This is the third newsletter in our series discussing the 6 common mistakes parents make when naming guardians for their children.Mistake #3:You probably did not exclude anyone who might challenge your decisions or who you know you would never want raising your children.
We previously reviewed the Frank Capra film “You Can’t Take It With You”. Another movie with estate planning overtones is the 1932 classic “Emma”, starring Marie Dressler in an Oscar-nominated role.Emma is the story of an elderly housekeeper who cares for a motherless family, actually raising the youngest, Ronnie, when his mother dies in childbirth.The entire family is very dependent upon her.The father, Frederick Smith, becomes very wealthy.The children grow up in wealth and, with the exception of Ronnie, become spoiled brats.
Well, well… It was 25 years ago today that I hung out my shingle on a vintage house built in 1906 (behind a car wash) in Pensacola, Florida.The car wash was the source of many jokes at my expense! I scrounged up some used furniture, bought a brand new IBM Selectric typewriter and hired a legal secretary with sensible shoes.The Law Office of Jeffrey A. Cramer was open for business.The practice grew and we opened a second office in Jacksonville over 16 years ago.The commute back and forth while managing 9 attorneys and 26 support staff in offices 350 miles from each other started to become more management and less law. I had a decision to make, and my decision was to focus my efforts on Jacksonville. So, here we are today folks.I want to thank all of you who have put your faith in us over the years and we look forward to the next 25 years!
This week I thought that I would share with you some comments on an interesting book I just finished:Mrs. Astor Regrets by Meryl Gordon.This is the story of Brooke Astor, the last Mrs. Astor, who lived one hundred and five years before passing away in August, 2007.The book is captivating because it tells the story of one of the richest women who ever lived and is full of anecdotes about the rich and famous.The Rockefellers, the Whitneys, Henry Kissinger, Tom Brokaw, and Oscar de la Renta are just a few of the famous names that moved in and out of Brooke Astor’s life.These stories alone make for fascinating reading.
A basic tenet among trust and estate lawyers is that communication is the key to peacefully transferring one’s assets – communication to the beneficiaries at the time the Will is made and by the Personal Representative when it is probated after the death.(In the case of a living trust, an advantage of the trust is that it can keep family money matters private by avoiding the probate court, where records are public.)
This is the second newsletter in our series discussing the 6 common mistakes parents make when naming guardians for their children.Mistake #2:You may have named a couple to act as guardians and you have not indicated what should happen if the couple broke up or if one of the partners in the couple died.This means your children could end up in the care of someone you wouldn’t really want.