Entries by Cheri L. Elson

Trust Options for Married Couples

Married couples and Registered Domestic Partners have options when creating revocable living trusts. One option is the simple Probate Avoidance Trust. At the death of the first spouse (or partner), this Trust continues for the benefit of the survivor, becoming irrevocable only at the survivor’s death. It is important to understand the survivor’s ability to […]

Planned Giving – What is it? How does it work?

“What exactly is ‘planned giving’?” As both a Board Member of the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers and a Legacy Giving Legal Partner of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I am often called upon to explain what this is and how it works. In its simplest form, planned giving enables individuals to make larger gifts to non-profits […]

Why An Estate Plan

We’ve spent the last year and a half discussing various aspects of estate planning and how to put together a comprehensive plan. I thought it might be a good time to review just why an estate plan is so important. Estate planning is something most Americans avoid and often never get around to.  The excuses […]

Estate Taxes – What’s the Scoop?

Clients often ask me about estate taxes and how their estate may be affected by them. Laws surrounding estate taxes seem to be an ever-changing target and the Federal laws are quite different from those in Oregon. (California has no estate tax at the state level and so residents of California only need to concern […]

Understanding Estate Plans

Most people think of an estate plan as something only effective at death and that, without a sizeable estate, an estate plan is not needed at all. This could not be further from the truth. Estate plans are important tools both during life and at death. If a person becomes unable to manage their own […]

Advance Directive for Health Care

I am often asked the difference between an Advance Directive for Health Care (ADHC) and a Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). While both address end-of-life decisions, they do so in different and often complimentary ways. An ADHC is a legal document in which a person states what (if any) health care measures they want […]

Holding Title To Property

I spend a large part of my practice helping clients create plans that will ensure their estates are distributed according to their desires in the most effective way possible. This involves addressing real property properly within the plan created, often leading to an interesting discussion about how title is held and what affect that has […]

Wills & Trusts

I am often asked about the difference between a Will and a Trust and why one would be chosen over the other, so I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss them both. A Will is a legal instrument in which a person sets out how his or her estate will be distributed after death.  If there […]

Ways of Passing on Property

I am often asked about the best way to pass their estate to their beneficiaries. As with everything in estate planning, there are many options and no one right answer. Understanding the options and their consequences will help a client determine what is right for them. The simplest way to pass an asset is through […]

Powers of Attorney for Finances – the Scoop

Most people are familiar with powers of attorney and how they work at a basic level.  However, these documents can have very important consequences to your overall estate plan and should be thoughtfully drafted. Let’s begin with defining the different roles in a power of attorney. The Principal is the person creating the power of […]

The Culture of Care

The signs of a good nursing home include treating the underlying medical problems, relieving pain, and doing everything possible for the residents to feel comfortable and at peace. Psychoactive drugs should always be the last resort for treating the symptoms of dementia and there are many steps a care facility can take before resorting to […]

Cheri L. Elson – Attorney at Law

Specializing in Estate Planning and Probate Law, local attorney Cheri Elson loves helping her clients plan for the future. She enjoys taking the time to explain and navigate agreements that leave her clients feeling empowered, respected and pleased with their decisions. In today’s interview I catch up with Cheri to talk life, work and family.  […]

Chemical Restraints – What You Should Know

A chemical restraint is any drug used to control behavior in a manner not required to treat the medical or psychiatric condition.  A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released February 5, 2018, (“They Want Docile; How Nursing Homes in the United States Overmedicate People with Dementia”) reports that in an average week, over 179,000 U.S. […]

Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

Elder financial abuse. Called the “crime of the century,” it involves a broad spectrum of crimes against those aged 65 or older. Some examples of elder financial abuse are: Taking money or property from an elderly person Forging an elderly person’s signature Using an older person’s property or possessions without permission Getting an older person […]

Importance of Advanced Health Care Directives

As an estate planning and elder law specialist, I feel it is safe to say that no matter how many specific things we list in our Advance Directives, we will not be able to account for every possible end-of-life scenario that could arise.  What we can do is add as much information as possible to […]

Heirs, Beneficiaries and Trustees

In my last article, I defined “Heir”, “Beneficiary”, “Personal Representative”, and “Trustee.”  These terms can be confusing in the abstract – my hope is using them in examples will help clarify what each means and how it fits into the context of an estate plan. When George Jetson died, he left behind a wife, Jane, […]

Heirs, Beneficiaries and Trustees

Heir.  Beneficiary.  Personal Representative.  Trustee.  Often used interchangeably, they can cause confusion at best, real issues, at worst.  Understanding the difference is important, both in the creation of the estate plan and in its administration.  In this two-part series, I will define them and then apply them in specific examples.  At the end, I hope […]

Importance of ADHC

As an estate planning and elder law specialist, I feel it safe to say that no matter how many specific things we list in our Advance Directives, we will not be able to account for every possible end-of-life scenario that could arise.  What we can do is add as much information as possible to our […]

How to Choose a Trustee

Choosing a Trustee is not something to take lightly.  When you have a living Trust, the bulk of your assets are owned by the Trust and, therefore, under the control of the Trustee.  As long as you are capable (have legal capacity) of managing your own affairs, you are the Trustee.  If you become incapacitated, […]

What is Dementia?

I often hear people refer to all types of dementia as Alzheimer’s.  While Alzheimer’s is the most common of dementias, it is by no means the only type.  Dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning, such as paying bills or becoming lost while […]

Estate Planning

Estate Planning: often avoided because, “Estate planning is too confusing” or “I don’t have anything to leave behind.”  By having an estate plan, however, one offers one’s family members peace of mind during a difficult period. The four main documents in an estate plan are: Will, Trust, Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, and Advance […]


The lawyer asks his client, “Whom do you trust?” The client says, “My dog.” “It has to be a person,” the lawyer says. “Then I’ll have to get back with you,” the client replies. Let’s talk about trusts. You might ask, “Why spend a bunch of money on a trust? I won’t be around after […]