as bathing or brushing teeth
  • Depression
  • Sudden isolation

Once you have noticed these signs you will need to figure out what level of care is needed and how you will pay for these services. There are many services available, including programs designed to assist your loved one while they remain in the comfort of their own home. Your loved one may need a small amount of help with housekeeping and other daily activities, or more comprehensive care may be necessary.

Although it can be difficult discovering that someone close to you needs care, it is not a process you have to go through alone. An elder law attorney can give you advice about the type of facility that would best serve your loved one’s needs or whether he can be cared for at home.

Please feel free to contact our office to discuss the many options available to assist and care for your loved ones. It is never too early to speak with an elder law attorney.

 Estate Planning & Administration Spotlight

How to Talk to Your Parents About Estate Planning…

Many surveys report that the majority of Americans rarely discuss estate planning with their parents. The topic of estate planning is often looked at as “taboo”, as most children fear that such a discussion would imply they are only interested in their parent’s money. Unfortunately, turning a blind eye on the quality of your parent’s estate plan could create serious issues in the future, including a majority of your parent’s estate paying the federal government at their death.

There are three basic reasons why people write wills of create trusts:

  • They want to pass their assets on to their family members rather than let government take over their assets.
  • They want to keep peace in the family by identifying who gets what before they die.
  • They want to plan ahead for the costs of incapacity, including the care of their spouse.

Regardless of the reason, it’s important that you ensure that your parent’s have protected their assets in the best way possible.

For some advice on how to approach the topic of your parent’s estate plan (or lack of it) please check out:

Real Estate Spotlight

Short Sales – What a Difference a Year Makes!...

Just a year ago when a client approached me with a “short sale” I knew we were looking at a lengthy and grueling process. Recently, however, government programs have improved the short sale process and have in fact shortened the amount of time from contract to closing on a short sale.

A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the sale proceeds fall short of the balance owed on the property’s loan. It often occurs when a borrower cannot pay the mortgage loan on their property, but the lender decides that selling the property at a moderate loss is better than pressing the borrower.

For a prospective buyer, a short sale is often seen as an opportunity to obtain a home at a more affordable price, however most buyers tend to lose their patience during the process. A year ago, closing on an approved short sale could take anywhere from six to ten months at best. Now we are seeing short sales approved and closed as early as ten weeks from the execution of a contract.

Government programs such as the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program (HAFA) have outlined a separate set of criteria for short sales to address the group of homeowners who are facing foreclosure because loan modifications haven’t worked out. Through this program homeowners are able to pursue a shore sale in a more timely and orderly manner by:

-Standardizing paperwork and timelines
-Requiring lender response on an offer within 10 days
-Allowing for preapproval on pricing of a short sale
-Eliminating deficiency judgments on first mortgages
-Offering $3,000 in relocation assistance
-Paying servicers $1,500 toward administrative costs

Programs such as HAFA could mean good news for potential buyers looking to find a home at a bargain price, sellers looking to cut their losses, and the housing economy as a whole.

For more details on the program, you can visit and search “HAFA”


Please feel free to send your issues, questions or concerns to, or submit a question on our website to be addressed in upcoming editions of this newsletter.