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  1. The death of a loved one takes many people by surprise. Besides the emotional burden and grief, one suddenly has to deal with legal, financial and administrative procedures, especially if the deceased did not have his/her assets organized. Everyday life can very quickly confront us with situations in which it is absolutely necessary to consult a legal expert. Knowledge edge in legal matters helps you to make an informed decision and protect not only your investment and assets, but also your family, heirs and loved ones. Two case studies from our legal practice regarding inheritance law in Panama. Let's make an analysis of two "figurative" case studies with their respective pseudonyms: Due to unpredictable circumstances, Michael Bauer arrives at the hospital in critical condition. He and his wife Carola moved from Canada to Chiriqui over three years ago. While the doctors try to establish his health status, Michael asks his lawyer to prepare the necessary documents to leave "everything in order”, and transfer his share of the family home located in an exclusive residential area in Boquete to his wife. I have a will, why do I need a foundation? Michael never wanted to create a foundation to protect his family's assets because he felt it was "too expensive" and an "unnecessary" expense. Unfortunately, Michael passes away before he could sign the legal papers. He leaves a vehicle (worth $10,000), his share of the house (worth $300,000 in total) in Boquete and a savings account at a local bank. There is a formal will signed before a Notary Public in Panama, declaring his wife Carola as the sole heir. She feels alone in Panama and wants to sell everything fast in order to return to Canada. However, two long years go by before she is able to transfer the title of the car and her deceased husband’s share of the house in Boquete to her name, and finally put the property and vehicle up for sale. But what happened? And, how could they have avoided this situation? Inheritance Law in Panama and its pitfalls The delay in the inheritance procedure is due to the legal basis in Panama. If the deceased had assets within Panama, in his own personal name, regardless of whether or not he has a will, a probate proceeding must be completed. In order to do so, it is necessary to hire a lawyer and to file a probate lawsuit (tested if there is a will, or intestate if there is no will, which in practice is almost the same procedure) before a judge in Panama. Courts and Judges Your file must go through different stages and hands in the court and once all the formalities are completed the judge will make a decision and assign the final beneficiary(ies). Legal procedures in Panamanian courts take their time, and even under the best conditions, it will take at least two years until your heirs have the right to transfer your assets to their names, so that they can finally sell them. In the meantime, they will have to pay for expenses, lawyer's fees (15% of the total inherited assets according to the minimum lawyer's fee in Panama), among others. Being Prepared… On the other hand, our second “figurative” case study is the case of Max Mueller. He has been a part-time resident of Panama for five years. Max has been traveling back and forth between Panama and Germany, but now it is too exhausting, his health is not good. Mr. Mueller owns a piece of land in Las Lajas (with a value of 40,000US$) in the name of a foundation, and a personal savings account at a local bank. On his last trip, he spoke with the bank official and filled out a form to leave his son Robert as the final beneficiary of the account. His lawyer has an original copy of his foundation's by-laws that declare Robert as the secondary beneficiary and secondary protector of the foundation. A foundation does not die After Max passes away in Germany, his son Robert contacts his father's lawyer in Panama. He sends him his father's death certificate, duly apostilled, and a few weeks later he travels to Panama. Since the foundation (which is a legal entity) is the owner of the land in the Public Registry of Panama and the duration of the foundation is perpetual, no lawsuit, process or legal procedure has to be filed. Robert now, in his role as universal beneficiary and protector of the foundation, leaves a signed mandate for the sale of the land, and immediately hires the service of a local real estate broker to sell the property. Before returning to Germany, he goes to the local branch of his father’s bank, complies with the internal procedure and can access the funds in the account. Create your individual estate plan A Panamanian Private Interest Foundation (PIF) can ensure that after your death, your estate passes to your chosen beneficiaries without any stressful complications, delays, or litigation. For legal purposes, the assets of a PIF constitute a separate estate from the assets of its founder and the beneficiaries. Just as in a will, the foundation's private by-laws govern the conditions of the PIF. It can be established how the assets will be distributed, and who has control over the administration of the foundation's assets. It is not required that the Founder be a resident in Panama, and with the telematics, originated due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Panama made an effort so that lawyers can create corporations and FIPs without the need for their clients to appear before a Notary Public. The commercial registry of the legal entity is filed electronically, making the registration process more expeditious. Knowledge edge makes the difference Carola is hopeful that the title to the house in Boquete will be transferred to her name soon, so that the property can be put up for sale. She has already traveled many times to Panama and sometimes she feels tired and exhausted due to so much protocol, stress and expenses. Robert received a message from the broker a few weeks ago. There is an interested party who wants to buy the land in Las Lajas. The down payment has been already made and the deal will be closed this week. In a few more days he will receive the funds from the sale in his bank account in Germany.
  2. CSI Bob as many know him or Bob Rees is in serious need of A+ or O- blood.. He is in the hospital and is waiting for blood. He needs transfusions and needs multiple pints. PLEASE HELP! If you can help please do so immediately. Contact his wife or me by phone or whatsapp. Her name is Yaneth Rees her number is 6351 8495. My name is Tim and my number is 6781-4145
  3. Alto al Crimen announces a very economical medical discount plan---Ready Now!! A big thanks to the large crowd who attended our presentation at the Tuesday Meeting this week. But even a large crowd at the BCP theater is only a small fraction of the people in Boquete's expat community. Consequently, we're sending this announcement via local internet media to be able to reach a much larger segment of the expat population here. This is a long announcement; please bear with us and read it all the way through. We need to convey this information to all expats who need a low-cost medical discount plan. What we targeted was an extremely affordable medical discount plan that will give people access to good medical care from good doctors and a good hospital First, think about this. If you want to fly from New York City to Bangkok, you can fly on Emirates Airlines business class for more than $7200 or you could book economy class on another airline for a little over $500. Emirates would lavish you with luxury, including cold, scented towels to put on your neck, but the bottom line is you would get to Bangkok either way. I say that to say this. You can have a high end luxury medical discount plan or insurance policy if you want it and can afford it. Or you can have a fully adequate plan with low prices and large discounts. Most of the time people pay insurance premiums on their houses and cars while sincerely hoping they don't have a car accident or a house fire or a burglary. Most of the time they win their bets and have no claims during the year. The same is true with medical insurance or other plans. But if you DO have a problem, it is good to have a way to keep your costs as low as possible. The plan Alto al Crimen is able to make available to our existing “members” and others in the community who wish to sign up for our AAC Hotline service is with a hospital you possibly have not even heard of. The hospital is Hospital Cooperativo, and the plan is called “Medicina Solidaria.” A good translation of “Medicina Solidaria” is people supporting and backing up medical care for themselves and other people. Hospital Cooperativo is truly a cooperative organization which charges low prices and operates on a truly cooperative, non-profit basis. At each year's end any gains that might otherwise be thought of as profits are used for developing and improving the hospital and its services and not paid to any investors. Hospital Cooperativo is a small hospital. It has ten hospital rooms (There are 12 rooms at hospital Mae Lewis.) There are 15 to 20 affiliated doctors, a small staff of nurses and an administrative staff. The hospital has an emergency room, a pharmacy, a small cafeteria and a laboratory capable of performing most normal laboratory functions. It has a well-equipped operating room, an X-ray facility and an untrasound room. Most of the staff speak no English, but many of the doctors do speak English. The hospital director has a son who is a doctor in David who could be called on to translate for emergency room patients. Also, Franc Lugo, our AAC Hotline operator can call ahead for people enroute by ambulance, explain the nature of the medical problem and stand by to translate by telephone. The hospital offers services in the following medical areas: General Medicine, Internal Medicine, Emergency Room, Pediatric Medicine, Surgery, Gynecology, Cardiology, Cardiovascular Medicine, Otolaryngology, Radiology, Orthopedics, Reumatology, Dermatology, Physical medicine and Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy, Nutrition and Psychology As I have mentioned, every effort is made to keep prices low because the mission of the hospital to to provide good medical services at prices people can afford. There is emphasis on not ordering unnecessary laboratory tests or X-rays---only what is needed. Here is a list of applicable discounts for group members. Emergency Room – 50% Operating Room – 30% Hospital Rooms – 30% Injections – 30% Medicines in the Farmacy – 25% Specialist Consults -- 20% Laboratory Tests – 30% Ultrasound – 20% X-rays – 20% Intravenous fluids – 20% As an example to put the discounts in context, the cost to a group member for Emergency Room service is $7.50, and the daily cost for a hospital room is $42 to $49. As more members are added to the group, the hospital will continue to improve and expand its facilities. When the group (including Panamanians and expats) reaches 2,000 members, there will be a reduction in the already-low cost. There are already plans for next year to add 4 to 5 more beds, to enlarge the laboratory and to add three offices for doctors. Hospital Cooperativo is the ONLY cooperative hospital in Panama, and it has been in operation for thirty years. If you are well-off financially and want full medical insurance with all the bells and whistles, that is very reasonable for you. But if you are looking for a way to have quality medical care at low and discounted prices the Medicina Solidaria plan Alto al Crimen can make available is very possibly your best choice. If you are paying or considering paying $2,000 to $5,000 per year for medical insurance, instead you could become a member of the AAC/Hospital Cooperativo plan and put the insurance premiums in a savings account for medical contingencies. All your routine medical care could be taken care of through the very inexpensive discount plan. If you need no expensive procedures, your money will still be in the bank for future use, and you can add more every year. If you were paying medical insurance premiums, they would be gone whether or not you had any major expenses.. HOW MUCH? We will offer the group plan and include your AAC Hotline service for $150 per year. For other persons in the same household, the cost will be $125 per year. Because of the very low cost, there are no other family discounts. We need to require annual payments to minimize bookkeeping costs and administrative hassles. There is no waiting period, and there are no pre-existing condition restrictions. Also there are no age limits. We have an enrollment open season through January 17, 2017. Thereafter membership renewals will be due in January every year. Each group member will be issued a wallet card for use at the hospital, and each doctor's office and other hospital office that provides services will have a list of all annual-paid members to verify their status. Signing up involves executing a simple contract, providing personal information for your wallet card and paying $150 by check or cash. If you are not already registered for the AAC Hotline service, you will need to sign up and provide information for our data base, including detailed directions for finding hour home. Depending on the level of demand, we will have one or more sign-up opportunities before the last sign-up day on 17 January 2017. Several ;people did not have their money of check books this week, so another sign-up opportunity is being scheduled for December 20 at the BCP market, where we will have a table. Below is an English translation of the Medicina Solidaria contract. For legal reasons, the actual contracts will be in Spanish. PLAN SOLIDARIO OF COOPERATIVE HEALTH In the city of David, Province of Chiriqui, Republic of Panama, on the _______ day of the month _________ in the year ______---. between the COOPERATIVO DE SALUD CENTRAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS, R.L. (CUMECOOP, R.L.) a non-profit entity located in the district of David, Barriada Manuel Quintero Villarreal, Avenida Tercera West and C Street North, represented in this act by Dr. Ruben Dario Corre, male Panamanian, adult, married, with cedula #6-9-101 in his position of President of the Directors of the Cooperative. The following are the clauses & conditions of the plan. FIRST CLAUSE: The COOPERATIVO DE SALUD CENTRAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS, R.L. (CUMECOOP, R.L.) will offer the USER of the PLAN SOLIDARIO OF COOPERATIVE HEALTH that credits your status such that the Medical Servicess stipulated in CLAUSE 6 of this agreement & whose scope of coverage is established only within the installations of Hospital Cooperativo, located in the city of David, Province of Chiriqui, Republic of Panama. SECOND CLAUSE: in order to credit your status as a USER of the PLAN SOLIDARIO OF COOPERATIVE HEALTH, you commit to pay $10.00 monthly for the direct discount _______ or pay voluntarily through the window _____ to the COOPERATIVO DE SALUD CENTRAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS, R.L. (CUMECOOP, R.L.) (AAC NOTE: AAC members will only make annual payments, and no monthly payments will be involved.) THIRD CLAUSE: The COOPERATIVO DE SALUD CENTRAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS, R.L. commits to furnish an ID card to identify you as a beneficiary of the services. It will also furnish a card for registering payment & health services received at Hospital Cooperativo. (AAC NOTE: AAC members will not need the payment record card. In actuality, it does not have spaces to show health services received. A list of annual-paid members will be places in every doctor's office and other service location in the hospital to verify your paid status.) FOURTH CLAUSE: This cooperative health plan agreement grant the benefit of discounts only to the person who signs this contract and is not transferable. In order to receive the benefits authorized to the USER of the PLAN SOLIDARIO OF COOPERATIVE HEALTH, the person must present his card & the card that also lists the monthly payments. (AAC NOTE: AAC will arrange for an official annotation on the card to show payment has been made until a date one year after the date of the contract.) FIFTH CLAUSE: The user of the plan must complete his monthly payments of $10.00. If that is not done, he will lose coverage, and the contract will be terminated without any refunds. (AAC NOTE: This will not apply except after the date one year after the date of the contract when another annual payment will be due. If that payment is not made, the services will be terminated.) SIXTH CLAUSE: The COOPERATIVA CENTRAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS, R.L. commits to give discounts for the following health services offered at Hospital Cooperativo:  EMERGENCY ROOM CONSULT ….50%  OPERATING ROOM ….....................30%  HOSPITAL ROOM….........................30%  START IV (VENOCLISIS).................30%  MEDICINES FROM PHARMACY ....25%  SPECIALIST CONSULTS ..............20%  LABORATORY TESTS …...............30%  ULTRASOUND TESTS …...............30%  X-RAYS …........................................30%  INTRAVENOUS APPLICATIONS ...30% After reading this contract and its clauses and in witness whereof, the parties hereby proceed to sign the same. Given in the city of David on the __________________ day of _________________ of the year _____________ __________________________________ ____________________________ USER OF THE PLAN SOLIDARIO DE . Dr. Luis Wong to. CDD: 4-95-987 SALUD COOPERATIVA CUMECOOP R.I. Administrative Director “COOPERATIVE MEDICINE: The Alternative Model of Health Services Management in Panama” If anyone would like a copy of the PowerPoint slides from the presentation on Tuesday, please send an email request to rhgusn@yandex.com, and one will be sent to you. This is a bit cumbersome, but I don't yet have the PowerPoint file posted on a web site. Alto al Crimen is a non-profit foundation which provides valuable community services and is funded by donations. We need and solicit your support. We need you to help us so that we can help you.
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